As much as the holidays bring joy and excitement, they also bring stress and sometimes a lot of stress. Here are three self calming practices that you can pursue as needed (not only during the holidays). The first two don’t require any equipment and are great techniques to reduce anxiety and stress. The third stress buster is variable; use what you have.
- Self Soother – Bee’s Breath (Brahmari):
You can actually do this anywhere. However, maybe not in a public place as I’m willing to bet you’d get some strange looks. You can sit in Easy Pose, comfortably in a chair or your car while it is parked.
How: Gently plug your ears with your index fingers drawing your elbows up to the line of your shoulders. Keep your shoulders relaxed and seal your lips. Inhale through your nose but when you exhale hum the letter “M” softly. Sustain the sound during your lengthened exhalation. Whatever you do; don’t force the exhalation to be any longer or that counteracts the soothing feature. You also can close your eyes if you like. The soothing sound lengthens during the exhalation and this is what actually soothes you. Repeat several times for as long as you’d like.
2. Self-Soother – Alternate Nostril Breathing:
Like Bee’s breath, this can be pursued anywhere and you don’t need any equipment to do it.
How: Use your right hand’s fingers to alternatively close and open nostrils. If you can, roll your index and middle finger down into your palm so that you have the thumb, ring and little fingers free.
B. Close off left nostril with ring finger. Exhale through right nostril. (Keep fingers in place)
C. Inhale through right nostril.
D. Return to Step A. Do as many cycles as you’d like. When finished, return to normal breathing.
3. Self Soother – Restorative Pose: Reclined Bound Angle or Reclining Queen (Supta Baddha Konasana):
You may like this pose better than Savasana when it comes to relaxing and de-stressing.
How: If you have props, use them as it makes the pose better and more relaxing! Great props include a bolster, blankets, pillows, 2-3 blocks, large strap, and a cotton eye pillow. Keep your props nearby!
First, take the bolster and lean it against a block or a wall so that the bolster is at an angle. I aim for a 45° angle. Place a folded blanket on top of the bolster for your head. Sit up with you back against the bolster. Take your large strap (preferably a D-ring style) and create a big circle, loop the strap around your hips, place your legs into butterfly, and wrap the strap under your feet. Tighten the strap so it is snug. Gently lean back and lower onto the bolster. The strap should support your hips. Place pillows, blankets or blocks under the knees for support. If you have an eye pillow, place it on top of your eyes. Arms can be where ever they are comfortable. Chill out in this pose for as long as you like but at least 5 minutes. Aim for 15 minutes or so if you can.