Newsflash - December can be stressful! I have been consciously working on really slowing down this season, and enjoying each moment. It helps that we live in a small town now, without so many distractions! Along with slowing down life in general, I have slowed down some of my workouts too. There are times where a good 30 minute yoga session will benefit you more (physically and mentally) than a high intensity workout or a long run. I really do feel like I am less likely to get "bent out of shape" if I've been regularly practicing yoga. I'm not saying you should abandon your kick-butt workouts. Working up a sweat is also a great stress reliever, and a good counter-actor to those tempting holiday treats! But don't put so much pressure on yourself to always be pushing yourself so hard.
If you can work out some of that stress and tightness in your body, and clear some space in your mind, I promise you will feel so much better, and handle the craziness of the season so much more effectively. Yoga is the perfect way to improve flexibility while still building strength. The extra bonus is how therapeutic it can be on your MIND! If you're anything like me, your mind is running at 100 miles a minute, all of the time. This can make even the thought of yoga a little terrifying! It can be hard to slow down for that hour and be fully present in your yoga practice. A few things that I have found help me (a serial thinker) calm down during yoga:
1. Have an instructor (live or video) that is good at cueing breaths. When you are being told to inhale, exhale, slow down, it happens more automatically.
2. Set an intention before your practice. Examples? "I am taking time for myself so I can give to others later". "You are strong through your stretches" "Your breath is cleansing you". "My brain is laying by the beach right now". Make your own!
3. Start short. Do a 10 minute yoga video, or the 1 minute stretches I'm sharing here today and know you only have to check-out for a few minutes. As your train your brain to relax, soon you will crave that 1 hour of "check-out" time!
Here are two quick moves that can leave your fitter (and calmer) in just a minute! Start (or finish) your busy day with these two moves and reap the benefits today!
If you do one yoga move ever in your life - do downward dog. It's a great total body opener and perfect for improving hamstring flexibility and lower back tightness. As an inverted (upside down) move, the blood flow to your head is really refreshing too! Lift one leg for a deeper stretch, and let the knee bend and heel fall for a great hip opener.
Use a ribbon, towel or tie for the arm opener. Be sure to hold wide enough so that you can do the full range of motion and back without having to wiggle or force your arms awkwardly. This is great for desk workouts or anyone who holds tension in their shoulders.
Some outtakes....distraction-free yoga can be hard to come by at my house! Oakley wanted to get her "down-dog" on too! PS - do you love my Christmas tree? We got all of our decorations up this weekend!
Disclaimer: Although I am an AFAA certified Personal Fitness Trainer, you should consult a physician before starting any exercise program or diet. If you choose to do any workouts on this website, you do so at your own risk.
how about you?
How do you de-stress during the busy holidays?
Do you have your Christmas decorations up yet?
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It's great to see you! I'm Alyssa and I blog about all the things I've found "essential" in my life as a fit mama and football coach's wife. You'll find all kinds of fun stuff here like workouts, oily info, football stories and more!
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I am not a licensed medical professional. All views expressed on this website are based on my own personal research and experiences. Please consult your doctor with any medical issues before beginning a training program.
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