Are you as excited as I am that summer is here? This new season should bring pleasurable thoughts about spending more time outside, lazy summer days at the beach, enjoying fresh food from the garden, and relaxing with friends. But last week instead of being full of joy, the thought of summer did nothing but stress me out. I kicked off my summer beach yoga classes which meant a complete change in schedule, concerns about the weather, and a lot of worry and distractions that kept me from being fully present.

Does this happen to you? If so, I have a quick and easy pranayama breathing routine to help you slow down, get grounded, let go of stress, and find the joy of being in the present moment. Want to try it? Follow these steps:

  • Stand up tall in Tadasana (mountain) pose

  • Place both hands at the center of the abdomen (approximately one inch above the belly button). Press the middle finger firmly into the abdomen as the other fingers gently rest there.
  • Close the eyes.
  • Take three slow, deep breaths, focusing on inhaling and exhaling completely.

After just three breaths a sense of calm and presence should prevail.

Don’t believe me, stand up, and give it a go! I shared this practice with my yoga classes last week and I saw a lot of blissed out, smiling faces after just three breaths. If you feel like you need more than three, take as many as you need.

When placing the fingertips on the area above the abdomen it connects us to the Manipura chakra, also called the solar plexus. This is your personal power center and where food, thoughts, and energy are digested and distributed throughout the body. Your ego and self-esteem reside here, so this is an excellent place to bring your hands to get connected back to the body and bring balance to this chakra.

So why does this work so quickly and effectively? The simple act of focusing on your breath will get you out of your mind and into your body and is calming to the central nervous system.

The funny thing about stress and worry is that most of it comes from things that we have no control over. I can’t control the weather or how the beach is going to be, so the simple act of stopping to breathe and connect with my core reminds me to let go of the struggle and be at peace. I did this a lot last week!

The beach looked great and people showed up for the first beach yoga class! Woo Hoo!

This exercise takes less than a minute, can be down anywhere, and is so powerful. Next time you are feeling stressed out, stop, pause, and breathe!

Sometimes all you need is three breaths.

My favorite part of beach yoga is connecting with friends each summer.

I’m sending hugs out to everyone who showed up for Beach Yoga and making it such an awesOMe first week. If you want to get outside this summer and feel the sun on your face and hear the sound of the waves as your practice, please check out the 2017 Summer Beach Yoga schedule and join me for a class.

Join Maria for a week of spiritual healing, adventure and BLISS in Bali next March!

The 2017-18 Yoga Teacher Training Program begins October 6.

Applications now being accepted.