With the chaos of Christmas shopping, events, deadlines and more, the stresses of the festive season can be huge. It’s so important to look after your own mental health and wellbeing throughout this period – prioritising self care and mindfulness can help you stay centred and calm, despite the chaos.
We’ve put together our favourite calming and restorative yoga poses – all you need is ten minutes of free time and a bit of free space to stretch.
Child’s Pose – Balasana
Child’s pose is a firm favourite, due to how simple and grounding it is. Start on all fours then recline backwards, so you’re sitting on your heels with your arms outstretched in front of you, and your forehead connecting with the floor (if your forehead isn’t quite there, no worries – pop a cushion or blanket there to support you).
Taking ten deep, nourishing breaths in this position helps to reconnect and ground you, stretching out your back and shoulders at the same time.
Standing Fold – Uttanasana
If you’ve been sat at a desk all day or your back is feeling stiff, standing fold is a great way to stretch out your hamstrings and get the blood flowing around your body. Simply curl downwards with your fingers outstretched towards your toes, and stop wherever feels comfortable for you.
You can simply hang here and breathe, or you can hold each elbow and gently swing from side to side to deepen the stretch in your lower back.
Bridge – Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
To open up your heart centre and fire up your lower back and glutes, lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet planted firmly hip width apart. Curl up through your spine, inhaling deeply until your pelvis is lifted as far as you feel comfortable. Release on the exhale, curling back down slowly through each part of the spine.
Legs Up The Wall – Viparita Karani
If you feel like something a little bit more passive, legs up the wall is a wonderful way to stretch and unwind. Lie near a wall or vertical surface, supporting your lower back with a cushion or pile of blankets. Gently swing your legs up the wall (if this hurts, move further away from the wall to take the strain off your hamstrings and lower back).
Lie here for as long as you wish, letting the blood flow around your body and taking plenty of rejuvenating deep breaths. This is a great pose to meditate in – particularly if your hamstrings need loosening.
Cat Cow – Chakravakasana
Another of our favourite poses for loosening off the lower back after a day sat at a desk, cat and cow pose are both gentle stretches ideal for any level of experience.
Simply start on all fours and exhale, pulling in your navel, curling your spine upwards and tucking your head in so you’re looking at your knees. On the out breath, come back up to neutral spine and then raise your head to the sky, rotating your pelvis in the other direction so your back is arched and your stomach is dropped.
Flow with these movements and transition with the breath.
Corpse Pose – Savasana
Lastly, our favourite pose for when you just want to completely switch off and relax. Lie flat on your back, with any cushions or blankets you need for support, and leave your legs rotated gently outwards and your arms spread slightly away from your body with palms facing the sky.
To reap all the relaxing benefits of meditating in corpse pose, try not to fall asleep – put on some gentle music or white noise, light some incense or put on an oil diffuser, and light some candles to create a calming atmosphere.