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Holiday Stress? Simply Breathe

By Randy Nellessen

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As we head into the holidays, despite our desire to enjoy the season, our stress levels will probably increase. The weather becomes colder and snowy, there are deadlines at work, and our attendance at several holiday gatherings is requested. All of these situations can bring tension and uncertainty into our lives.

One proven method to help with these situations is to simply breathe. A relaxed, diaphragmatic breath has been shown to relieve stress, tension, anxiety, and escalating emotions.

There are a few simple and comfortable yoga poses that assist with relaxed breathing: Crocodile, Corpse pose, or a comfortable seated position.

To get into Crocodile Pose, lie on your stomach with the upper part of your chest off the floor or supported by a folded blanket. Arms are crossed out in front with the forehead resting on the hands, stacked palms to floor.

Corpse pose is even simpler. Lie on your back and place a thin pillow under your head and neck. Arms should rest comfortably at the sides, palms up. Both arms and legs should be extended out away from center at about 30 degrees.

A comfortable seated position is best achieved by sitting on a chair or a folded blanket.

Whichever of these three poses you choose, settle into it and allow your breath to flow in and out of your nose. After a minute or two, guide your breath and help it to become smooth and even. Silently count to yourself and let the inhale and exhale become equal and without a pause in between. After 5 to 7 breaths, let the counting go and focus on the breath in the nostrils. Allow your breath to become deep and quiet.

As you breathe in this way, your body will release tension, fatigue, and stored stress and/or emotions (family gatherings especially can bring these to the surface.)

It is recommended to take time once or twice a day to “simply breathe.” This is true especially during the holidays. If you sense tension beginning to mount when some situation is approaching, allow yourself a few minutes before hand to breathe and then notice how differently you react to the questions, comments, or situations that might ordinarily cause you distress.

Happy Holidays & Namaste’ Randy Nellessen, RYT 500

Randy is a 500 hour Himalayan Institute certified yoga instructor at the Center. He teaches the Weekend Yoga class on Saturday morning from 9:00 – 10:30 am. Click here to go to Randy’s page.

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