Calming Yoga for Holiday Stress


From increased social commitments to the start of gift shopping, this time of year can really cause anxiety levels to skyrocket. But it doesn’t have to! By consciously scheduling in moments to rest, recharge, and rejuvenate, you can keep your chill and genuinely appreciate all the joy this season has to offer. One way to do just that? With our easy to-follow yoga routine. “This is the perfect flow to open your heart and find your center,” says Chelsea Jackson Roberts, PhD, a certified yoga instructor and founder of the Yoga, Literature, and Art Camp for Teen Girls at Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, who created the following series exclusively for Health. Now go ahead and get your namaste on.

RELATED: 9 Easy Yoga Poses to Help You Survive Work, Stress and Travel

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Mountain Pose

Stand tall with shoulders down and back, and palms together at heart’s center. Ground down into all four corners of feet and, with eyes closed, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.

RELATED: Hilaria Baldwin Breaks Down 3 Yoga Moves You Might Be Getting Wrong

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Upward Salute

Inhale and bring arms up while reaching through fingertips (A). Exhale and extend arms around back of body while outwardly rotating shoulders to stretch and open your heart. Interlock fingers behind lower back; inhale while lifting heart’s center and pressing knuckles toward the ground (B).

RELATED: 3 Yoga Lengthening Poses You Might Be Doing Wrong and How to Fix Them

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Forward Fold with Clasped Hands

Keeping hands behind you and fingers interlaced, exhale as you bow forward. Bending knees slightly, allow belly to be supported by quads while actively pressing all four corners of feet into the ground.

RELATED: Take 10 Minutes to Try This Beginner Yoga Routine

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Chair Pose

On your next inhale, release your hands, sweeping them up as you lower hips back and down. Allow arms to lift; power up the quads and press through all four corners of feet. Draw shoulder blades into your upper back as you reach elbows toward ears. Draw tailbone down to the floor, keeping your lower back nice and long.

RELATED: 3 Common Yoga Poses You’re Probably Doing Wrong—And How to Fix Them

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Forward Fold

Exhale, bowing forward with hands down. Release quads, allowing a gentle stretch in your hamstrings.

RELATED: I Tried a Naked Yoga Class—and Actually Loved How It Made Me Feel

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Root to Rise

On your next inhale, ground down into feet. Make your way back into Upward Salute with arms extended up as you reach through fingertips. Standing tall, draw hands back to heart’s center, and bring your shoulders down and back.

RELATED: 5 Ways to Become More Flexible

Try this post-flow:

Sitali Breath

This breathing pattern is known to ease anxiety. Close your eyes and begin to bring awareness to how you are breathing. Relax your jaw and curl your tongue like a taco (no worries if your tongue won’t cooperate—just leave it!). Inhale one long breath like your are inhaling through a straw. On the exhale, allow the breath to travel out through the nose with ease. Continue this pattern for at least 10 rounds.

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