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The Benefits of a 10-Minute Smoke Break

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This morning my yoga instructor, Suzy Weyenberg from Empower Yoga in Whitefish Bay, started our class with what she called a 10-minute smoke break. She told a story about how when she worked in the restaurant business (long before she became an amazing yogi), she envied the people that went outside for their “smoke breaks.”  These were folks that took time out of their day to inhale deeply and calm their bodies while the folks that didn’t smoke continued to work. I think the people that were harming their lungs were on to something. While the smoke was harmful, the deep breathing and the calming effect all of this had on their bodies was not.

As a former smoker, I remember the pleasure of taking a break and lighting up. It did have a calming effect. When I was stressed, I went outside and had a cigarette, damn it! A nice long, soulful drag. I took a few minutes to breathe deep and clear my head. And, even though it was bad for my health, it made me feel better. Maybe it was the deep breathing, maybe it had something to do with the nicotine my body was craving, maybe it was a combination of both. I quit smoking in 1998 and haven’t taken a smoke break since, until today.

Today I started my morning with a smoke break…10 breaths…120 seconds of deep breathing. It cleared my mind, it calmed me down, it got me ready for the 60 minutes of intensity that was to follow, it grounded me to the earth, it made me feel better. And when my day got stressful, I walked away from my desk and took another smoke break…10 breaths…120 seconds of deep breathing. It cleared my mind, it calmed me down, it made me feel better.

I plan on incorporating smoke breaks into my daily life…10 breaths…120 seconds…sans the smoke. Thanks Suzy!

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