3 Yoga Tips to Help Stay Calm this Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time but it’s also a busy and sometimes stressful time. More than ever, yoga can be enormously helpful in keeping us sane!

Here are a couple of tips to help make a bit of time for your yoga practise during the Christmas holidays.

When we are stressed out, it activates our Sympathetic Nervous System  (also know as the ‘fight or flight response’). This leads to high levels of stress hormones like cortisol in the body and if it happens too frequently it can cause adrenal fatigue.

When we breathe into the lower lobes of our lungs (Diaphragmatic Breathing), it has the effect of switching on our Parasympathetic Nervous System (also known as the “rest and digest” system). This system activates the more tranquil functions of the body; those that help maintain a healthy long-term balance.

If you feel your stress levels are elevated by taking even 5 minutes out and practising some Diaphragmatic Breathing (breathing into the abdomen) you will feel a profound effect.
Begin by sitting in a comfortable position and just watch the breath. Every time you notice your mind is wandering just bring your attention back to the breath. Then encourage your breath to lengthen and move into your lower belly and lower back.
Don’t force it.

After a few minutes come back to your regular breath.
Notice the effect.
Another option is Alternate Nostril Breathing (http://www.yoga-in-dublin.com/yoga-blog/alternate-nostril-breathing/)

If you have the space at home, roll out your yoga mat  and leave it out! The sight of your yoga mat can be enough to prompt you to get onto it. If you think you don’t have the time, shorten your practice. Three or four 15 minute sessions over the holidays will be more beneficial to you than a one off  1.5 hour session.
If your energy levels are low try  practicing the poses you are most familiar with. You don’t have to push yourself to your maximum to gain benefit from your yoga practice. A few Sun Salutations are a great idea (if you’re familiar with them) as you don’t need to spend too much time thinking of what to do next. Get into the flow and enjoy!

One-legged balancing poses offer so many benefits that it’s well worth the trouble to practice them. They are both physically and mentally beneficial. To balance you must concentrate. This helps to focus the mind on a single point. It’s similar to a mediation. The moment your mind starts to wander, chances are you’ll begin to wobble or fall over – definitely one way to bring you mind back to task in hand!
You also need to be aware of the connection between your feet (or hands depending on the pose being practised) and the earth. This has a grounding affect on the body but also on the mind.

Good luck and enjoy your holiday!