Box Breathing

Saw article about SEALS using Box Breathing method in stressful situations. Have tried doing this last 4 nights and it seems to put me to sleep as quickly as the .25mg Ambien was using until realized that this quick-acting seductive drug can cause memory problems; and even using it I was still waking at 3 a.m. Stopped taking Ambien a year ago, started again to have trouble at times falling asleep, especially after the 3 a.m. wake time.

Tried this Box Breathing (the link is above, can’t seem to get it to embed) which is surprisingly difficult and tedious (both the box breathing and the WordPress), but apparently box breathing works, as the only thing I’ve been remembering, even sometimes now when waking after full sleep at 6 a.m., is that I was just about wanting to give up on repetition 4 or 5 of the breathing. Nothing after that, no tossing and turning and throwing blankets on and off. Sound familiar to anyone?

Last night sleep was especially challenging, as the big white dog did not come back after I let her out of the e-yard to “get the coyotes!” A nightly beloved ritual for her and the tiny dog once they hear coyotes howling as night falls. Dogs usually come back to the house after predators are moved away; perhaps 15 minutes, although big dog had been slower to return night before and then last night did not come at all.

Even dog whistle hadn’t worked its usual magic; this morning husband said it’s because the small doggy has moved over to the farm shop where she seems to get more attention from the kids and prefers being away from the heavy paws of big white dog playfully batting at her. I think he’s right, as usual, in that big dog considers the small dog her pack and most likely spent the night near and protecting that area.

I’m cringing to think of farm workers or neighbors calling to tell us about hearing barking all night. Reason, I’ve read, that this Great Pyrenees breed is often needing to be re-homed. Their instincts require them to be on guard over their herds all night and barking is primary way they keep predators at bay.

Plus, other owners have told me the dogs can roam for 10 miles at night. As noted before, not good if she thinks to bring neighbors’ goats back to our farm or retrieves chickens to bring home (she had a flock of her own when young at previous home) and I’ve rescued a few, but it seems more often that her big jaws accidentally kill them. I’ve noticed hens on nests in the hay barn, so don’t want her finding those; she must stay home.

Therefore, last night was challenging, as I woke at 4 a.m. to her barking, which fortunately as she’s aged and gotten larger (will be 3 later this year, about 120 lbs) has become a very low and almost pleasant basso profundo. I got up, she reluctantly came and went into garage where she normally sleeps so as not to disturb us or others.

Was 4:24 when finally back to bed, I started the Box Breathing and next thing I knew, was looking at clock saying 6:12 a.m. The normal wake time; the normal NPR playing on radio. Again, the breathing seemed to work, so I’ve decided to share it here.

After getting coffee, doing journals with fire on, reading MINDFUL LOVING by Grayson and AWAKENING by Nepo (both highly recommended for those of us who grew up feeling “not enough”), I enjoyed making bed carefully and changed into workout clothes for normal routine.

Did yoga, started reluctantly on 8-minute balance and core building; finished the balance part, started the planks, then suddenly realized that my intent was to do this up on the hill where a perfect spot to film video was located.

Excellent location, since it has a big granite rock to put back against while doing wall sit, plus, a flattish area for the balance and planks. Made “perfect” by presence of a mock orange tree growing just behind and above rocks for beauty when it blooms in a few weeks. This will be the year video gets made. I’m certain now of that, so headed eagerly out.

Grateful for a gorgeous sunny spring day, I hiked up the hill with a dog who clearly was more mellow and tired from “working” the entire night. I spread out my mat by rocks and did routine. Big dog sat calmly through whole routine so I think now she’ll be a nice addition in the video.

Harder to balance there since ground uneven, but successfully done and making me happier than usual to have views across beautiful valley. I heard people’s voices on hills in distance, so it appears neighbors and children are getting out for exercise in the wide open areas..

Wishing well to others, as we stay apart until a vaccine is found or test shows we carry antibodies. Please try the Box Breathing if you’ve had trouble sleeping; I hope it will help and wish staying well for all.

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