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Whether you’re rocking around the Christmas tree, dancing The Horah around the menorah, or just feeling the stress of the holiday season, this holiday yoga sequence is the perfect addition to your holiday class schedule!

‘Tis the Season to Find Calm

Winter is naturally a time for rest, reflection, and finding moments of calm.

The colder weather and shorter days make it an optimum time to stay home & enjoy the warmth of a fire, good for the soul soups, and time with loved ones.

In areas where it snows, the snow creates natural sound proofing which just adds to the sense of quiet stillness during this season.

Understanding Holiday Stress

While the weather outside may be urging you to stay indoors and hibernate, the holidays can add a layer of stress with shopping for gifts, attending holiday parties, and navigating family dynamics.

For those in relationships, it may also mean negotiating time with both families. With full calendars, lengthy to-do lists, and oftentimes work projects that need to be completed before the end of the year—prioritizing your practice can be challenging, but SO necessary for mental health.

As yoga teachers, keep the energy and duality of this season in mind while planning your classes. Your students both need to practice, but also need a little extra love and care in the yoga shala (read: longer savasana!).

This holiday yoga sequence is created for a 60-75 minute class but can be shortened or added to for longer flows.

I’ve included a longer warm down section so you have plenty of time to give students who opt in for hands on assists a little TLC in their finishing poses.

Holiday Yoga Stress-Reducing Sequence 

Intent Setting

Sukhasana

Start your students off with time to breathe, connect to their bodies, and reflect on how their bodies are feeling. Set an intent for the practice, or allow students to choose their own intent.

Examples of intents to offer:

  • Find moments of stillness.
  • Fill your body with the sacred calm of winter.
  • Spread holiday cheer to your body, mind, and spirit.

Nadi Shodhana

Do at least seven rounds of Nadi Shodhana pranayama.

Warm Up/ Opening Integration:

This section is perfect to begin weaving in your intent and warming up your students for their practice.

Baddha Konasana with Side Bends

  • Spend roughly 5 breaths on each side

Paschimottanasana

  • Move slowly into the pose & stay for ~5 breaths.

Abdominal Exercises

  • I always begin with core work to prepare the body for standing poses. This helps student’s connect to their core & build a foundation of strength & integrity.
    • Pelvic Tilts:
      • Begin supine with knees bent and feet resting on the mat.
      • Inhale into the lower back with a neutral spine.
      • Exhale, press the low back down & hug belly to spine.
      • Inhale, untuck the pelvis & return to a neutral spine.
      • Repeat 3-5 times
    • Abs with a Block
      • Set up:
        • Begin lying supine with knees bent & feet on the mat.
        • Place a block between thighs at the pubic bone.
        • Raise knees up over hips either with legs extended towards the ceiling, or for sensitive low back or hamstrings, bend knees.
        • Clasp hands around the base of the skull.
        • Inhale into the belly.
        • Pause breath. Press low back down.
        • Exhale, lift head & shoulders up, hug roll between thighs, & pull low belly down. Relax head into hands & lift shoulder blades off the mat.
        • Inhale set head & shoulders down.Repeat from “Pause breath” 3 - 5 times.
        • End on an inhale breath & instruct students to remove the block & place it to the side.

Bridge

  • Talk students into Bridge Pose & hold for ~5 breaths.

Cat/Cow

  • Warm up the spine moving through 3 - 5 rounds of Cat/Cow.

Reindeer Pose

  • AKA Tiger Pose. Extend left leg back & lift leg to height of hip. Reach your right arm forward. Then, reach the right hand back & catch onto the left ankle. Kick ankle into hand & lift chest into a backbend. Stay for a few breaths. Then, repeat on the other side.

Downward Facing Dog

  • Allow students to move in any way that feels good or interesting for a few breaths & then settle into stillness for an additional breath or two.

Uttanasana/ Forward Fold

  • Walk to the top of the mat. Encourage students to keep their knees bent if it feels better in this first forward fold.

Tadasana Namaskar

  • Rise to standing & place hands together at the heart in namaskar. Take a moment to remind students of the intent.

Sun Salutations

Sun Salutation A with Candy Cane Pose

  • Begin in Tadasana Namaskar
  • Urdhva Hastasana
    • Inhale reach arms up
  • Candy Cane Pose
    • Clasp hands together in Kali Mudra
    • Exhale, press hips to the left & reach upper body to the right. Visualize body in a candy cane shape!
    • Inhale reach up through center (start position)
    • Exhale, press hips to the right & reach upper body to the left
    • Inhale reach up through center (start position)
    • Uttanasana
      • Exhale, forward fold
    • Ardha Uttanasana
      • Inhale, come up to a flat back. Either place hands on shins, or extend spine with hands on mat.
    • Chaturanga
      • Exhale, step back to plank. Lower halfway down into Chaturanga.
    • Updog
      • Inhale, roll over the toes or flip the feet, lift chest, & roll heads of the shoulders back.
    • Downdog
      • Exhale, lift hips up and back. Stay for 1-5 breaths.
    • Ardha Uttanasana
      • On no breath, walk to the top of the mat. Inhale, extend spine.
    • Uttanasana
      • Exhale, fold forward.
    • Urdhva Hastasana
      • Inhale rise to standing & reach arms up.
    • Tadasana Namaskar
      • Exhale, place hands together at the heart.


