WATCH: How Holiday Yoga Can Help You Survive Stress
Health and Wellness Lifestyle

[WATCH] How Yoga Can Reduce Holiday Strife

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Whether you’re trying to figure out how to get a ton of work complete before the office closes for the holidays or juggling a project deadline and plans for a big family dinner, the holiday season can be a stressful time for everyone.

But most experts would agree: setting aside even a small amount of time for yourself is a great way to help you survive holiday stress.

[Related: Yoga For People of Color Empowers a Community] caught up with Calia Marshall, a Yoga instructor, dancer, educator and founder of Brown Sugar: Yoga for Folks of Color, to learn a few quick ways to reduce stress and anxiety. How can people who think of yoga as intimidating or unapproachable ease themselves into yoga?

Marshall: There are so many different styles of yoga, and within each style every teacher is going to teach a completely different class. With that in mind, know that there is a style and a teacher out there that you will connect with. I encourage everyone who is new to yoga to try many different styles, teachers, and locations to find the best fit. If you can afford it, a private session can be a great way to start, as you can get one-on-one attention. If not, many studios offer beginners’ series where they really break down the basics and leave space for questions. If time is an issue, there are many online resources where you can access free and affordable sessions from 10-90 minutes.

How does yoga add to overall wellness, especially for today’s professionals?

All of us are stressed out, whether it be from running a company, doing manual labor, being a parent, being a target of racism, or simply from living in a big city. This stress lives in our bodies and manifests as physical tension, emotional distress, mental imbalance, and disease. The combination of yoga postures, breath work, and intention in our practice can support us in moving from a place of [being overwhelmed] and exhaustion, to a place of presence and calm. But it’s not a magic pill- it takes showing up for yourself and being consistent in your commitment to your own happiness and healing. Yoga has changed my life. It has helped me to know myself better and to live from a place of love; both for myself and for all of humanity.

[Watch: This 14-minute calming yoga sequence to reduce stress and anxiety. It can be practiced on the floor or in a chair below.]