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Calm Breathing

Cory Muscara



Cory Muscara



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Calm Breathing

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Welcome back to Day Two of

our seven day Sleep Challenge.

I hope yesterday went well for you.

And if not, we have

another opportunity today.

In this session, we're going to

explore the positive impact of deep

breathing to help us fall asleep.

Now I'm first going to share why deep

breathing can be useful, but then I'll

share a particular strategy that we'll

be practicing in today's meditation

that I find to be the most useful.

So to begin, deep breathing is

useful because it engages the

parasympathetic nervous system.

This is the part of our nervous system

that helps us relax, that reminds our mind

and body that we're safe, that this is a

time for rest, restoration, being at ease.

It helps calm down that excited, agitated,

stressed out part of us that is activated

by the sympathetic nervous system.

And if you think about this in the context

of deep breathing, it makes logical sense.

Think to any time that you've

been stressed or agitated or on

the edge of your seat, wondering

what am I supposed to do.

In those moments is your breathing

long, relaxed, deep in your belly,

or is it more shallow, tight,

constricted, up in your chest?

Most likely it's the latter.

When we're in a tense or stressed

out state, we trigger these shorter,

contracted, shallow breaths.

Conversely, when you've been calm,

relaxed, maybe on a beach or in nature,

and you don't feel stressed or tense,

what is your breathing like that?

Assuming you're not exercising,

it's most likely calmer, relaxed,

longer, deeper in your belly.

And the interesting thing about

this is that, yes, a calm state

tends to induce these longer, deep

breaths, but we can also induce a

calm state by dropping into those

deep breaths, even if we're agitated.

It's sort of a trick for the mind and the

nervous system to say, Hey, it's okay.

You can relax.

You can be calm.

Now, my favorite breathing practice for

this is called the four-seven,-eight

breath, which involves breathing in

for four seconds, holding for seven

seconds and exhaling for eight seconds.

I'll walk you through

that in the meditation.

But I do this at the very least for

a few minutes before going to bed.

And what I most appreciate about

it is that it lowers my heart rate.

And the faster we can lower our heart

rate before sleep, the sooner we'll

be able to get into deep sleep and

the more restoration we'll experience.

So I'm looking forward to doing

this with you in today's meditation.

Thank you for your practice

and let's settle in.

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