These 6 Yoga Poses Are the Perfect Way to Release Holiday Stress

While the holidays are a time to celebrate, eat delicious food, and spend time with those you love, they can also bring in a little bit of holiday stress. Luckily, yoga for holiday stress can help even during this erratic time of year.

During this time, many people are traveling, getting out of their routine, catching up with people they haven’t seen in a year, or taking on way too much in the kitchen.

One year, I decided it would be totally doable to bake and assemble six gingerbread houses in a single afternoon. When guests arrived to decorate that evening, I still had gingerbread house pieces cooling on trays in the snow outside!

Luckily, yoga for stress can help even during this crazy time of year.

I felt tense and frantic the whole afternoon.

So to get the most out of this holiday season and avoid overwhelm and the dreaded holiday stress, it’s important to make joy and self-care a priority. Enter: yoga for stress relief.

Read on for six yoga poses that will help you be fully present for those special moments with your friends and family, instead of feeling stressed the whole time.

Have big travel plans this year? Practice These 4 Yoga Poses On Your Next Road Trip

Practice Yoga For Holiday Stress! Here Are 6 Yoga Poses You Can Do to Relax During the Festive Season:

These are a few simple yoga for stress relief postures you can do to relax during this stressful time of year.

Close your bedroom door, sit on on your mat, and take some time for yourself to breathe and be grateful this holiday season.

1. Cat and Cow Poses (Marjaryasana and Bitilasana)

Alternating between Cat and Cow Poses is such an easy and effective way to get some energy flowing in the body. These two poses are perfect for warming up the body, stretching through the back, and bringing flexibility to the spine. Link all your movements with deep, slow breaths.



How to do it:

  • Begin on your hands and knees in a table-top position on your mat
  • Align your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders
  • Keep your neck neutral and your gaze downward
  • Starting with Cow Pose, inhale as you lower your belly toward the floor and lift your head until your gaze is forward
  • Exhale and lift your belly upward as you spread your shoulder blades apart and lower your chin down for Cat Pose
  • Inhale back into Cow Pose and then exhale into Cat Pose, always flowing with your breath
  • Repeat each pose five to ten times



2. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Child’s Pose is a well-known and loved pose for relaxation! It’s a great pose to jump into when you’re feeling overwhelmed by holiday stress with all the demands on your time and energy.

All you have to do is take a seat, put your head down, tune out the external chatter, and bring your focus inward. Simply bring attention to the rhythm of your breath. This pose will help calm your mind and relieve tension in your back and neck.


How to do it:

  • Come to your knees on your mat
  • Bring your big toes together and sit back on your heels
  • Separate your knees to the width of your hips or the edges of your mat – whichever feels better for you
  • Exhale as you bend your torso down toward the mat and bring your arms straight in front of you with your hands facing down on the mat
  • Hold for at least five breaths


3. Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana)

This pose feels amazing on the upper back and shoulders. Sometimes you just need to get a fresh perspective on things, and this pose is sure to help you do that!

Rabbit Pose will also help to maintain flexibility and mobility through your spine. I recommend you warm up with at least Cat and Cow Poses (see above) before doing this pose.


How to do it:

  • Begin in a tabletop position with your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders
  • Walk your hands back until your fingertips are underneath your shoulder blades, creating a smaller tabletop shape
  • Draw your lower belly in and up as your upper back naturally beings to round
  • Press your hands into the mat to spread your shoulder blades and lift your chest
  • Keep the rounding through your upper back as you begin to walk your hands back toward your heels and bring the crown of your head down to the mat by tucking your chin in toward your chest
  • Bring your head as close to your knees as you can
  • You can keep your hands by your heels with your palms facing up, or hold onto your heels
  • Keep lifting through your hips and rounding your upper back
  • Hold for five breaths and then slowly come up on an inhale and rest on your heels


4. Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)

A simple Seated Forward Fold is a great yoga for holiday stress relief pose. This pose calms your mind and stretches the entire back side of your body from your feet to your neck.

With every exhale, you can relax more and more as your hamstrings loosen up. Every time your mind wanders, try to bring it back to the sound and sensation of your breath to work optimally as yoga for stress relief.


How to do it:

  • Start seated on your mat with your legs straight in front of you
  • Engage the soles of your feet and create a slight inner rotation through your legs
  • Inhale as you draw in your abdomen to protect your spine
  • Exhale and lengthen your spine and then fold forward to grab your big toes or rest your hands by the sides of your legs
  • Keep pulling your abdomen in and fold a little bit deeper with each exhale
  • Hold for five breaths and then inhale as you sit back up


5. Reclined Twist Pose (Jathara Parivartanasana)

Sometimes you need a gentle twist to both squeeze and stretch the torso. If I’m feeling sluggish from all of the delicious holiday meals and chocolate shaped snowmen floating around the house, then this twist is my go-to pose! It’s the perfect yoga for holiday stress relief pose.


How to do it:

  • Lay on your back and hug your knees into your chest
  • Straighten your arms out to the sides in-line with your shoulders with your palms facing up
  • Exhale as you lower your knees to the left and upward slightly toward your left elbow
  • Keep your gaze straight up and your right arm and shoulder blade on the ground to counter the twist
  • After five breaths, inhale the knees back up to the chest and then exhale to the right side



6. Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

This is one of my favorite poses to practice when I’m feeling stressed! It releases tension in the hips and really allows you to get connected to the rhythm of your breath, as your hands rise and fall with each inhale and exhale.

This pose can even be done right in bed as you’re waking up for the day, or trying to unwind and regroup after that awesome holiday party. It is the ultimate yoga for holiday stress relief posture!


How to do it:

  • Lay on your back
  • Bend your knees and bring the bottoms of your feet together. You can place pillows or blocks underneath each knee for some additional support
  • Place one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly to connect to the rhythm of your breath
  • Lay here for anywhere from five breaths to five minutes and then slowly inhale to sit up


The Takeaway on Holiday Stress: Yoga for Stress Relief Can Be Your Saving Grace

I hope these simple yoga poses help you de-stress during this holiday season.

Taking a moment for yourself to move your body, be present, and practice gratitude will go such a long way to making this time of year fun and exciting for you and your loved ones!

May you have a joyous season full of deep breaths and big hugs.

And chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

Need more help shedding the stress? Here are 10 Simple Ways to De-Stress and Simplify Your Life Right Now

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Amanda Christian

Amanda is a registered yoga teacher with a passion for wandering in the forest, teaching outdoor yoga, and drawing mandalas. She lives for campfire conversations and dark starry skies. Over on her website, she has free yoga classes, hiking guides and tips for getting creative! Follow her adventures on Instagram and YouTube @amandaoutside.

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