I've always said that smoking is the American meditation. (Maybe the European one, too?) Taking a moment for yourself, focusing completely on your breath, noticing all the little sensations in your lungs, skin, and brain -- isn't that what meditation is all about? Yes, you could choose nicer companions than tar and ammonia. But let's not neglect the little health routine that you've learned from smoking.
The pattern is a long, slow inhale through pursed lips, and a long, deep exhale with a relaxed open mouth. That's a breath you'd learn in yoga.
- Pursed lip breathing is done to reduce anxiety. It restricts the flow of air and thus slows your breathing, heartbeat, and mind. It's a "cooling" breath. It also requires the use of your diaphragm (the often-underused breathing muscle across the base of your ribs).
Put it all together and you've got the Cigarette Breath. It's a perfect relaxation trick for anyone (except children under the age of eighteen), and especially for smokers stuck in a meeting/airport/closed-off place. Just pretend you're smoking a cigarette. It helps.