Calm Down with This Quick and Easy Breathing Exercise

Go from high-stress to cool-as-a-cucumber in no time.

Work can be stressful. Heck, even weekends spent sitting in Cape Cod traffic can be stressful. We all need to unwind sometimes, and this short, simple breathing technique—also called a pranayama—will take you from high-stress to cool-as-a-cucumber in less than five minutes.

This pranayama exercise is also a great place to start a meditation practice. Begin by finding a comfortable seat where you can rest in stillness for at least five minutes. In a perfect world, you would sit on the floor with a yoga block or pillow under your sit bones. But in the real world, it’s likely you’ll need this exercise when you’re sitting at your desk or riding in the car. In that case, sit up tall and plant your feet firmly on the ground.

Follow along with the video below, then take this pranayama exercise on the go. Adding this breathing technique to your daily routine, or calling upon it when needed, will help you reach an immediate state of calm and mental clarity. Happy ​breathing!

Emily McLaughlin is a Boston-based fitness instructor and health blogger.