Stay calm amid the daily craziness with these 5 simple (but totally effective) yoga poses.
Yoga can help you find calm amidst the daily frenzy–and (better yet) can keep you from saying what you really want to say to your boss. Go through these 5 yoga poses (or even just 1 or 2!) whenever you feel like you’re about to lose your cool.
Set a timer for one minute, and focus on your breathing. Nothing else. Just the in-and-out flow of your breath.
This turns the focus away from problems and towards something that would be a much bigger problem if it weren’t working–your breathing! How’s that for perspective? Try experimenting with the phrase “Let Go.” Inhale, thinking ‘Let’ and exhale on the thought ‘Go.’ Try that four times and see how your energy shifts.
You can do this with your eyes open, so it’s perfect for when you’re standing in the checkout line. Put one hand on your heart and the other on your belly, or keep your hands by your sides, but bring your attention to your breath.
On a count of four, inhale.
Hold that breath for four counts.
Exhale on a count of four.
Hold your breath out at the end of the exhale for four counts.
That’s one round–or, to be more accurate, once ‘square’ of breathing, since it has equal counts on all four ‘sides.’ It’s a simple-yet-effective way to calm your nervous system.
Try this in your kitchen the next time you’re stressed about a meal. Spread your feet one leg-width apart, and turn your right toes out, so that your toes are pointing away from your body. Turn your left toes in towards your body, to a 45-degree angle. Reach your right arm forward in the direction of your right leg, and hinge at the hip, dropping your hand down to your thigh, shin, or to the floor. You can drop your hand to the inside or outside of your right foot. Extend your left arm straight up and allow your gaze to focus on your left thumb. Breathe in deeply, and open your chest toward the ceiling. Hold for three breaths, then come up, pivot your feet and do it on the left side.
This pose stretches your side body, your legs, and opens your heart, making you more available to the joyful moments of the holiday season.
Stand tall on both feet. Lift your right foot and either rest your heel on your ankle, like your foot is a kickstand, or bring the sole of your foot to the inside of your left calf, or pick up your foot with your hand and plant it on the inside of your left thigh, heel pointed up, toes pointed down.
Bring your hands together at your chest, in a gentle prayer position. Focus your gaze on something that is not moving, and when you feel stable, lift your prayer hands overhead. Imagine you are a tree, growing your branches up to the sky. Hold it for three breaths and then switch to the other side.
This pose improves balance both physically and emotionally. Plus, it builds your confidence, like: look at me! I can balance on one leg!
Downward Facing Dog
Come to the floor and kneel on all fours. Plant your palms into the ground and curl your toes under so that your feet and hands are ready for you to press into them. Lift your hips to the sky and come into an inverted V-shape. Hold this for five breaths.
If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you’ve likely done Down Dog, as it is often called. It helps you deal with holiday stress because it instantly reminds you of yoga class–it’s like yoga Cliff Notes! Just this one shape of your body can bring you into a peaceful mindset. It also allows the stress to melt out of your shoulders. You can imagine the top of your head opening up to allow any and all negative thoughts to pour out into the earth as you hold the pose.
If you try even one of these poses, acknowledge yourself for taking an action on your own behalf. When we feel whole, we have so much more to give others. So do your yoga and have as stress-free a holiday as possible.