I have holiday anxiety this time of year.  Looking at the calendar and thinking about the things that must be done to prepare for the holidays forces a sigh.  On the other hand, I also want to experience the festive happenings along with the sights and sounds of the season.   It is tough to reconcile the two.  This can get super stressful because it is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year.” Again I turned to Megan Hively, yoga and fitness girl wonder, for moves to stay centered.  Megan is going to do periodic fitness segments for our blog to keep Effortless and Exquisite readers on the path to health and wellness.  She agreed to do a segment to smooth over the holiday hurries and Santa stress….Welcome Megan!
                                          


First thing is first – find a place where you can be alone and undisturbed.  This could be in your bedroom with your door shut, in your office, or even in the bathroom (honestly, one of my favorite “me” places!).  Sit comfortably either with legs crossed on the floor, on a chair with your feet on the ground, or even on the side of bathtub (been there!).  Hands will be on the knees, with palms up to begin. 
Begin by sitting quietly and with your eyes closed for a few moments.  Take this time to scan the body for any tension.  Focus on breathing in space and length in the body and breathing out tension. 
                                       

Either keeping the eyes closed or opening them gently, open and close your mouth a few times to release any tension in the jaw.  You may not have even realized you were clenching your teeth! 
                                        
Next, inhale your shoulders up to your ears.  Exhale and press them down to create more length in the neck.  Repeat this a 5 times.
                                          
Placing palms of the hands on the knees now and inhale the chest forward, arching the back (like a seated “cow” pose in yoga).  Exhale and round shoulders, upper body and head forward (“cat” pose).  Continuing with the breath for 5 rounds.
                                          

Next, place your hands on the floor or on the chair behind your glutes.  Your fingers will face your body.  Gently lift the area at the center of the chest towards the ceiling.  Keep the chin tucked to protect the neck and feel the chest and shoulders opening.  Hold here for 20 seconds.
                                          
Coming back to center, we will continue with twists.  Placing the left hand on the right knee, right hand is on the floor behind your glutes, and turn over the right shoulder.  Making sure to keep the back as straight as possible.  You can use that right arm to press into the ground or chair to straighten the back even more on the inhale.  Exhale, twist deeper.  Hold this for 20 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
                                          
                                           
Finish with side stretches.  Placing the right hand on the ground, inhale the left arm up and lean over to the right.  Feel the stretch in the left side body.  Hold here for 20 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
                                          
                                          
Practice this short yoga sequence anytime during this holiday season you start to feel the tension building.  Let this go and be open to all the wonder, love, and magic that the holidays can bring!
Megan
Megan Hively is a Certified Yoga Instructor, group fitness instructor and Certified Personal Trainer in the Charlotte, North Carolina area.  She is the Fitness Director at KadiFit Studio in Cornelius, North Carolina and the owner of Yoga To You Wellness, LLC. 
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