You are tossing and turning in the bed trying to sleep.
“I must sleep, I must sleep.” you tell yourself but it’s not working
Instead, you are hosed with thoughts like a fire hydrant gushing water and your mind is like that small child which is jumping around in that water.
And you are the stern parent telling the child “Stop jumping, come inside and stop playing around”
The child is still jumping.
What do you do?
Research says that more than 60% of adults are suffering from sleep deprivation. Not only that sleep deprivation is affecting your health and wealth. First, its insidious effects work on your attention span then, your circulatory system (read heart problems) and then, your nervous system (read agitated, distracted)
Great, what should I do?
The child needs an activity and we give it. But, one which helps to quieten it.
Here is the step by step process:
- Lie down on your back
- Fold the knees and bring the feet closer to your body
- join the knees ie let them rest on each other
- put your left hand on your navel (don’t press it)
- put your right hand by your side, palm facing up
- the head should be flat on the bed (not on a pillow)
- Focus on your abdomen (navel region);
observe how it goes up and down with your breathing
inhale and it rises; exhale and it goes down; don’t force anything, just observe
- now once you feel your breath is in sync with your abdomen, count the number of seconds you inhale in (1001, 1002, 1003, 1004) and now exhale with same count eg if you inhaled for 4 secs exhale for 4 secs
this is one round
- close your eyes
- do the inhalation and exhalation for 20 rounds
- observe the navel area rising and falling softly
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You will feel gradually your mind and body relaxing
This breathing technique is called Abdominal breathing.
Shri Yogendraji had named it as Yogendra Pranayama 4 and these are part of the 9 breathing techniques which he had formulated.
Medical research has proven that abdominal breathing helps in relaxing the nervous system. This is so because it stimulates the Vagus nerve (largest cranial nerve) which in turn, activates the parasympathetic nervous system which releases the stress-busting hormones.
Practice this breathing technique anytime during the day when you need to relax. You can do it even sitting, however, its best effect is while sleeping.