Ease the stress of last-minute shopping with yoga

Discreet, effective poses you can do in the store

Author: Jodi Mohrmann, Managing editor of special projects, jmohrmann@wjxt.com
Published On: Dec 19 2013 08:46:02 AM EST   Updated On: Dec 20 2013 06:45:00 AM EST

It's the last weekend before Christmas and battling the shopping crowds can be stressful.  But there's something you can do in the middle of a crowded store to relieve some stress, that's discreet but effective.

Judi Bar is a yoga therapist at Cleveland Clinic.  She says if you start stressing out in the middle of all the holiday hustle and bustle, try standing on one foot.

“The idea is to take your mind off of 12 things going on at once, settle you in for a moment, and balance on one foot. You can hold onto something, or not, and just focus and take a breath,” explained Bar.

She says the idea is to disengage the "fight or flight" feeling you may be experiencing because you must focus to balance.  You only have to lift your foot a few centimeters off the floor to feel the effect.

Bar says the subtle movement is enough to get your mind off of the long lines and disgruntled shoppers around you and get you to focus on something else, which should help to calm you. 

She says another thing you can try while standing in line, clenching your fists, tightening your muscles, and then relaxing.

"Tightening reminds us that we're tense, but the feeling of going 'hah' in itself is relaxing," said Bar.

Bar says to practice these techniques before you head out to the stores, so you're prepared to use them.  She says something as simple as bending over and touching your toes can help promote blood flow to the brain and provide a calming effect.