Whether the holidays are a source of excitement or dread for you, your nervous system might be going on a rollercoaster ride these days. Stress can cause our fight-or-flight response to activate, while a social event could prompt either exhaustion or an excess of energy (or both).
“Staying grounded during the holiday season can be challenging,” says yoga teacher, author, and Lululemon ambassador Kino MacGregor. If you’re feeling like your heart or mind is racing, or you’re breathing heavily, it could be a sign that you need to take a moment for yourself.
One way to do that is by focusing on your breath, finding stillness, and doing some gentle movement.
“With a short moving meditation, you can tap into a natural state of calm within yourself,” says MacGregor. Whether you want to arrive at your in-laws in a more balanced state, or you need to calm down after an awesome party, give this sequence a shot to gift yourself a little bit of peace in the midst of the madness.
A ‘moving meditation’ to find calm during the holidays
Constructive rest pose
Start off laying down on your back and bend the knees. Separate the feet to just slightly wider than hips-width apart, and let your knees rest against one another. Settle the tailbone on the ground. Allow the shoulder blades to gently nestle under the upper back. Place the hands anywhere that’s comfortable for you, perhaps resting on your belly or chest. Close the eyes.
Focus on deep belly breathing and try counting the breaths backwards from 10. Say to yourself, “10 in, 10 out, 9 in, 9 out” in order to bring awareness to your breath, body, and mind.
Continuing from constructive rest pose, bring both knees into the chest, gently hugging the shin bones.
Extend the left leg out and keep the right knee close to your chest.
Reach around the outer edge of the right knee and hold the right knee with the left hand.
Exhale and draw the right knee across the centerline of the body and gently towards the floor on the left side of the torso.
Inhale again and lift the right arm upwards to create space and length in the torso.
Exhale and open the right arm out to the right side and gaze over towards it.
Stay for 10 to 20 breaths, and then repeat on the other side.
Continuing from reclining twist pose, bring both knees back into the chest and gently hug the shin bones again.
Inhale and lift both legs up toward the ceiling, point the feet and draw the legs in towards each other.
Place both hands on the torso or underneath the hips for a little extra support. Close the eyes for deep relaxation.
Stay for 10 to 20 breaths, and then return to constructive rest pose.