    Move through three rounds of Sun Salutation A with Candy Cane Pose.

    Encourage students to modify with knees down in Chaturanga & with Cobra instead of Upward Facing Dog for the first round & beyond if they’d like.

    Sun Salutation B

    • Begin in Tadasana Namaskar
    • Chair Pose (Santa’s Lap)
      • Inhale reach arms up & sit hips back as if sitting into a chair.
    • Uttanasana
      • Exhale, forward fold
    • Ardha Uttanasana
      • Inhale, come up to a flat back. Either place hands on shins, or extend spine with hands on mat.
    • Chaturanga
      • Exhale, step back to plank. Lower halfway down into Chaturanga.
    • Updog
      • Inhale, roll over the toes or flip the feet, lift chest, & roll heads of the shoulders back.
    • Downdog
      • Exhale, lift hips up and back.
    • Warrior 1
      • Inhale, step right foot between hands. Ground left heel down. Reach arms up.
    • Chaturanga
      • Exhale, place hands down & step back to plank. Lower halfway down into Chaturanga.
    • Updog
      • Inhale, roll over the toes or flip the feet, lift chest, & roll heads of the shoulders back.
    • Downdog
      • Exhale, lift hips up and back.
    • Warrior 1
      • Inhale, step left foot between hands. Ground right heel down. Reach arms up.
    • Chaturanga
      • Exhale, place hands down & step back to plank. Lower halfway down into Chaturanga.
    • Updog
      • Inhale, roll over the toes or flip the feet, lift chest, & roll heads of the shoulders back.
    • Downdog
      • Exhale, lift hips up and back. Stay for 1-5 breaths.
    • Ardha Uttanasana
      • On no breath, walk to the top of the mat. Inhale, extend spine.
    • Uttanasana
      • Exhale, fold forward.
    • Urdhva Hastasana
      • Inhale rise to standing & reach arms up.
    • Tadasana Namaskar
      • Exhale, place hands together at the heart.

    Move through 2 - 3 rounds of Sun Salutation B to begin building heat.

    Vignettes

    ** Note: I keep students in each standing pose(ex: Warrior 2, Triangle, etc) for five breaths.**

    Half Sun B ending in Downdog

    ● Begin in Tadasana Namaskar

    ● Chair Pose

    ● Uttanasana

    ● Ardha Uttanasana

    ● Chaturanga

    ● Updog

    ● Downdog

    Vignette 1:

    Right leg forward:

    • Warrior 2
    • Triangle Pose
    • Snowflake Pose (Half Moon)
      • Step back to Plank
    • Chaturanga
    • Updog
    • Downdog
      • Repeat other side (end in Downdog)

    Vignette 2:

    • Warrior 1
    • Pyramid
    • North Star Pose (Warrior 3)
      • Step back to Plank
      • Chaturanga
      • Updog
      • Downdog
    • Repeat other side (end in Downdog)

    Vignette 3:

    • Crescent Lunge
    • Christmas Tree (Tree Pose)
    • Gift Wrapped Yogi (Eagle Pose)
      • Unwind arms. Step back left foot back to Crescent Lunge. Place hands down & step back to Plank.
      • Chaturanga
      • Updog
      • Downdog
    • Repeat other side, ending in “Gift Wrapped Yogi”
      • Unwind arms. Step back right foot back to Crescent Lunge. Place hands down & step back to Plank.
      • Set knees down.
  • Catching Snowflakes (Lion’s Breath)
  • Camel
    • Set hands down in Tabletop, then return to Downdog.
    • Step to the top of the mat & prepare for peak poses.
  • Peak

    Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy: Natarajasana / Dancer’s Pose

    ** For more advanced students:

    Option to lower with control to Ardha Chandra Chapasana then lift back up with control into Dancer’s Pose. **


    Warm Down

    This section can be practiced with or without yoga bolsters. Bolsters are an amazing addition to a Restorative practice, but if you don’t have bolsters available, use blocks or stacked blankets instead.

    Let your students stay in each pose for several deep breaths (7-10), or a 3-5 minutes if time allows.

    Snowball (Child’s Pose)

    Supported Fish Pose

    Bananasana

    Supine Twist

    Supta Baddha Konasana

    Bananasana

    Savasana (Snow Angel Pose, or Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer Pose!)

    Plan to give your students a minimum of six minutes in Savasana. One minute for every ten minutes of practice is standard - but if you have the time, let your students stay longer & enjoy the quiet & stillness.

    Adriana Lee
    Adriana Lee
    Adriana's yoga journey began at a young age and continues to inspire her every day by healing mind, body and spirit through the breath. She received her 200 Hour RYT through Frog Lotus Yoga's center, Suryalila, in Adalusia, Spain. She also trained an additional 50 hours with Heba Saab at Body Heat Hot Yoga in Las Vegas, NV. She continued training with Heba by assisting and acting as a mentor to her 200 Hour trainees. She trained with Cameron Shayne in Miami and received a 50 Hour certification in the Budokon Yoga system. She is also a certified Pilates instructor and a Reiki Level 2 practitioner. Her yoga practice has brought sweetness and authenticity into her life and her intention is to share that sweetness and help her students strive to be their own authentic selves.