In a summer of firsts, I have been away these last few days camping out with my family. And, sad to say, that like flying a kite, I had never gone camping before. For an assortment of reasons we decided to drive to the Canadian border and spent 9 hours in the car (there is a post on driving and piriformis syndrome coming soon) getting there. We wanted to leave at 6am (ha!), and I lay in bed past midnight the night before with my mind racing.
Flat on my back in bed I settled into a favorite exercise that I call endless breathing. Anytime someone lays flat on their back it is almost guaranteed that they will breathe diaphragmatically into their belly. I think this a great pattern to cultivate and laying flat on the back is a great way to access breathing into the belly. Another nice thing about breathing flat on the back is the ability to inhale and exhale for a much longer length of time than usual. That’s the endless breathing part.
Within minutes, if it took that long as I lay there with a hyper active brain, the extended inhales and exhales, settled my mind and body and I was able to fall off to sleep.
I’d like to do this exercise every night but I tend to remember only when stressed, though I shouldn’t complain since I am not stressed that often.
One of the main functions of the breath is to provide oxygen to the body and brain. The longer and deeper the inhale the more oxgyen will be provided to the brain. This exercise of endless breathing is a sweet and subtle way to develop a deeper breathing practice.