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'12 Yoga Poses of Christmas' Can Ease Your Holiday Stress—Your Kid's Too!

While the holidays are meant to bring feelings of love and cheer, they can also be a stressful time for many. Too many activities, even if they are fun ones, can be overwhelming and leave both kids and adults feeling frazzled rather than fulfilled. Taking the time to practice a few minutes of yoga every day during the holidays can go a long way to help alleviate the stress of the season.

More and more people are beginning to recognize the many health benefits of yoga for adults, but what they may not realize is that kids who practice yoga can receive the same advantages. Some of the diverse benefits include developing discipline, increasing focus and concentration, building balance and flexibility, promoting calmness, and easing stress.

Remember to pick a quiet place to do yoga, and focus on breathing in and out through the nose while practicing the postures; doing so increases lung capacity and helps prevent the fight-or-flight response that occurs from mouth breathing. Hold the poses anywhere from 8-15 seconds. Since it takes time to get into the poses, counting should begin once you are in the posture. As you get more proficient with the poses, you can slowly increase the time spent holding them.

To jumpstart your routine, try practicing the postures as a family by using the "Twelve Days of Christmas" song or with the acronyms PEACE, LOVE, and JOY. Start with the pretzel pose on the first day; on the second day, add easy pose; and gradually add all the poses to have a 12 posture yoga routine at the end of the 12 days. Let's get started:

Twelve Days of Yoga

  1. On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.
  2. On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 2 easy poses, and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.
  3. On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 3 airplane poses, 2 easy poses, and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.
  4. On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 4 cobra poses, 3 airplane poses, 2 easy poses, and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.
  5. On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 5 elephant poses, 4 cobra poses. 3 airplane poses, 2 easy poses, and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.
  6. On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 6 Jack-in-the-box poses, 5 elephant poses, 4 cobra poses, 3 airplane poses, 2 easy poses, and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.
  7. On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 7 otter poses, 6 Jack-in-the-box poses, 5 elephant poses, 4 cobra poses, 3 airplane poses, 2 easy poses, and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.
  8. On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 8 Ys for yoga, 7 otter poses, 6 Jack-in-the-box poses, 5 elephant poses, 4 cobra poses, 3 airplane poses, 2 easy poses, and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.
  9. On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 9 lion poses, 8 Ys for yoga, 7 otter poses, 6 Jack-in-the-box poses, 5 elephant poses, 4 cobra poses, 3 airplane poses, 2 easy poses, and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free
  10. On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 10 oyster poses, 9 lion poses, 8 Ys for yoga, 7 otter poses, 6 Jack-in-the-box poses, 5 elephant poses, 4 cobra poses, 3 airplane poses, 2 easy poses and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.
  11. On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 11 volcano poses, 10 oyster poses, 9 lion poses, 8 Ys for yoga, 7 otter poses, 6 Jack-in-the-box poses, 5 elephant poses, 4 cobra poses, 3 airplane poses, 2 easy poses and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.
  12. On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 12 eagle poses, 11 volcano poses, 10 oyster poses, 9 lion poses, 8 Ys for yoga, 7 otter poses, 6 Jack-in-the-box poses, 5 elephant poses, 4 cobra poses, 3 airplane poses, 2 easy poses, and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.

PEACE, LOVE and JOY acronyms

P is for Pretzel pose

E is for Easy pose

A is for Airplane pose

C is for Cobra pose

E is for Elephant pose

L is for Lion pose

O is for Oyster pose

V is for Volcano pose

E is for Eagle pose

J is for Jack-in-the-box pose

O is for Otter pose

Y is for Yoga pose

Images provided by ABC Yoga for Kids.

Teresa Anne Power is an internationally recognized expert on children's yoga and the author of the bestselling and award-winning book, "The ABCs of Yoga for Kids," which has been translated into four languages. Her newest book, "The ABCs of Yoga for Kids: A Guide for Parents and Teachers," is coming out on Kids' Yoga Day, which is on April 8, 2016. For more information, visit ABC Yoga for Kids.

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