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De-Stress and Digest: 7 Restorative Yoga Poses to Help You Relax This Holiday Season

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We probably don’t need to remind you that the holidays are upon us and that they can be wildly joyful and simultaneously rob us of our sanity. We preach abundance here at Wanderlust,  but an excess of holiday parties with delicious cocktails and desserts (zero judgements for wanting seconds of that pumpkin pie) combined with the whirlwind of gift-shopping, cooking, and entertaining can lead to more exhaustion than elation.

In the past decade, there’s been a rapid rise of studies and research that show yoga can improve mind-body health and stress resilience.  People who practice yoga regularly have been shown to have lower cortisol (the body’s primary stress hormone) levels, and specific poses can relieve a wide range of digestive symptoms. So if you’re worried about being as stuffed as the turkey on Thanksgiving dinner, or feel like holiday jingles are giving you anxiety, give these restorative yoga poses a try! Pro tip: we love using comfy props made from organic and natural materials like Brentwood Home’s Crystal Cove Yoga Collection. 

Supine Twist

Benefits: 

Massages the abdominal organs and helps remove toxins

Encourages the flow of fresh blood to your digestive organs

Instructions:
Position your yoga bolster on the right side of your body near your leg. Lie down on your back with your arms out at your side. Bend your left knee towards your chest, and then bring the left leg over to the right side, twisting the spine and low back. Rest your knee and the inside of your leg on the bolster while keeping your shoulders flat on the floor. Breathe deeply for 6-10 breaths. To release the pose, engage your core and bring your left knee back to the center of your body. Move the bolster to the other side and repeat. 

Seated Twist

Benefits:

Stimulates the liver and kidneys

Energizes the spine

Stimulates the digestive fire in the belly

Instructions:
Position your yoga pillow underneath your hips, cross your shins, and guide each foot beneath the opposite knee. Bring your right hand across the body and rest it on the left knee. Inhale to lengthen the spine, and exhale to twist towards the left. Spend a few breaths in this twisted position before releasing on an exhale. Repeat on the other side. 

Woman doing heart opener pose

Heart Opener

Benefits: 

Stimulates the heart and improves general circulation

Helps relieve the symptoms of stress and calms the nervous system

Instructions:
Sit upright with your knees bent towards your chest and place a pillow behind you at your sacrum. Gently start to lean back until your back is resting on the pillow. Keep your knees bent, or let your legs separate and bring both thighs to rest on the ground while keeping the soles of your feet together. Put one hand on your heart and the other on your lower abdomen. Take several deep breaths and feel your mind and body begin to relax. 

Supported Bridge

Benefits: 

Calms the brain and helps alleviate stress, anxiety and fatigue

Stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid

Improves digestion

Instructions:
Lie on your back and take your feet hips-width distance apart. Push into your feet, lift your hips and then place your bolster underneath your hips. Relax your neck, throat and face muscles and breathe deeply. Stay here for as little as a minute or up to 10 minutes if it’s comfortable. To leave the pose, lift your hips and remove the bolster from underneath you. Stay lying down for several breaths allowing the back of your body to soften into the mat. 

Seated Forward Bend

Benefits:

Lengthens the hamstrings

Stimulates the abdominal organs

Strengthens the spine

Calms the brain

Instructions:
Sit upright with your legs stretched out in front of you and place your pillow on your thighs.
Inhale and lengthen your spine, exhale and fold forward from the hips, resting your upper body and your forehead on the pillow. Keep your knees bent if you have tight hamstrings and stay for 5-10 breaths. 

Supported Child’s Pose

Benefits: 

Gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles

Relaxes your spine, shoulders, and neck

Calms the mind and helps relieve stress, fatigue and tension

Instructions:
Start in a tabletop shape on your hands and knees over a pillow. Bring your knees a little bit wider than your pillow and allow your big toes to touch. Slowly lower your hips towards your heels until your front body is resting on the pillow. Reach your arms out in front of you or keep them down by your sides. With each breath, melt further into your pillow and feel your muscles soften. 

Woman doing supported legs up pose

Legs Up the Wall

Benefits: 

Relieves tired and cramped legs and feet

Relieves headaches and lower back pain

Calms the mind

Instructions:
Place your bolster parallel to and four to six inches away from the wall. Sit with your right hip and legs along the wall and then slowly swing your legs against the wall as you lean back and ease onto your back. Adjust your hips so the bolster is comfortably underneath your sacrum. Stay anywhere from 5-10 minutes or as long as you are comfortable. When you’re ready to leave the pose, bend your knees and slide your feet down the wall. Roll onto either side and pause there, taking a few deep breaths before gently pushing up to a sitting position.

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The post De-Stress and Digest: 7 Restorative Yoga Poses to Help You Relax This Holiday Season appeared first on Wanderlust.

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