Holiday Playlists and Candy Cane Pose Tutorial

Taking your practice home for the holidays? Enjoy these playlists created by music-loving, Inspire Yoga Teacher Erika Record specifically for the Christmas season. Each playlist carries you through a 1 hour and 15 minute practice, including warm up and savasana. Welcome the holidays as you flow through your Sun Salutations, or feel free to play them at your next holiday gathering. These are guaranteed to help you feel the Christmas Spirit (especially since the weather is oddly warm this time of year)!

The Vigorous Flow playlist contains more upbeat songs, while the Slow Flow playlist contains more mellow tunes. Both are perfect for a holiday home practice in your living room!

Vigorous Flow Playlist (click to launch playlist in Spotify)

  1. O Come, O Come Emmanuel – The Henningsens
  2. O Come All Ye Faithful – Johnnyswim
  3. Miracles – Coldplay
  4. All I Want for Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
  5. Last Christmas – Carley Rae Jepsen
  6. Winter Song – Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson
  7. Ave Maria – Celine Dion
  8. It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas – Michael Buble
  9. Angels We Have Heard On High – Josh Groban, Brian McKnight
  10. Winter Wonderland/Don’t Worry Be Happy – Pentatonic, Tori Kelly
  11. Christmas Lights – Coldplay
  12. Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town – Mariah Carey
  13. Little Drummer Boy – Josh Groban, Andy McKee
  14. Carol of the Bells – The Henningsens
  15. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Sam Smith
  16. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Colin & Caroline
  17. Happy Christmas (War is Over) – Maroon 5
  18. O Holy Night – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  19. Auld Lang Syne – The Henningsens
  20. Silent Night – Sinead O’Connor

Slow Flow Playlist (click to launch playlist in Spotify)

  1. Joy To The World – Rebecca Roubion
  2. O Come All Ye Faithful – Mindy Gledhill
  3. O Come, O Come Emmanuel – The Henningsens
  4. What Child Is This – Rebecca Roubion
  5. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Joshua Hyslop
  6. Last Christmas – Findlay Brown
  7. The Christmas Waltz – She & Him
  8. Mistletoe – Colbie Caillat
  9. River – Sarah McLachlan
  10. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting…) Paul McCartney
  11. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Mason Jennings
  12. Jingle Bell Rock – Rogue Wave
  13. Deck The Halls – The Last Bison
  14. Frosty the Snowman – Fiona Apple
  15. Let it Snow – Daniela Andrade
  16. Happy Christmas (War is Over) – Maroon 5
  17. Silent Night – The Henningsens
  18. Angels We Have Heard on High – Beta Radio
  19. The First Noel – Emmylou Harris
  20. O Holy Night – The Henningsens
  21. Ave Maria – Josh Groban
  22. Star of Wonder – The Roches
  23. Auld Lang Syne – The Henningsens
  24. Lux Aurumque – Eric Whitacre
  25. Silent Night – Sinead O’Connor

Bonus! Need some asana inspiration? Try Candy Cane pose (ardha chandrachapasana)! See the photos below for step-by-step instructions:

Warm up: Take a few rounds of Sun Salutations to warm up the body. Then, move through a few sequences on your own to prepare the body for this pose. Be sure that your hamstrings are warm and open before coming into Candy Cane Pose. Some great poses for this are standing forward fold, triangle, pyramid, wide-legged forward fold, and half-splits. It also helps to have open hip flexors when practicing Candy Cane, so poses like and crescent lunge, lizard, and low crescent lunge with an added thigh stretch (reach back with the hand to catch the back foot) will achieve this. In addition, taking side angle pose for a few breaths on each side will prepare and strengthen the hips for external rotation. Also, sphinx pose and cobra pose will prepare the body for the backbend within Candy Cane pose.

Step 1: Come into balancing half moon pose (ardha chandrasana), stacking the hips and shoulders. Press strongly through the lifted heel as if you’re stamping it on the back wall. Reach through the lifted fingertips toward the ceiling so that your supporting hand can energetically lift away from the floor and lengthen the side of your torso that is closest to the ground (you can use a block under the supporting hand to find more space here). Breathe and find steadiness here.

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Balancing Half Moon / Ardha Chandrasana

Step 2: Keeping the thigh of the lifted leg parallel to the earth, draw the lifted heel toward the glute. Reach back with the lifted hand and catch the top of the foot. Pause here and breathe into the quadricep of the lifted leg. Continue to press firmly into the ground with the supporting leg.

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Balancing Half Moon / Ardha Chandrasana, catching the lifted foot with the lifted hand.

Step 3: Now begin to kick the foot into the hand, draw the shoulders back and open up the chest. Reach your head and foot behind you, creating an energetic, circular shape with your top leg and arm. Keep pressing strongly through the supporting leg and foot to maintain external rotation. Work on keeping the lifted thigh parallel to the ground (there are variations of this pose with the knee lifted toward the ceiling, but for Candy Cane, the thigh stays parallel). Once you are steady, play with taking the focus up to the ceiling. Breathe. 🙂

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Candy Cane Pose / Ardha Chandrachapasana (side view)
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Candy Cane Pose / Ardha Chandrachapasana (front view)

Cool Down: Candy Cane Pose is a balancing backbend, so a standing or seated forward fold is a nice counter pose to come into after playing with this. You may also find it pleasing to stretch the outer hips by coming into single leg pigeon or reclined pigeon.

I hope you enjoy this festive pose! I love how strong and expansive I feel in Candy Cane. It is a difficult one to balance in, so if you fall out if it, just jump right back in! Throw on one of the above holiday playlists, get moving, and have fun!

Happy Holidays! <3

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