Stress-Free New Year

IT’S TIME TO let go of the hassle that came with the holidays now that 2015 is here. We asked Erin Cookston of YogaWorks to share her most effective tips for quick and easy stress relief, to help you start the New Year off levelheaded and ready for anything.


HOW TO To practice Viparita Karani (also known as “legs up the wall”), rest your back on the floor with your legs up against a wall. You can place a pillow or a folded towel under your lower back to elevate the pelvis for support. Hold for 5 to 20 minutes.

BENEFITS This posture helps balance hormone levels, increases circulation, helps trigger the relaxation response in the nervous system and calms the mind.


HOW TO Simply communicating the story of your stress will help you begin to let it go. Confide what’s going on to a close friend or partner or a beloved pet, or perhaps talk the issue through with yourself.

BENEFITS We are communicative beings, so the more we acknowledge what we are going through by verbalizing our feelings, the easier it becomes for us to process our stress and begin to eliminate it.


HOW TO Roll out your yoga mat, close your eyes and relax the muscles around the shoulders. Place your hands on your stomach and take a few deep breaths into the lower belly; try to focus on the belly’s rise and fall. Take at least 5 to 10 consecutive deep, conscious breaths.

BENEFITS Taking time to focus on your breath will help clear your mind, shift your perspective on stressful situations and increase your energy and vitality.


HOW TO Run yourself a nice warm bath with Epsom salts and lavender essential oils, dim the lights, and take some alone time to soak in the tub.

BENEFITS The warmth of the water will help you feel calm and supported. The salts will promote release of muscular tension, while the essential oil will calm the mind and help the body regulate imbalances and stress.

Calin Van ParisCalin Van Paris is a Mill Valley native and the former Assistant Editor of Marin Magazine. Now a regular contributor and Petaluma resident (yay, dairy!), Calin continues to shout her love for Marin from Sonoma County rooftops, while journeying south frequently to feed her Sol Food addiction. Calin also writes about beauty for and gets her kicks from long walks, Point Reyes beaches, good books, traveling, food and friends.