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The holidays are coming and with them come the stresses of crowded shopping environments, family/friend events planning, meal preparation and having to navigate super tight schedules. What if you could relieve some stress and loosen up your body at the same time?

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According to yoga instructor Dana Santas, “Yoga has been used for centuries to lower the body’s cortisol (stress hormone) levels. When you incorporate relaxing poses with positive phrases, you get a simple routine that relaxes your mind and body in as little as two minutes!”

HOW TO START
Breathe in deeply. Exhale for a little longer than you inhale to empty your lungs, imagining that each exhale is a sign of relief. Repeat five times.

LET GO OF WORRIES
Santas says, “This pose is a very basic routine in yoga. It opens up your shoulders and chest so that you can breathe more deeply.” Slow, steady breaths are proven to lower your blood pressure, helping you quiet your mind and feel calmer.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms at your sides. Slightly rotate your shoulders open so that your palms face forward. Breathe deeply for two minutes while silently repeating, “I have the clarity and calm to make today great.”

REDUCING ANXIETY
Keep your confidence from being sapped by anxiety. A Harvard study found that standing in this open body posture for just two minutes boosts levels of confidence hormone testosterone, while decreasing levels of cortisol.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms raised above your head in a “Y” position. Breathe deeply for two minutes while silently repeating, “My confidence shows in all that I do.”

FEEL CALM AND RELAXED
“Lying on your back with your legs raised promotes blood flow to your heart and brain while taking stress off overtaxed muscles,” states Santas.

Lie on your back with your bottom touching a wall. Raise your legs so that they are leaning against the wall. If flexibility is a challenge, prop your legs up on a chair instead, with your knees bent and your calves resting on the seat of the chair. Inhale deeply as you silently repeat, “I feel calm. I let tension go.” Then exhale slowly. Repeat for two minutes.

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