Christmas is undoubtedly one of the most magical and at the same time, most stressful shopping periods. It’s only once a year but battling though the sea of Christmas shoppers has become part of the tradition as much as trees and mince pies.
One of the reasons why we feel so exhausted afterwards (apart from seeing our credit card statement) is that it triggers a ‘fight or flight’ response. Before we even leave the house we put on a warrior’s mask and brace ourselves for endless queues for parking, paying, wrapping, searching, exchanging, comparing and thinking what to buy.
When you get home, or even before you go, try these top 4 yoga moves to turn on the ‘rest and digest’ response and remain sane in the run up to Christmas.
1. Lying Spinal Twist
This should alleviate any lower back pain from carrying all those shopping bags!
Lie on your back, draw both knees into your chest. Open your arms to the side like wings and drop the knees to one side. Stay on each side for 5-10 breaths.
2. Forward bend in sukhasana (or any other cross-legged position)
Cross your shins, widen your knees, and slip each foot beneath the opposite knee as you bend your knees. Take a deep breath in, elongate the spine and slowly start walking the palms away from the shins. Once you feel that this is your end point, take another breath in, lengthen the spine and drop your head down. Use pillow or a little mountain of pillows for your forehead.
3. Alternating nostril breathing
This pranayama is thought to harmonise the two hemispheres of the brain allowing us to balance our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
Fold a thick blanket or two into a firm support about six inches high and sit close to one edge. Use the thumb and the right finger of your right hand. Exhale everything out and close the right nostril and inhale through the left nostril for the count of 5 . Close both nostrils and hold the breath for the count of 20, relax your belly. Once your count is up close the left nostril, exhaling through the right nostril for the count of 10. Start on that side, inhale through the right nostril for 5, hold the breath for 20, exhale through the left nostril for 10. That’s one round. D o 5 more rounds.
This method can be used for the entire meditation or just at the beginning until you feel you don’t need it. Silently count each breath, beginning with one and count up to ten. When you reach ten, just start over. If you get distracted and end up at 35, smile and start over again at ‘one’. It doesn’t matter how far you get, just start again as you are training the mind, not trying to conquer this task.
This post was written by Daria Wall, who began her yoga journey in 2008. She quickly became interested in Forrest Yoga and travelled across the world to train with Ana Forrest and completed the Forrest Yoga Foundation Teacher Training in Hong Kong. Her curiosity and fascination with anatomy and biomechanics of the human body sent her to Thailand where she begun her journey with an international yoga teacher, author, acupuncturist and health & wellness specialist, Tiffany Cruikshank, with whom she is completing the 500 hour certification. Daria is trained in full body massage, myofascial release, Thai massage and Chinese medicine. She completed the Professional Thai Massage 150 Hour training at the Thai Massage School of Chiang Mai, Thailand. She is also a certified Open Water Diver and runs a company called DP Wellbeing that delivers fitness, yoga, massage and nutrition guidance, classes, workshops and treatments across Dundee and Broughty Ferry in Scotland.