Isn’t it typical that when you’re *most* in need of some self-love, you’re at your busiest and don’t have time for it. Sound familiar?

We’re all super-manic at the best of times, but in the lead up to the holidays, life and work can get crunched, our health can take a hit, and it’s likely we’re left feeling overwhelmed and on the brink of a burnout. Gah.

So while it feels like a real indulgence when you’re maxed out, turning to yoga can help to get some balance back. You don’t even need to commit to a whole class, you can bust out a few moves in your bedroom.

Today, Carol, a yoga instructor and founder of The Yoga Body, shares with us her five, favourite calming yoga poses to manage your stress levels.

1. Child's pose (balasana)

“This pose can be taken at any point to bring you back to your breath. It's a comforting, easy posture which involves sitting back on the heels, reaching the arms forward and - if you can - resting your forehead on the ground. I always encourage students to use this time to reconnect with their breath if they feel like they've lost it, withdraw the senses and to quieten their busy mind.”

2. Cat/Cow

“Also known as 'sad cat, happy cat'. A back bending/ chest opening posture which links breath into the movement. Inhale to open up, arch the back and look up the sky, and exhale to round the back, push away from the mat and look to the floor. This is a fabulous posture to ease back pain you may experience from menstrual cramps.”

3. Warrior 2 (virabhadrasana 2)

“A strong posture requiring straight arms, relaxed shoulders and a gaze set to the front facing arm. This is a great posture to flow in and out of when linking the breath. You could inhale to reverse the warrior and exhale to return back into the warrior. Or you could sit in the posture for five long, deep breaths, calming the mind and strengthening the legs.”

4. Downward facing dog (ado mukha svanasana)

“Not only is this a great for strengthening the upper body, engaging the core and lengthening out tight hamstrings, this posture can be held to connect with the breath and calm things down if they feel chaotic. You may choose this over balasana (child's pose) in order to get the benefits of the posture whilst working with the breath.”

5. Easy cross with Jnana mudra (a grounding gesture)

“Coming to a comfortable seated position, taking the thumb and first finger together on both hands and facing them down with the arms resting on the knees. This creates a grounding, stabilising gesture. By closing the eyes and connecting with the breath from here, you're able to withdraw the senses, breathe away unwanted sounds and thoughts and quieten down an anxious or busy mind.”

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