Has running all around during the holidays stressed you out? Feeling rundown? YogaWorks Instructor Kristin McGee, who has worked with Leann Rimes and Steve Martin, shares five poses that are easy to do and will help you instantly de-stress after the crazy busy holiday season.
Hold each pose for at least five breaths:
EAGLE POSE is an excellent way to reign everything back in after being scattered and around so many people during the stressful holidays. Wrap one leg on top the other and try double crossing at the ankle (or place foot on floor outside of ankle if too difficult) and then wrap one arm under the opposite, high at the upper biceps and try double crossing at the forearms to press the palms together. Bow forward and draw all of your attention inwards with an eagle eye focus. Having to balance like this helps us concentrate and focus in on things and we feel less stressed and scattered and able to move on with a clear and focused mind.
FORWARD BEND is awesome because we can just hang forward and let it all go. Stand with feet hip distance apart and fold forward at the hip joints bringing hands to the floor alongside the feet. If you are tight in the hamstrings, bend your knees--it’s more important to let the head and spine release then to keep the legs straight. Let your body hang like a rag doll and let everything melt into the floor.
HALF BRIDGE is a heart opener and antidepressant. It’s easy to feel somewhat let down after the rush of the holidays and believe it or not, this can make us feel stressed. This pose also releases the lower back region and brings more breath into our lungs and chest, which helps us breathe fuller and relax. Lie down on your back and place your feet hip distance apart. Press into your feet and lift your hips up. Interlace your hands under your back making a loose fist and press the hands into the floor to lift your chest higher.
CRESCENT LUNGE releases the hip flexors, quads and psoas muscles, which are all fight or flight muscles and store adrenaline and cortisol--by stretching them out you can relax the sympathetic nervous system and release built up tension and stress.
From forward bend step your right foot back into a long lunge and let the knee fall to the floor pressing the tops of the back foot and toes down. Lift your arms up alongside your ears and take a slight back arch--also great way to open lungs and chest and feel confident about moving forward, not stressed or insecure.
SHOULDER STAND is the queen of the asanas and ideal for relieving stress and tension - all the blood flows in reverse and the mind can soften into ground and relax. Lie down on your back with legs straight on the floor then use your abdominal muscles to lift your legs up and overhead while you place your hands up as high as you can near your shoulder blades. Keep your legs energized and lifting up to the ceiling and make sure you are pressing the back of your skull and upper arms into the mat not your neck. Stay and breathe and feel everything letting go in this upside down position.
For more information go to www.yogaworks.com.