How I Cool Off When Stressed

“When you are balanced, you find that the world will come to you exactly as and when it needs to. Just like you learned in summer camp: if you get lost, just stay put until you are found. Breathe.” – Amy Jirsa – Quiet Earth Yoga

So, I am having one of those mornings in the office. You know how it goes: you hit snooze too many times (have no time for morning yoga), get to work and are handed awful news, spend an hour on the phone with the rudest customer service agent you have ever dealt with in your entire life, realized you forgot to grab breakfast and it’s already 10:30 and you’ve been so busy that you haven’t even had a cup of coffee. And you neeeeed that cup of coffee! ASAP! Move out of my way people!!!

You know what I’m talking about right? We all have days where we feel terribly overwhelmed, unbalanced, emotionally strained. We are human! It is completely normal to experience moments of stress and exasperation. In these moments, I am so thankful for learning pranayama techniques. Pranayama is a sanskrit word used to describe the extension and control of the breath, the life force. It is through the controlling of the breath that we are able to slow ourselves down, allow the entire body to become oxygenated, focus our awareness, and become grounded. There are many different types of pranayama and I encourage you to look into different breaths that can positively effect your life and your practice.

I tend to run into these stressful situations when I am at work, or someplace in public. Therefore, arching my back, making giant googly eyes, and sticking my tongue out for Lion’s Breath (Simhasana) won’t work if I want to keep a sane reputation. My favorite pranayama to simmer me down is Ujjayi or Victorious Breath, which is the most common type of breath during a Hatha yoga class (Great article: 8 Reasons Why We Use Ujjayi Breath in Yoga). I love Yoga With Adriene’s pranayama videos and she has a great explanation of Ujjayi:

I love this breath because I can just take 1-2 minutes here or there when I am feeling overwhelmed and I am really able to steady my emotions. The best thing is that Ujjayi breath is typically not noticed by my co-workers or the man who just cut me off on the freeway. A lot of people compare this type of breathing to Darth Vader (my husband compares the sound of Ujjayi breath to someone being constipated…), but it does not have to be practiced very loudly. It should be audible to yourself and not the person in the cubicle next to you.

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Sorry, I thought this was really funny

“Just breathe” isn’t quoted by everyone on the planet for no damn reason; it works! Even if you are not into yoga, taking a moment to breathe and unwind doesn’t harm anyone, so why not try it out? I’m telling y’all, it will do wonders for your mood.

If you are really feeling overwhelmed and the breathing just won’t cut it today, find something to laugh about. Seriously! Take five minutes out of  your work schedule or busy day at home and find some silly video about funny cats or goofy baby laughs or army men singing Frozen or whatever! When I need a laugh, I just enjoy the presence of my goofball dog, Wesley.

Hope y’all are able to find some time to breathe (and laugh) today! – Taryn

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