Take Five and Thrive: Yoga for reducing stress
by Sara Sundance
Imagine navigating the holiday season with a sense of calm and presence? As wild as that idea sounds, it is not only possible but also incredibly simple. Carve out five minutes from your busy holiday schedule and assume this restorative legs up the wall yoga pose to reduce stress and bring calm. Integrate breathwork, you will quickly relax your body and quiet your mind.
This easy combination of Legs-Up-The-Wall Yoga pose and Box Breathing can make a big impact on your stress levels, and restore a sense of calm.
Five minutes to reduce stress with yoga this holiday
For the Legs-Up-The-Wall Yoga Pose, find a clear wall space and two blankets.
1. Sit with your side against the wall and knees bent.
2. Swing your legs up against the wall as you turn to lie flat on your back.
3. Place your hips against the wall or slightly away. You may add a folded blanket under your hips
and/or your head.
4. Place your arms in any comfortable position.
5. Relax your entire body and stay in this position for 5 minutes (extend for up to 15 minutes if your
body and schedule allow).
6. To release the pose, gently push yourself away from the wall.
7. Relax on your back for a few moments.
8. Draw your knees into your chest and roll onto your right side.
9. Rest for a few moments before slowly moving into an upright position.
Another way to practice this pose is to place the back of your legs on a chair or couch. You will still reap the benefits.
Please note, if you have certain medical conditions, including glaucoma or hypertension, talk
with your doctor before practicing this pose.
Box breathing to reduce stress and bring calm
To deepen your relaxation state, you may focus on the box breathing technique while in the above pose.
1. Close your eyes and gently expel all the air from your lungs.
2. Hold your breath to a slow count of four.
3. Quietly inhale through your nose to a slow count of four. First, expand the abdomen, then
diaphragm, then the upper chest. This trains you to breathe deeply.
4. Hold your breath again to a slow count of four.
5. Slowly and smoothly exhale through your nose for a slow count of 4. Let the breath go from the
upper chest, diaphragm, then lastly the abdomen. You have now completed one box breathing
In a season full of busyness and activity, this simple five minute pause will give yourself permission to pause and restore this holida. Yoga and breathwork is an ally in our journey to thrive and survive, making this truly the “most wonderful time of the year.”
To learn more about legs up the wall and other restorative yoga practices, visit www.sundanceri.com for yoga classes, one-on-one bodywork, an infrared sauna session or to learn more with Sarah. appointment.
FOR FURTHER READING:
For more on relaxing poses to reduce stress with yoga this holiday, check out these books:
Restorative Yoga for Beginners by Julia Clarke
Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times by Judith Lasater