Bennd Staff Picks- Our Top Yoga Poses to Keep You Sane Through The Holiday Season
The holidays are quickly approaching, and with that comes gift-giving, festive parties, and social gatherings.
While this can be a wonderful time of fun and games, it can also be stressful for many people, especially after a year and a half of social distancing. While some are ramping back up to full social calendars, others may be reluctant to socialize in larger gatherings.
During this time of year, it's more important than ever to check in with our bodies and to breathe! We recommend carving out time in your calendar for either a Slow Flow or a relaxing Yin Yoga class, allowing your body to truly melt into your mat and ground down.
If you don't have time for a full practice amidst the holiday madness, there's still hope! First, try to find five to ten minutes per day to dedicate solely to yourself. Then, pick one to three poses and find a quiet place to practice.
- Light an aromatherapy candle.
- Turn on some of your favorite music (or throw on Bennd's Dreamland playlist).
- Dim the lights.
Don't forget to use one of our Turmeric or Harda Ayurvedic yoga mats for a little extra grounding. Need some yoga pose suggestions? Try our staff's top picks below to help you stay sane throughout the next month!
The best thing about this pose – it's easy and relaxing! Roll out your mat and lay down lengthwise on your back. Spread your legs shoulder width, rest your arms comfortably down on the mat alongside your body and take a long, deep breath. As you continue to breathe, feel your body melt more profoundly into the floor beneath you.
Pro Tip: Use a Bennd Pranayama Pillow behind your head, chest, or lower back for more expansion and support.
This one is amazing for yogis of any level! Kneel on your mat with knees hip-width distance apart and let your toes touch. Be careful of your knees and check in with your body about any injuries before beginning. Rest your palms on your thighs, take a deep inhale and on your exhale, stretch your arms out in front of you. Then, rest your forehead down on your mat. Bring your head down slightly below your heart to help your nervous system into a parasympathetic state (taking it out of fight-or-flight). Breathe deeply here and allow your shoulders to relax towards the ground.
Pro Tip: Hug your Bennd yoga bolster to really stretch out your back side.
Standing forward fold (Uttanasana)
Get ready for your nervous system to reset into rest mode. Stand on your mat (in mountain pose) with feet hip-width distance apart and arms relaxed by your side. On an inhale, slowly reach your hands up towards the sky, meeting in a prayer position over your head. Lengthen your body as you sip in a little more air; on your exhale, bend at the hips bringing your torso down to rest your belly against your thighs. Try to keep your arms out straight as you bend and maintain prayer position until your arms naturally part. Touch your fingers to the floor and breathe here. Be mindful if you are feeling lightheaded. If so, try this pose sitting down~ Keep your front torso long, exhale and lean forward from your hips. Lengthen your spine toward your legs without rounding your back. Walk your hands out along the outside of your legs. If you can reach, hold the sides of your feet with your hands. With each inhalation, lift and lengthen your front torso; with each exhalation, release a little more fully into the forward bend. Release your feet, inhale and lift your torso by pulling your tailbone down and into the pelvis.
Cat-Cow Pose (Bitilasana Marjaryasana)
This one is relaxing and also feels fantastic on your back. If you've been sitting or standing a lot, your back will thank you for this spinal massage. Start on your hands and knees on your mat—hands directly below shoulders and knees directly below your hips. Tops of feet can be down on the carpet, or for a more active pose, you can flex your feet and connect your toes to the mat instead. On an inhale breath, arch your belly down towards the mat and your head up towards the sky. Feel the stretch in your back as you create a C-shape with your body. On your exhale, make the opposite shape. Use your core to gently pull your belly up to the center and keep going to an arched back position. Your back rounds up towards the sky while your head faces down towards the mat. Do this multiple times for back relaxation and to get your spinal fluid moving. This exercise naturally balances the breath as you alternate between the cat and cow position continuously.
Pro Tip: Just can't get some time to yourself? Make it fun by letting your littles join you. Extra plus ~ you'll build more strength and resilience!
Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
You can do this pose anywhere, anytime. It's as simple as sitting down on the floor cross-legged, resting hands on knees. We recommend this for more profound relaxation. Focus on relaxing the backs of your hands on your knees, gently pressing your index fingers and thumbs together.
Pro Tip: If this is uncomfortable on your hips or back, we suggest sitting on a Bennd yoga block for extra six bone support. You can also try rolling up the end of your mat to raise your hips a little higher than your legs and feet.
Keep your back straight, close your eyes if it feels comfortable, and take long deep breaths. For added relaxation and nervous system support, try to breathe in for 4-seconds, hold for 4-seconds and breathe out for 4-seconds. If you can hold your breath out for 4-seconds before breathing in again, you have fully completed one circuit of box-breathing.
Even with a busy holiday schedule, we know it is possible to find five or ten minutes for conscious breathing and simple movement. Releasing stress and staying sane during this holiday season is of vital importance to your well-being. You can do these Yoga poses individually throughout your day or consecutively for even more excellent results. We recommend choosing one to three poses (or more depending on your time) and holding each pose for one to five minutes. Since your muscles will relax more and more each time, the more you dedicate, the better your results will be. Be intentional, mindful of injuries, and ALWAYS listen to your body. If it doesn't feel good, stop.
Remember, the days are getting shorter and the skies darker as we get closer to the Winter Solstice on December 21st. If you need a little extra sun and heat in your life, we'd recommend a more invigorating class like Hatha, Vinyasa, or a Power Flow. Find what your body needs and try to take some time for it. Your friends and family will thank you for it later!!
Happy Holidays and happy practicing ~ love the Bennd team!