December, 'tis the season when stress rises to the top in people's lives, and for good reason. There are many factors that contribute to holiday stress, the most common include lack of money, and increasing holiday-related debt, the pressure of giving and receiving gifts, and staying on track with your diet.
In all the hustle and bustle don't forget to take time for you and self-care. Schedule five to 20 minutes in your day to get physical. Give yourself a 'time-out' with physical activity of any kind for as little as five minutes.
Stress busting yoga routine
Below are five poses designed to help relieve stress and tension in your body, calm your mind, center your focus and help you become aware of your breathing.
Once you arrive into the pose, spend 30 seconds to one minute in the pose while focusing on your breathing. Take slow inward breaths through your nose, pause to hold your breath for one to two seconds, then exhale slowly. Pause, then repeat. If you do each pose twice for one minute each, you will have a 10 minute stress busting routine.
Begin in mountain pose, with the bases of your big toes touching with your heels slightly apart, and arms at your sides. Bend your knees and balance on your right foot while crossing your left thigh over your right. Hook the top of your left foot behind your right calf and balance.
This pose helps to ground you physically, and at the same time focuses the mind to a single focal point. It helps to physically release tightness around the hips and shoulders.
Standing forward fold fold
Exhale as you bend forward at the hips and lengthen your torso. Let the top of your head hang down and press your heels into the floor as you lift your sit bones toward the ceiling.
This pose helps to quiet a busy mind and bring about a feeling of calmness and letting go, while at the same time releasing tightness in the back, hips and legs.
While on your hands and knees in a table top pose, let the top of your head hang toward the floor and arch your back like a cat. From here, bring your spine back into a neutral position then flow into cow pose — drop your belly toward the mat and lift your chin and chest while gazing upward.
This flowing yoga vinyasa brings a gentle massage to the spine and abdominal organs, and helps to calm the mind, relieve stress and tension in the back, and bring back a sense of emotional balance.
Begin in table top and tuck your toes under. Walk your hands back toward the knees and sit all the way up. Rest your hands in your lap.This pose helps bring your body back into alignment by stretching the calf, feet and toes and lengthening the spine.
Begin on your hands and knees, spread the palms wide and stack the shoulders over your wrists. Put your weight into your palms and raise your knees off the mat while lifting the hips high. Keep your toes pointing forward and maintain a slight bend in the knees.
This pose helps to nurture both mind and body and bring them back into balance. It will lengthen the back of the body, open the front of the body, build strength and bring awareness to your breathing.
Incorporating this five minute stress busting yoga practice is an effective way to manage stress, boost immunity and beat the seasonal blues. What a winning prescription for stress management all winter long!
Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook
Also on HuffPost: