Mindfulness consultant Eunice Yu reminds us that self-care reaches beyond the physical body.
Published On: Dec 7, 2020
Last Updated On: Nov 18, 2021
The turkey’s been carved, Thanksgiving has passed, and November has come to an end. Before we know it, the holidays will be here! If you’re like me, you’re no stranger to the checklists and deadlines.
It’s the shadow that lingers behind the holiday magic and cheer. Shopping for presents, planning dinner, and traveling have all become more difficult, especially for those of us affected by eczema. Particularly this year, where Covid-19 has already changed the way the world thinks, reacts and breathes.
So as the rest of this month unfolds, look to these five yoga poses to help you and your family reset and restore, without causing sweaty flares, during the most stressful moments of your holiday season.
Feel free to use a bedsheet or towel under you instead of a yoga mat, for sensitive skin. Whatever works best for you!
1. Child’s pose
This pose helps to alleviate stress and anxiety by calming your nervous system; it releases tension or stress that you might be holding in your hips, lower back, shoulders and neck.
Come onto your hands and your shins, knees knocked out wide and toes touching if you can. Rest your forehead all the way to the earth, extend your arms way out in front of you, close your eyes, and breathe. Feel free to place a pillow under your torso and head if you want to stay here for a few minutes. Breathe.
2. Cat cow rolls
These two poses together will help open up your heart and chest, as well as your breath-to-body connection. It releases tension from your neck, shoulders, lungs, back, and abdomen for improved posture, spinal health and strength.
Come to your mat on your hands and your knees. Release your shoulders away from your ears. Feel free to place a pillow under your knees if they are sensitive. On your inhale, lift your head up towards the sky and drop your belly into a cow pose. On your exhale, arch your back like a cat and tuck your chin in towards your chest. Repeat these movements back to back 3-5 times.
3. Rag doll pose
This pose reduces tension, stress, and fatigue in the lower back, neck, shoulders, and temples. It also supports and stimulates kidney and liver function, as well as your digestive and nervous systems.
Stand with your feet hips-width apart with an option to bend your knees generously until your torso rests on your thighs. Grab opposite elbows, allow your head to hang heavy – you could even tuck your chin in towards your chest, if that feels good for you. Soften your gaze. Begin to sway left and right as well as front and back with your inhales and exhales. Stay here for 5-10 breaths or however long you want.
4. Supta baddha konasana pose
This pose acts as a gentle heart and hip opener. It relaxes and calms the body, stimulates blood circulation, and stretches the lower back and lower body.
Lie on your back and bring the soles of your feet together to touch. Let your knees knock out wide, and take your arms out to a wide T shape. Relax your shoulders and soften your gaze. Stay here for 3-5 cycles of breath. Then, place one hand over your heart and the other hand over your belly; take another 3-5 cycles of breath.
5. Legs up the wall pose
This pose is known and loved for its effects on reducing stress, anxiety, tension, and lower back or leg pain. By gently inverting the body, it regulates blood flow, reduces inflammation and calms the mind.
Place your blanket or yoga mat near the wall. If you are using a support (a bolster, pillow, or folded blanket) place it about six feet away from the edge of the wall. Lay your torso down onto the earth, stomach and chest up. If you are using a support, lay the back of your hips and lower back on your pillow or bolster. Open your arms out to a wide T, palms open. Legs about hips distance apart. Soften your gaze and/or close your eyes. Stay here for 3-5 minutes, or however long you want!