Fresh Living

If you find a bit of an edge creeping in to your holiday buzz, check out these calming exercises from Candace Morano, a New York City-based yoga instructor. No need to do them all at once, try one or two at least to get settled. Yoga medicine is usually like good hair conditioner–a little goes a long way. Of course, also check with your doctor before doing any new exercisey thing. That said, Candace, take it away!

1) Inhale through both nostrils. Give your breath a color. Envision and feel your breath moving down to your toes, whether sitting or standing. Exhale and again envision your breath now moving upward from your toes, through your pelvic floor and continuing up the spinal column and out the crown of your head. Do this 3x, slowly and feel calm, grounded and centered.

2) Standing or sitting, inhale and ground into your feet or sitz bones. Connect to your body’s center at the navel by inhaling and drawing your navel towards your spine. Exhale and lengthen your lower back towards your tailbone and your tailbone towards the floor. Feel your chest rise and your heart lift. Do this 3x times and feel energy rising up through your body’s center and notice how you feel confident and solid in your body.

3) Imagine a rose. Put all your worries/doubts anxieties into the rose. Inhale through both nostrils keeping your attention on the rose. As you exhale, watch the rose petals explode and disintegrate the limitations that are created by our unwavering mind. Now that you have cleared your mind, see a blank canvas to create affirming statements or mantras, such as: “I fully embrace and accept the beauty and challenges this day brings.”

4) Connect to your heart. Remember something or someone you are grateful for and send them a loving prayer or blessing. See the joy on their face as your prayer or blessing arrives. Remember that these very simple but profound experiences make our life beautiful and expansive.

5) Engage in your surroundings by noticing some people or faces nearby. Simply smile at someone and notice how your body relaxes and your mental outlook shifts. Remember that simple generosity comes back ten fold and connects us back to our hearts. 

6) Shift your perspective. If you are standing in line or sitting in a car or on a train, look over your right shoulder as if someone was calling you and keep your hips square. Deepen and guide your breath into the leg that you are twisting away from and feel your torso rotate from the base of the spine upward. Exhale as you arrive into the twist and feel the muscles around your ribcage and spine soften. Inhale again and imagine the body’s outer layer melting like wax down a candle and lengthen the crown of your head upward. Exhale and de-rotate facing forward again. Do the other side and repeat 3x on each side.

And if there’s any question as to how you’re coping holiday stress, try Holly’s fun Holiday Stress quiz.

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