Work It: Breathe Your Way to Mindfulness


Hurray for mindful breathing practices! Yoga based breath practices like this one from Sharon Salzberg are a great way to bring mindfulness to work. Unobtrusive and highly effective, these ancient practices are just right for mindfully managing your work experience. Really -- yoga based practices can be easily used to invigorate, calm or harmonize mind and body throughout the day.

For example, if you find yourself snoozing during a conference call (during which you are NOT multi-tasking, right?) try a three-part inhalation breath pattern like the Breath of Joy, this practice is based on yoga pranayama that energizes the body. Take three short inhales, filling the lungs from the bottom up, and exhale with some "ooph," releasing the breath completely before repeating with three more short inhales. Don't overdue (no more than three rounds), but notice how this practice increases mental clarity.

If you find yourself feeling a challenged by information or activity overload, try an extended exhalation practice like The Wave Breath: Take a nice full inhale, and as you exhale feel the breath wash down the front of the body, pooling at the feet and then seeping into the ground. Notice how restful and calming this pranayama pattern feels.

More sophisticated practices like alternate nostril breathing can be used to balance the internal energy of the body, subtly cooling or heating. Although yoga based breath practices are easy ways to mindfully connect to the present moment throughout the day, remember that the breath is intimately connected to your nervous system. Bring full awareness to any breath related practices and don't overdue.