Module 4 | Lesson 3: Breathing practices for restful sleep
Module 4 | Lesson 3:
for restful sleep
Important reminder: With all breathing practices it is important to start slowly, and if at any point you get dizzy or nauseous, to stop the practice. This may not imply that the practice is not for you – you need to build slowly. If unsure please email me or contact your health professional.
WHO breath for relaxed diaphragmatic breathing ~ 8.5 mins
One of the body’s largest nerves, the vagus nerve, is regarded as a ‘superhighway’ from your brain to your body, connecting with most organs in the body. It is one of the most obvious physical representations of the mind-body connection.
This breathing practice stimulates the vagus nerve to regulate the work of your lungs. The intention is slow, deep breathing (diaphragmatic) to enhance the calm state of your nervous system (parasympathetic state).
Activation of the vagus nerve also produces an anti-inflammatory hormone – so this practice in addition reduces inflammation in the body (caused by pain or discomfort).
Follow the practice below:
Breath work to enhance langhana – restful breathing ~ 16 mins
In Ayurveda, asana (poses) and pranayama (breathing) are divided into two energetic principles, brahmana and langhana.
From Sanskrit, brahmana means expansion, langhana means to reduce.
Applying langhana during breathing practices (pranayama) slows the heart rate, breathing and metabolism; relaxes the nervous system; and calms the mind. This promotes the rest and digest (parasympathetic state) of your nervous system.
We gradually lengthen your exhale and pause briefly after exhale, that’s all! The longer you make the exhalation in relation to the inhalation (comfortably!) the more pronounced the parasympathetic effect.
We do this gradually – deep breathing is important, but you don’t make your inhalation too short. Being short of breath or dizzy is not the aim!
Follow the practice here
Counting backwards to invoke a sleepy state ~ 7.5 mins
Breath awareness reminds us that our breath relates to our energy. At the end of the day we wish to lower our energy levels and notice the breath as spontaneous and effortless.
Counting the breath creates a single focus for the mind, with the aim of reducing unnecessary thinking. When you notice the mind has drifted away from the count of the breath, simply start the count again. Do this over and over again, as required. This sharpens the mind to stay undistracted so that you can progress beneath the mind to experience deep rest.
Counting backwards invokes relaxation, counting forwards invokes alertness – so in this practice we count backwards.
Follow the practice here