What does it actually mean to take a break? The second you have 'a break' what do you do? Look at your iPhone? Check Facebook, instagram, twitter, tinder, etc. Do you check your grocery list, or plan in your head all the things you have to do this evening? Or do you stop, pause, listen to your breath and just simply...be?  

I urge you, if you don't already, let your feet rest, let the sun hit your face, let your lungs fill up with fresh air, let your eyes see something calming, because I'll tell you something- your mind and body will thank you- especially when you're having a stressful and busy day. 

Whenever I need a break, or something has irritated me, or perhaps I feel overwhelmed- I just take a step back and do a repetition of 5 Ujjayi Breaths.

Simple Steps to a Mindful Ujjayi Sequence:

  • While closing your lips, flow your breath exclusively through your nose. 
  • Take a deep inhalation through your nose (count of 4) (should make the sound of waves crashing in)
  • Take a deep exhalation through your nose (count of 4) (should make the sound of waves crashing out)

NOTE: The sound of Ujjayi is gently constricting the opening of the throat to create a bit of resistance to the passage of air.  When you hear the ocean, you know you're doing it right!

Benefits of Ujjayi Breathing
Ujjayi has a balancing influence on the entire cardiorespiratory system, releases feelings of irritation and frustration, and helps calm the mind and body. With Ujjayi, there are so many benefits, providing good value for a simple practice. Here are a few benefits you may enjoy as a result of practicing the Ujjayi breath:

Increases the amount of oxygen in the blood
Builds internal body heat
Relieves tension
Encourages free flow of prana
Regulates blood pressure
Helps yoga practitioner to maintain a rhythm while they practice
Builds energy
Detoxifies mind and body
Increases feelings of presence, self-awareness, and meditative qualities
— Melissa Eisler: Certified Yoga & Meditation Instructor & Senior Content Strategist at the Chopra Center

So next time you have a break, and you're feeling stressed, overloaded or just need a minute, try one of these tips out and let me know how they worked for you :)