5 Calming Yoga Poses For Peace & Joy
What if this holiday season you savor moments of joy, embrace opportunities to connect with others, and appreciate the beauty of the season? While this may not be what comes to your mind first when thinking about your year-end experience, it can be possible. It starts with taking care of ourselves and finding ways to feel good in our own bodies and minds. We can think of the holidays as a great opportunity to hone in our practice mindfulness, self-care and gratitude.
To calm our busy minds and restore our bodies in between the hustle and bustle of the season, try these 5 calming and revitalizing yoga poses.
1. Supported Bound Angle
Stack pillows or roll up a blanket to place directly under your spine. Lie back onto your blanket or pillows ensuring your head and neck are fully supported and not strained. Draw the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to release toward the floor. If you feel strain through your hips, place a pillow or blanket under each knee. Allow your entire body to relax and focus on feeling your breath as you inhale and exhale. Allow tension to melt away and your busy mind to settle. Stay for 5-15 minutes.
2. Thread the Needle
Clear your mat and move into table top position with your knees under your hips and wrists under shoulders. Slowly walk your hands toward the top of your mat elongating your spine. Allow your forehead to come close to your mat and your hips to stay lifted. Slide your right arm under your body to rest on the left side of your mat and your head to turn to the left. Relax your shoulders and breathe from your lower belly 10 deep breaths. Slowly come out of the pose and switch sides. Focus on your breathing.
Come to your elbows and forearms with your legs extended behind you. Allow your feet to open hip distance or wider and let your hips rest on the mat. Bring your elbows right underneath your shoulders so your heart extends forward and your shoulders move down your back. Gazing straight forward allow your breath to flow into any tight places and continue to relax your lower body. Hold for 2 minutes and allow your chin to come towards your chest at the end stretching the back of your neck. Slowly release out of the pose when you're ready. 4. Banana Pose
Lie on your back with your legs extended. Walk both feet to the right side of your mat keeping your legs together. Keeping your hips where they are, reach your arms overhead loosely reaching for opposite elbows and slide your shoulders over to the right as well making a banana shape with your body. Let your body sink into this shape and notice how it feels to breathe here. Stay for 2-5 minutes then slowly release and repeat on the left side.
5. Legs up the Wall
For the last pose, move to a wall space free of objects so you can bring your legs up the wall. You may want to have a blanket handy for warmth. To get into the pose, start with the left side of your hips touching the wall and legs to the side of the wall. Gently turn your body to the left to bring your legs up the wall and slowly lower all the way onto your back. Make any small adjustments so you feel comfortable on your back and let your arms relax by your sides. If you have a blanket, cover yourself up and give yourself permission to relax and recharge here. Stay as long as you need - at least 2 minutes.
Thank yourself for the gift of slowing down, breathing deeply and restoring your body. By taking good care of ourselves through the holidays and the rest of the year, we can direct our focus more on the people and things we want to instead of our own aches, pains, and racing thoughts.