Using the breath to relax the body, this technique formulated by Dr Andrew Weil helps you to calm the body’s parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response in our bodies. If we are too jacked up from our busy day, we may still have too much of a ‘fight’ response by bedtime. This means our body won’t be able to relax and fall asleep when we need it to. I tried this last night and it was amazing!
When we exhale in a long, extended manner, this sends a message to the parasympathetic nervous system to chill it’s grill, that all is ok, and it can relax. This is because when we are stressed, or busy, we tend to breath quickly, which activates a state of being hyper-alert.
Here is the technique. Essentially it’s breath in for four counts, hold for seven, then breath out for eight.
Here is how you do the exercise:
- Place the tip of your tongue just behind your upper front teeth. Keep it there for the remainder of the exercise.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound as you do so.
- Close your mouth and inhale slowly through your nose while mentally counting to four.
- Hold your breath for a mental count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth for a mental count of eight. Make the same whoosh sound
Repeat steps 3 to 5 three more time.