Are you an active type who doesn’t like to slow down?
During this time of year you may start to feel the weight and stress of all of that activity, especially because the Holidays can ramp up commitments and travel. Or, you may be someone who feels down during the season. I know that sometimes the Holidays can feel overwhelming, and not everyone experiences the merriness and cheer.
Whether you’re looking for a way to slow down and relax from the Holiday hustle and bustle, or you want to create space for being kind and generous to yourself, the following gentle yoga poses can help you.
You can practice them any time you have a moment, and they are especially lovely first thing in the morning or before bed to help you sleep better.
They’re also great for relieving muscle imbalances due to paddling, especially in the low back, hips and shoulders!
Happy Holiday relaxing!
Windshield Wiper Pose
This is a relaxing, passive stretch for the hip flexors.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor on either side of your mat.
- On an exhale take both knees over to the right while keeping your feet wide. Allow the soles of both feet to lift off the floor so that the inner edge of your left foot and the outer edge of your right foot stay in contact with the ground.
- Take your left arm overhead or out to the side for a stretch all the way up the side body.
- Breathe deeply and easily in and out through your nose for 5 breath cycles.
- Switch sides.
Twists are beneficial for the nervous system and boost digestion, which can also boost energy.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the mat sitz bones distance apart.
- Inhale and bring your feet off the floor so that your thighs create a 90 degree angle with your body.
- Exhale and take your knees over to the right until your bottom leg is resting on the floor and your top leg is resting on your bottom leg. Keep the knees in line as much as possible and at waist height.
- Extend the arms out from your shoulders to enjoy a chest across the pectorals.
- Breathe deeply and easily in and out through the nose for 5 breath cycles.
- Switch sides.
Legs up the Wall
This is one of my favorite restorative poses and it works wonders for fatigue and stress.
- Bring your mat to the wall so that the short end of the mat is against the wall.
- Sit sideways to the wall as close as you can.
- Lie on your back and take your legs up the wall.
- Move your butt toward the wall until it is in contact with the wall as well as the back sides of your legs.
- Turn your palms out so that they are facing the ceiling.
- Lift your chin slightly to maintain your cervical spine curve.
- Breathe easily in and out through the nose and allow yourself to relax completely.
- Hold for 5 – 10 minutes or until you feel rejuvenated.
Photos by Scott Martin
Want to learn more about Yoga for Paddling and how it can help your skills and your mindset? Check out free classes on my Youtube channel, purchase my book Yoga for Paddling and join my upcoming 8 week course, Master your Whitewater Mindset.