Monday, March 5, 2012

How to Go Back to Sleep after an Earthquake

Lie on your back in bed. 

Bend your knees, and place your feet standing on the bed.  Slide your right foot around on the sheet, and feel the texture of the sheet with your foot.  Slide your foot everywhere you can easily reach.  Then do the same thing with the left foot.

Lengthen your legs and rest for a moment.

With your elbows resting on the bed, place your fingertips on the border between your ribs and abdomen.  Feel the muscle tone there, and notice any movement that occurs when you breathe.  After three or four breaths, shift your fingers closer to the center of your abdomen, still keeping them on the border between your abdomen and chest.  Follow the movement of your abdomen--lift the fingers as you feel the abdomen rising, and let them sink down as the abdomen sinks.  Do this for as long as it's interesting.

Pause for a moment.

Bring your fingertips down to the lowest part of your abdomen, just above the pubic bone.  Follow the breath in the same way, letting your fingers lift gently as the abdomen rises and sink as it falls.

Leaving your hands where they are, begin to picture your spine.  Imagine that you could reach inside yourself and touch the front side of each vertebra.  Begin with your lowest vertebra, the large lumbar vertebra, L5, and count upward, imagining that you can place your finger on each vertebra in turn.  There are five lumbar vertebrae.  When you reach the border between the lumbar vertebrae and the thoracic vertebrae (the ones the ribs are attached to), sense how the lowest ribs move when you breathe, especially in back.  Continue counting and placing an imaginary finger on each vertebra, moving upward through the twelve thoracic vertebrae (don't worry if you can't sense exactly where they are--just pretend), and the seven cervical (neck) vertebrae.

Repeat this as many times as you'd like.

Rest and let your breath come at its own pace.  Wait for the inhalation, wait for the exhalation, notice if there are pauses in between.

By now you will feel calmer.  If sleep hasn't already arrived, choose your favorite exploration from above and repeat it again.