How many sleeps till Christmas now? Not many left!
How are you feeling?
My doctor was incredulous about how many patients she was seeing who were having Christmas related stress. I am sure many people see it as a happy family time, or maybe a time to go back to the roots of the celebration, with joyous festivities in honour of Christ. However, the large number of people who struggle through these times trying to cope with increased workloads, high expectations, anxiety or depression cannot be ignored. The good thing is there is so much help to be found in yoga and meditation practices.
Here are ten ways yoga practices can help beat the Christmas season stress
- 5 Tibetans Rites: If you are feeling anxious and your nervous system is on high alert, get rid of your excess energy with some repetitions of these energizing back arches.
- Wide Leg Standing Forward Fold: When we are stressed and anxious we tend to hold it in our back, neck and shoulder muscles. This pose releases tension in your back, neck and shoulders and gives a nice stretch to your legs. Meanwhile the head is lower than the heart which tends to slow the heart rate and calm the nervous system.
- Viparita Karani: With the rush of Christmas preparations we need to take time out to relax. The best variation of this resting pose is when you rest your pelvis on a firm cushion or bolster, place your legs up the wall, arms out in line with your shoulders and place an eye cushion on your eyes. Then with calming music playing (such as these soothing meditation tracks) it’s really a treat.
- Lion Pose: When under strain we may be on a very short wick and explode easily. This lion breath is a fun and non-destructive way to vent your pent-up emotions.
- Brahmari Breathing: If your mind is restless and won’t quiet, spend some time humming. The combination of the long outward breath with the humming vibration activates the vagus nerve which soothes the nervous system and calms the mind.
- Child Pose: In this pose we curl up into a little ball and place our head on the floor. In this pose we feel safe and supported. Touching the head to the floor has a grounding affect to soothe the nerves.
- Nadi Shodhana: This is another great breathing practice for a restless, anxious mind. Do at least 12 rounds to get the full effect.
- Mantra Breathing: Listen to the transcendental sound Gauranga as you say it on your long outward breath and then listen to it as your repeat it silently in your mind as you inhale. This meditation incorporates long soothing outward breaths and heart soothing transcendental sound.
- Japa Meditation: Softly repeating mantras while touching beads helps to harness the mind and soothe the soul.
- Kirtan Meditation: Singing or singing and dancing with mantras is uplifting. We are transported away from the pressures of our life and taken on a joyful journey of pure bliss. If you can make it, we have in person kirtans as well again, check them out here.
I hope you make it through this season unscathed and have a Merry Christmas!
By Vrndavan Dasi
Founder and Principal of Veda Yoga Teacher Training