The other day I was discussing with my teammate and friend Carolyn how it had been months since the last time I attended a yoga class.

I’ve been thinking about it occasionally and getting annoyed with myself for not practicing—almost feeling stressed.  Like many other things—for example, blogging—I often ind it incredibly hard to get back to things that I “should” be doing. The stress increases and an inside feeling of pressure happens.

Then I realized, yoga is in everything that I do. I took some time to think on and appreciate the benefits that yoga has brought to me. Maybe you can relate to these experiences.

Breathing

In yoga they call it Ujjayi breath, with an English translation meaning “to become victorious” or “to gain mastery.”

To create the Ujjayi breath, one must constrict the back of the throat, similar to the constriction made when speaking in a whisper. Therefore, it is an audible breathe that is often compared to the sound of the ocean. Although there is a constriction of the throat, the Ujjayi breath flows in and out through the nostrils, with the lips remaining gently closed.

I have found that this type of breathing helps me focus when I’m working, helps me relax when I’m trying to sleep, revitalizes my energy if I feel tired and calms me down if I feel stressed. It is also said that there are other benefits, such as an improved digestive system.

yoga health benefits

The practice

Like many other desk-bound people, I have started getting some pain in both my lower back as well as in my neck. Yoga has taught me to be more aware of my body, and I have learned practices that help me.

Together with being more mindful of how I sit in front of the computer, yoga has helped me improve the odds of a healthy body down the road. Classes help immensely with improving my technique and further learning.

What I forget sometimes is that taking a few minutes in the morning or after running can also make a big difference.

Focusing on happiness

Last year while I was in Bali I went to a laughing yoga class.

I hadn’t been to yoga more than a handful of times and I found the class pretty intimidating and scary at first. Laughing out loud felt very foreign to me, but I left feeling re-invigorated. It was extremely liberating to laugh in a big group like that.

The yoga I have done since hasn’t involved laughing out loud, although the practice has made me lose a lot of my inhibitions and has improved my mindfulness.

In yoga, we focus on being grateful for what we are blessed with here in this life. To live in the present and be aware of ourselves. There is something magical about taking this time for yourself, letting all your day-to-day thoughts go and focusing on why you are present and simply breathing.

Over to you

How often do we stress about things we’re not doing instead of thinking about how these precious practices are in fact in everything we do? Do you have any other examples where you’ve had the same experience? I’d love to hear them in the comments.

Image credits: Huffington Post

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Written by Åsa Nyström

Director of Customer Success @buffer | Happiest when I’m practicing yoga or traveling the world ♡ | Sydney ✈️ NYC✈️ London

  • Nati

    On my daily life, I try to remind myself to breathe and recognize how my body and mind are reacting to different situations, this way I can try to respond in a better way and project a positive attitude to the world.

    Can you tell me where did you take the laughing yoga class in Bali? I will be going there in the coming months?

  • Great article! I was just invited to a local Laughing Yoga class and your post has given me the encouragement I needed to commit. Thanks, Åsa!

  • Rachel Ben Hamou

    I sometimes feel like this about improv. That I don’t get to practice enough or learn new stuff but in reality improv is actually my mindset, it’s part of my daily life when I make decisions and when I join in conversations and so forth. I can also choose to be playful in my communications and actions so there is a lot of opportunity in daily life really.

  • I don’t practice yoga, but I do make it a point to be truly still once a week. You have to seek that plane in a loud, loud, loud world.

  • Great example how yoga is in everything we do Åsa. I practice yoga for 3 years now and of course the best is to do yoga itself or meditate in the morning or anytime possible, but we are all busy in our work or in personal life so we have to squeeze yoga into it :) I love to breathe deeply sometimes even with the Ujjayi breath and also to just be aware of what I do – what I say what I do with my body – this is especially true for how I sit in work – the posture. To be fully engaged in the moment or to be in the present is yoga as well. And also for me yoga is to follow the 8 limbs of Yoga (http://www.yogajournal.com/article/beginners/the-eight-limbs/) all the time. By that, yoga is your life and life is yoga and it doesn’t matter if you have missed the class or if you practice only at home.
    Love this post, it reminded me how yoga is so great and why I love it more and more. Great post, thanks for it.

  • I hear you on this, Åsa! Around this time last year I was practicing consistently, taking classes 2-3 times/week. Then life just happened and those classes took a hit. I beat myself up over it for MONTHS! Luckily one of my instructors reminded me that yoga IS a practice and that you really CAN do it anywhere. So, maybe it’s not a class – but perhaps it’s a few minutes before bed, or even just working on your breathing.

    I LOVE the idea of incorporating yoga throughout your day though. I’ve found that I’m very good – even in a crowded room – of somehow finding a few seconds of peace and allowing myself to breathe & letting my brain have a few moments of down time before engaging completely with everyone from friends to newer crowds so that I can really try to give them everything I have and focus. :)

    ps: A LAUGHING Yoga class sounds supremely amazing! I might have to seek one of these out!

  • Isis Seth

    Love this! I often take mini pinterest breaks throughout stressful days and check out the humor pins…I end up laughing my face off and everyone thinks I’m crazy, but it really grounds me!

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