6 Poses to Help You Manage the Holidays
For me, like for many people, the holidays can be a stressful time. Parties and get-togethers are a lot of fun but they can also be depleting, especially if, like me, you are spending a more than normal amount of time with family of friends. The food and drink temptations and the financial pressure only exacerbate the fatigue and energetic drain that often accompany this time of year. To help you manage your energy and emotional needs, I've put together a list of six poses that can help you get through the holidays with a little more ease and grace.
Child's pose is typically a soothing pose because it reminds the body of the fetal position. It also blocks your vision and muffles outside sounds while amplifying the sound of the breath, and generally encourages you to turn of your senses and listen to your breath and pay attention to your thoughts. However, if this pose is difficult for you, you can use a block or pillows under the forehead (as pictured), under the hips or take any other gentle forward fold position to get similar benefits. Use this pose when you need a few minutes away from the world to shut off and gather yourself together.
Our emotions and our posture goes hand in hand. When we are sad or stressed we tend to round the spine and hunch forward. While this can be soothing and pacifying to us (a more protective/defensive move), we can take a more offensive approach by placing our body in a shape of confidence. Puffing the torso forward is sign of confidence (you are exposing all of your organs) and so by placing our body in this shape, we can positively influence our emotions. Puppy pose is a backbend that doesn't feel too exposed. Placing a block or pillows under the chest can help make this pose more accessible.
Warrior one has so many elements of power posing. It is a strong pose in the legs, which not only shifts our focus from our thoughts to our body (from the chatter to the present moment) but also makes us feel stronger. The torso is in a gentle back bend, which, as mentioned, makes us feel more confident. The arms are above our head, a move we do when we feel victorious. Optionally, our fingers are steepled upwards, another strong signal of confidence. Holding this pose can have a great effect in elevating our overall mood when things around us get tough.
Like warrior one, warrior two is also a very strong pose that helps us feel stronger physically as well as emotionally. With the arms out to the sides, this pose allows us to feel like we can take up as much space as we need. The forward gaze can help us feel determined. Warrior two is a great pose if we feel like others are overstepping our boundaries. It helps us feel grounded in ourselves while giving us the sensation of space between us and everything else.
This pose may seem just like standing but in fact it can be a very good grounding pose for when you feel overwhelmed and flighty. The key is to press firmly down into your feet, finding equal weight in both your feet, while also lifting up in your chest and through the crown of your head. Reach your hand strongly towards the floor for more of a grounding effect or up above your head if need a confidence boost.
If you have any inversion in your practice, including against the wall, it can help to change your perspective on a situation by literally changing your orientation in space. Inversions, even supported ones, take a lot of energy and so they can help to calm down your mind. It's nearly impossible to be in an inversion when your mind is distracted or focusing on something negative. So this can be a great way to jolt you out of a cycle of negative thought.