Rhythmic Belly Breathing for a good night’s sleep
A few nights ago I was experiencing some excruciating pain in my knee where I recently had multiple surgeries, plus a staph infection.
A little voice kept taunting me. ” Just go and take the flexorall that is in your fridge. You know it will knock you out, and you can get a good night sleep.” So after a bit of arguing with this voice, I gave in and took the flexorall, which is a muscle relaxer. In the morning I felt like crap, very groggy , very agitated.
The next night, same scenario, excruciating pain, little voice telling me to just take the muscle relaxer. And then I thought of the kids in Juvenile Hall and their situation, and how when I used to teach yoga there I would try to explain to them the value of rhythmic belly breathing and how it will help one to fall asleep, even if you are detoxing, even if you are afraid, even if the person in the cell next to you is screaming at the top of their lungs….it works, eventually, with a bit of patience it works. And often the feedback was affirming. The kids would actually do it and say that it helped them. Very inspiring!
And I thought, if I am to teach this to others, I should at least try it for myself in times of great distress. How can I tell others to try it, if I am going to take the easy way out and pop a pill that I know does not make me feel very good.
So I took a breath, I smiled at the part of me that was crying for the pill, and began one round at a time, breathing in for 4 counts, exhaling for 8 counts. Before I knew it, I was out cold. The best part was waking up feeling refreshed instead of groggy, and grateful to know that I can work with my pain, rather than try to suppress it or fight with it.
At night, even if you are not having trouble sleeping, try practicing up to 10 rounds of Rhythmic Belly Breathing: Inhale for 4 counts and exhale for 8.
If you have breathing issues, or are pregnant, you can try just belly breathing without the count. Or try a 3 to 6 ratio, inhaling for 3 counts, exhaling for 6.
NamastePlease post your experiences to comments