By Tvisha Patel, Pretzel Kids content writer
It’s almost our favorite time of the year: the holidays! We’re totally here for the spirit.
The lights are going up, gifts are being wrapped and families are hosting gatherings. However, the holiday season can be stressful, and you may be looking for ways to relax with the kids.
Whether you’re a school teacher, a parent or anyone who’s looking for a bit more zen, incorporating yoga and yoga games into your holiday season is a fun way to do it!
There are several reasons why yoga is a great choice. For one thing, yoga poses can help alleviate anxiety. Kids will enjoy getting into different poses while learning something new that makes them feel good. You can do yoga with kids or do your own solo practice!
Regardless of how you choose to do yoga, we’ve got you covered this holiday season with 6 holiday themed yoga poses and activities for kids. Read on to learn more!
Top 6 Holiday Yoga Poses to Try
1. Christmas Tree Pose
The holiday season reminds us of the bright sparkling Christmas trees that we see all around us. So, let’s incorporate that into a calming yoga pose that will improve focus and balance.
Start by standing straight. Then stand on one leg as you bring the other leg up to your inner thigh or below your knee. Place the sole of the foot on your inner thigh or below the knee. If you want, you can raise your arms above your head and toward the sky. As you hold this pose, focus on balance and take deep breaths to forget about all your holiday stress. Imagine yourself as a bright, beautiful Christmas tree. After a few breaths, switch legs and balance on the other side as well!
2. Snow Angel Pose
The sight of white snow, and kids creating snow angels in the sparkly white snow is a core holiday memory for many of us. But, did you know you can add this angel pose into a yoga routine?
Here’s how. Start by lying down on your mat and and spread your arms and legs as if you were making a snow angel. However while you do this, do deep breathing exercises and focus on being mindful of your present state. Feel your body relax, forget all your worries, and when you’re ready you can open your eyes to go onto the next pose.
And, guess what? If you and the kids are feeling up to it, you can put on your winter outerwear and do this pose outside in the fresh snow!
3. Rudolph Pose
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is confident and optimistic. That’s certainly something to strive for this holiday season! So, let’s engage in a pose that will help us become more positive and focused.
Let’s do Warrior 1 pose (which we’ll call Rudolph pose!) We’ll begin by standing and taking a large step forward with your right foot. Keep your right foot and toes pointed to the top of your mat. Your back left foot will remain flat on your mat with those left toes angles a bit to the left. Then, bend your right knee while keeping your left leg straight. Slowly raise your arms straight above your head.
Take a few deep breaths and then switch legs. While doing this pose, think about your balance and look ahead, Be optimistic like Rudolph!
4. Menorah Pose
Happy Hanukkah! To help celebrate this seasonal holiday marked by a festival of lights, we’ll learn to practice menorah pose.
A menorah is a candelabrum lit during the eight-day Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. The candles symbolize the eight nights of the holiday. On each night, one more light is lit than the night before. On the final night, all eight candles are lit. There is one ninth candle, called the shamash and this is used to light the other candles.
Menorah pose involves a wall, so find a place near a wall and get ready. Lie on your back and raise your legs towards the sky. After your legs are up, flex your feet and spread your arms to the sides while keeping your neck neutral. We’ll pretend to be a menorah and you can either separate your legs out to the sides. This pose can help calm the mind and alleviate tension.
5. Dreidel Pose
Dreidel is a game that is often played during Hanukkah. It uses a spinning top, called a dreidel.
To practice dreidel pose, we’ll sit in Pretzel pose or lotus pose. Sit cross-legged with a tall back and place your palms in your lap. Close your eyes and take deep breaths. Focus on deep belly breathing and imagine playing a spinning dreidel game at your Hanukkah festivities!
6. Zawadi Pose
Zawadi is known as gifts, which are opened on the seventh day of Kwanzaa. They are given to encourage growth and success. They also promote creativity and determination.
To remember this creativity and positivity, let’s do a calming child’s pose. To start this, sit on your heels and lower your chest and forehead to the mat. Keep your arms along your body or in front of you, and breathe in and out deeply. While you’re in this pose, relax and think about all the gifts and positivity that comes along with this festive time of year.
3 Stress Relieving Holiday Yoga Activities for Kids
Time for a Holiday Coloring Session!
As the holidays start to feel stressful, it’s important to help kids keep their mind on something fun.
Coloring is a great way to do this! We can re-introduce coloring books to our own kids or children we love. Using different colors can create a calming effect, and the activity of coloring helps calm the mind and allows the body to relax. You can start by going online and printing out a few pictures of a Christmas tree, a menorah, or snowflakes. Gather some Crayons or colored markers and get started! For an easy color-by-number activity, you can even grab the Pretzel Kids Hanukkah color by number book!
Go Outside to Relieve Stress
It’s important to spend some time outdoors whether you go on a walk, grab a cup of hot chocolate on your deck, go to a winter market, or go skating! Being in a different environment can help you recharge and boost your mood. Plus, nature can help you calm down, both physically and mentally. Need more motivation? Researchers have found that being in nature can make you happier, and relieve anxiety.
Play Yoga Games for Kids
Kids love to play games and it would be great if a few of them could get together this holiday season and enjoy yoga games for kids that are good for their body and mind!
Let’s play a twist on the classic ‘Simon Says’ game, but make it Santa Says: Yoga edition! The instructor or parent would be Santa and instruct the kids to do different poses. For example: ‘Santa says’ do child’s pose,’ or ‘Santa says’ do five deep breaths in and out. This will keep the kids active and you can continue the game by calling out different yoga poses! Give it a try and while you’re at it, check out all these fun yoga games for kids!
Relieve Your Stress with Holiday Themed Yoga Poses and Activities for Kids
We understand that the holidays are stressful – in many ways! But you and your kids can practice yoga poses and activities that will help you spend time together and keep you calm.
Just give these 6 yoga poses and activities a try to brighten up your holidays and help relieve your stress!
Tvisha Patel is a blog writer at Pretzel Kids. She loves doing yoga in her downtime and is currently a business student at Schulich School of Business – York University, in Ontario, Canada. Tvisha also enjoys exploring nature, music and photography!