Yoga to Get You Through Holiday Stress

Thanksgiving. An enormous dinner with all the trimmings. Pumpkin pie with whipped cream. And family. Lots and lots of family.


If you're like me, family can push buttons you didn't even know you had. Or ones you thought no longer existed. One minute you're basking in the comforting embrace of the ones you've spent most of your life with, the next you're surveying the post-mini-meltdown aftermath, wondering how to get back to centre.

Here are some tools I like to use at times like this.

5 Yoga Tools for the Holidays
1. Meaningful morning. I've found that often, the way things begin is the way they continue, and the way they end. Even just seven minutes on your mat, taking some time to consciously connect to your deepest self, full of truth, love and compassion, can help you bring those intentions into the rest of your day. Just breathe and move, dropping out of your mind and into this moment.

2. Mid-day matters. I can get caught up in feeling like removing myself from where it's all happening is rude and inconsiderate. After all, didn't they drive for miles so we could all be together? Sure, but they didn't drive for miles dreaming of spending precious time with a cranky sibling. I'm learning it's better for everyone if I  take some downtime--even just 20 minutes helps--and then dive back in, refreshed, happy, and ready to help in the kitchen.

3. Mindfulness off the mat. Practicing mindfulness off my mat is majorly helpful. Just by simply noticing my rising reaction, I can find distance between myself and my emotions, and often choose a new, less drama-inducing response.

4. Blow a raspberry. Sometimes we just gotta loosen up a little. That time I spend rejuvenating, away from the crowd? I'm often doing a little lion's breath: inhaling through my nose, exhaling powerfully through my mouth while sticking out my tongue. If there's something specific that's bugging me and I want to clear it, I often mentally visualize it leaving my system as I exhale. Inhale: peace. Exhale: unintentional criticism from mom. It's fun, and funny, to stick out my tongue and blow a raspberry at somebody, too.

5. Perfectly imperfect. And those times that nothing works? When I just can't let it go? Can't get back to compassion and love? I'm working on just accepting that. When I do, suddenly the reaction is easier to handle, and I'm much more likely to let the reaction go. It's amazing how acceptance of where we're at actually helps us get where we want to go--even faster.


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