“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Do you ever have trouble getting to sleep, or falling back to sleep if you wake up during the night?
One of the great issues that many lyme sufferers (like me) experience is insomnia, which may also be coupled with pain. Of course worrying about lack of sleep or having a brain that won’t switch off only exacerbates things. But we can’t heal if we don’t sleep.
Many years ago a meditation teacher taught me a simple mindful breathing exercise, which has now helped me get to sleep more times that I care to mention, even in the face of great discomfort. This breathing exercise is easy to do, and it helps settle our bio-chemistry so that we can more easily move into that space of deep relaxation and sleep.
Whatever the cause of your insomnia, I highly recommend this simple breathing exercise.
Here’s what you do:
1. Settle yourself comfortably in bed.
2. Breathe in through your nose for a count of four.
3. Hold that breath for a count of seven. (Don’t strain – if seven is too hard, try for six, or even five – as you become used to this exercise the holding part will become easier.)
4. Exhale through your mouth for a count of eight (or once again work up to this number if it is hard to get to eight at first).
That’s all you need to remember. 4-7-8.
As you do this meditation you will find that your mind quietens, your heart rate will slow and so will your breathing – all things that help us move into sleep.
Extra help: You may like to try a little Lavender essential oil on the soles of your feet and on the back of your neck. Cedarwood oil on the back of the neck will also help.
Other uses for this cyclic breathing exercise: If you are studying or working and feel yourself becoming tired and losing focus a few minutes of this breathing pattern while you sit at your desk will help you to calm and settle. Stand up and go for a short walk afterwards and you’ll find yourself much more refreshed.