Holidays can be stressful, but they don’t have to get you down. Whether you find being around an influx of family, friends and coworkers overwhelming or are working insane hours in retail, sometimes, you just need to get away for a bit and unwind. Yoga is the perfect activity to do when you’re sad, stressed or even angry. Check out some of these yoga videos that will lift your spirits, clear your mind and let you release tension.
Did you just start singing that song from Frozen? (I bet you will now. You’re welcome.) While that song can be the mother of all earworms, it admittedly gives some great advice. All that frustration and tension? Let. It. Go. Yoga superstar Tara Stiles recently released a full, 30-minute “Let It Go Yoga” video for CosmoBody designed to release stress and help you hang loose. Stiles prompts you to move around within the pose to find what works best for your body. You’ll find a lot of chest and hip openers here. I loved how she brings the viewer into Pigeon Pose, really encouraging a deeper, more fulfilling stretch. Stiles is very gentle, but she moves quickly; sometimes, I wished she would have stayed in certain poses a little longer. Stiles often advises the viewer to continue to the next pose “when you’re ready,” but it may be hard for some to follow along. This is definitely a flow for those who have a firm grasp on yoga fundamentals. I resorted to pausing the video when I wanted to stay in a pose a little bit longer, which was a tad distracting but overall not a big deal. I would just recommend doing this one when you have a nice chunk of alone-time to really allow yourself to sink into the poses, find your breath and enjoy the full benefits of this lovely group of stretches. This would be great after a tough day of work or an overwhelming day surrounded by people. I felt limber and refreshed after doing this routine.
If you have less time and just need to dispel some negative energy or catch your breath, you’ll love “Yoga for When You’re Angry,” an 18-minute total relaxation video brought to you by yogi Adriene Mishler, founder of Yoga with Adriene. The most strenuous move you’ll do is a single Downward Dog, so this is a good option for those with a little less experience. Essentially, this video is about resting and finding your breath, using it to connect to your body. It was wildly effective at making me feel calm. Mishler throws in a short bit of laughter into the mix as well, which may make you feel silly, but this simple act really did get me laughing and raised my spirits. Looking for a more active practice? Try Mishler’s longer yoga routine for getting rid of grumpiness: “Yoga for When You’re in a Bad Mood.” This half-hour flow is challenging but gentle, as Mishler allows you to assess what is happening in the body and, like Stiles, find movement in the poses. She incorporates asanas that will make you smile, such as Lion’s Pose and Happy Baby, as well as Tree Pose for balance and focus. The plank transitions here will test your core strength, too. Mishler ends the video by giving you the opportunity to decide what you need to release tension and feel better followed by a snuggly Savasana. Mishler’s demeanor is friendly and chill throughout both videos; you’ll feel like you’re practicing with a pal.
When you’re bogged down by stress and anxiety, it’s hard to love yourself, but Tone It Up’s “Love Your Body with Yoga” video is a fabulous reminder to do just that, in no small part due to the rose-petal-strewn room where the video was shot. This warming routine, led by Tone It Up’s Karena Dawn, clocks in at around 17 minutes, with familiar moves such as Cat-Cow Pose and a Warrior-Triangle sequence. This is another video where you may have to press pause to keep up, but don’t be afraid to go at your own pace. There’s not much instruction here and tricky moves such as Half-Moon, so this is a good workout for those who already have a solid yoga foundation. True to its name, there’s more of a toning element to this video than the others, so it’s also great if you’re looking to squeeze a more intense workout into your busy schedule.
Talk to your doctor to see if yoga is right for you. Take the time to treat yourself, connect with your breath and have a happy, healthy holiday season.