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Relaxation Techniques for Anxiety and Stress this Holiday Season

yoga tree pose

Yoga Relaxation Breathing Techniques Improve Overall Health


As 2010 winds to an end I think just about everyone can use some relaxation techniques for stress. I absolutely love the holidays, but they also totally stress me out. I’ll be honest; staying calm and relaxed isn’t something I’m known for being all that great at. I’m a classic type A personality and the “to do” list I feel compelled to create for myself on an ongoing daily basis is always totally impossible to complete with only 24 hours in a day. When holiday season hits I start making list after list after list of all the things I’m going to do and then I get completely stressed when I can’t manage to get it all done.

I realize a lot of my stress is self-inflicted, but I’m also prone to anxiety. For example, back in 2005 when my husband and I were on book tour for our Gold Coast Cure I had a complete anxiety attack on CNN (my heart was pounding out of my chest, I was out of breath and sweat beads started dripping down my arms). It’s a long story, but luckily the CNN interview started with Andy and so the camera focused on him while I was able to catch my breath and somehow calm down for a full 2 minutes before I had to start talking, answering questions and sounding half-way intelligent. Anyone who has ever had an anxiety attack knows how scary they can be…and anyone who has had one on live national television can surely empathize with me! If I had known some relaxation techniques for stress (such as relaxation breathing techniques) back in 2005 I am certain my CNN interview would have been much better.

After the 2005 CNN attack I started carrying a beta-blocker to take before anything stressful (a beta-blocker slows your heart rate and prevents the heart-pounding, chest thumping anxiety attack symptoms.) I absolutely hated depending on the beta-blocker and luckily I no longer need to carry it for TV or speaking engagements but that’s only because after 5 years and lots of practice I don’t get as nervous as I used to.

However, to this day I still get extremely stressed and anxious in my day to day life. If I get stuck on 1-95 in traffic and think I’ll be late to pick my son up from school I start to get panicky. If on a whim I invite a bunch of friends to dinner and then realize I’ve completely overscheduled myself I can feel my blood pressure rising as I race around the kitchen in circles trying to figure out what to make. It’s not like my stress is life or death, it’s just that my personality generates stress and stress just has a snowball effect. Because stress is such an issue for me and because I know how detrimental it is for my health I’ve been looking into alternative relaxation techniques for stress.

NATURAL Relaxation Techniques for Stress…

Everybody needs a guru of some sort to help them deal with certain issues. My latest guru (and friend!) is a yoga instructor named Niki G. (who happens to be my chiropractor, Jonn Mclellan’s girlfriend.) Niki G. is tons of fun and she has boundless energy but she’s also incredibly calm, focused and centered, three things I strive to be and three things I am trying to get her to teach me!

While I’ve been big into doing yoga now (at my house) for about 6 months Niki G. is the one who really made me aware of the importance of integrating breath work into your yoga routine. I thought just going through the motions and doing a nice-looking downward dog was good enough. Apparently though, the breathing component is fundamental to yoga, so if you aren’t breathing properly, you aren’t really doing yoga. So much for the last 6 months…

Yoga Relaxation Breathing Techniques

In part 1 of the video above Niki talks about how yoga and proper breathing can benefit a wide number of conditions and health problems ranging from high blood pressure to diseases of the central nervous system (for example, yoga for multiple sclerosis patients is becoming increasingly recommended by the mainstream medical profession.) In the video we also talk a bit about yoga for weight loss and how yoga can improve your lean muscle mass (which boosts your body’s ability to burn fat.) Niki even shares her story of how she became interested in yoga relaxation breathing techniques and how this has helped her regain her own health.

BONUS! Try Stress-Busting Yoga Tree Pose

I’ve been learning that for nearly every challenging moment in life there’s a yoga pose to help you feel better. If you’re feeling stressed this holiday season, try rolling out your magic sticky mat and give “Tree Pose” a try.

Balance postures like “Tree Pose” require your complete concentration and focus and that takes your mind off whatever it is that’s got you feeling frazzled and stressed. Tree pose is yoga you can do anywhere, anytime. Try it!

How to do “Tree Pose”:

yoga tree poseStand with right foot on the inside of left calf or inner thigh, knee pointing out to the side. Place hands in prayer position in front of chest, palms together, and hold for 3 breaths. Slowly raise your arms overhead and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s instructional video on pranayama breathing. Niki will teach you step by step how to chill out, something most of us can benefit from this time of year 😉

For more information on yoga and Niki G. or to contact her visit or email Niki at



Ivy Larson

In 2010, Clean Cuisine was launched because Ivy Larson wanted to share her anti-inflammatory lifestyle and delicious recipes using ingredients in their most natural and nutrient-rich state. In 2020, Ivy passed the website to Aimee and Madison. Since then, they have been adding new recipes and nutrition posts while updating old recipes and articles. Thanks for visiting Clean Cuisine!

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Step by Step Yoga Video: Relaxation Breathing Techniques

Video Step by Step Yoga Relaxation Breathing Techniques | Clean Cuisine and More

Tuesday 14th of December 2010

[...] I posted an article and video interview with my friend, yoga instructor Niki G., discussing relaxation techniques for stress and anxiety. Niki and I also talked about how yoga is helpful for numerous health problems (including weight [...]

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