Ahhh, Christmas. It really is the most wonderful time of the year . . . except for when you’re juggling daily demands, trying to locate presents, dealing with high expectations, and the dog’s helped himself to tinsel for lunch again. According to statistics, 71% of Australians feel stressed over the holidays, which can lead to body aches, poor sleep, irritability, anxiety and more. Here, Camilla Knight, founder of Creative Yoga and a yoga teacher to private groups and clients in Singapore (@camillapway) reveals her top simple yoga moves for keeping serene throughout the holiday season and beyond.
Festive feeling: Overwhelm
Try: Child’s pose
Helps with: Overactive mind, anxiety and digestion
- Kneel on a folded blanket or towel and roll small towels under your ankles and feet if needed. Your knees can be together or apart.
- Forward fold and rest your forehead onto a yoga bolster, bed pillow, or onto your hands. Arms can be outstretched ahead of you or loosely placed alongside your feet.
- Close your eyes and focus on your spine and the back of your body as you direct your breath fully and deeply into the back of your ribs.
Festive feeling: Anger
Try: Camel pose
Helps with: Repressed anger, unreleased emotions, heart opening, digestion, backache
- Kneel down (use a towel if necessary) with your knees a little wider than your hips and with your feet apart.
- Place the palms of your hands face down on your lower back, with your thumbs pressed on the outside towards your waist.
- Look directly ahead and gently push your hips forward until you feel a stretch in your thighs, keeping the hips pushing forward, and drawing your shoulder blades together. Look upwards to create a gentle backbend.
- If your lower back feels good, place your hands onto your heels to deepen the back bend. Keep pushing your thighs forward and gaze upwards or directly ahead. Stay here for three deep breaths.
- On your next inhale push your hips forward, slowly drop your gaze to look forward and sit back on your heels. Take a child’s pose and repeat if necessary.
Festive feeling: Anxiety
Try: Legs up wall
Helps with: Calming the nervous system, cooling the body down
- Find an empty wall and place a mat parallel to it. Sit on the mat with one side of your body snug against the wall, then turn and lie back on the mat, shifting your bottom and hips so they’re as close to the wall as possible.
- Extend your legs up the wall, with your hands either on your chest or by your side. With your eyes closed, breathe fully and deeply. Stay here for up to four minutes.
- Gently take your legs down from the wall and roll onto your side in the foetal position. Remain here for a few breaths before coming back up to sitting.
Festive feeling: Bloating
Try: Marichyasana C
Helps with: Digestion, toxins, massages internal organs, elongates lower back
- Sit on the floor with both legs extended. Bend your right knee so it’s flat on the floor close to your body.
- Sitting tall, place your right hand behind you to support you.
- As you exhale, twist to bring your left elbow across your body so it hooks onto the outside of your right knee.
- With your mouth closed, extend your spine as you breathe in through your nostrils. Then gently twist further as you breathe out through your mouth or nostrils. Keep both shoulders relaxed. Take as many breath rounds as you like.
- Repeat the same on the other side, bending your left knee and placing your foot over your right knee.