Reduce Holiday Stress with Meditation and Yoga

One of the best ways to reduce holiday stress is yoga. Not only is yoga beneficial for increasing feelings of calm and well-being, but also boosts energy levels, eases muscle tension, and soothes the nervous system through breathing exercises (Prāṇāyāma). Meditation is a discipline within yoga, and the ultimate goal for the practice of each is to achieve peace of mind. Enjoy a calmer, healthier holiday season by incorporating meditation and yoga into your daily routine.

Meditation to Reduce Holiday Stress

If holiday stress has you anxious, tense and worried, meditation can help. Spending even a few minutes in meditation can restore your calm and inner peace. The good thing about meditation is that anyone can practice it, and it’s simple and inexpensive. There is no need for special equipment, and you can practice it anywhere – while on a walk, riding a bus, waiting in a doctor’s office, during a business meeting.

There is no “right” way to meditate, but there are different things that can be done and you can choose what works for you. Here are some ways you can practice meditation:

  • Breathe deeply.Focus all your attention on your breathing. Concentrate on feeling and listening as you inhale and exhale through your nostrils. Breathe deeply and slowly. When your attention wanders, gently return your focus to your breathing.
  • Walk and meditate.Slow your walking pace so that you can focus on each movement of your legs or feet. Don’t think about a destination. Concentrate on your legs and feet, repeating action words in your mind such as “lifting,” “moving” and “placing” as you lift each foot, move your leg forward and place your foot on the ground.
  • Read and reflect.Read a poem or sacred text and quietly reflect on the meaning.

Yoga to Keep the Stress Away

Yoga is the process of reversing the outward flow of energy so that the mind becomes the center of perception. It is a spiritual practice that extends to the physical and, with practice, helps you keep your body and spirit energized with the ‘right’ kind of energy. The kind of energy that comes from a sense of well-being.

There are meditation techniques designed for breath control, physical poses and positions designed for body healing and balance, and deeper meditation and breathing study designed for spiritual growth.

Here is a pose you can do right now to relax and reduce stress called Three Part Breath (Dirga Pranayama–DEER-gah prah-nah-YAH-mah):

This is a simple breathing exercise that brings your awareness to the present moment and calms your mind.

  1. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position on the floor, in a chair, or on a bed.
  2. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your rib cage.
  3. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, but naturally.
  4. Focus your awareness on the breath as it moves in and out of your body.
  5. Feel the lift of your belly and the expansion of your ribs on your inhalations. Notice the slight compression of your ribs and the drop of your belly as you exhale.
  6. Bring your bottom hand to your chest, just below your collarbone. Breathe all the way into this area and allow your chest to rise slightly; then exhale and let it go.
  7. As you inhale, feel your belly lift, ribs expand, and chest lift. On your exhalations, notice how your chest drops, ribs contract, and belly lowers.
  8. Release your arms and focus your mind on your breath for 5-10 minutes, inhaling and exhaling fully.

 

One Response to Reduce Holiday Stress with Meditation and Yoga

  1. Whitney says:

    I am going to try this soon. My family has a big get together at the start of spring every year. It is like our one big holiday for the entire family. I am going to be helping in hosting it this year and while it is still 2 months away, I already find myself getting stressed over it. I never tried meditation but I did enjoy yoga the few times I went to classes with some friends.

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