I fell asleep at work the other day. Who could blame me? I was stretched out on the floor with eyes closed and relaxing music playing in the background. I know, it doesn’t sound like work at all, but the cat nap was an unintended result of a meditation class offered at work. Yup, sleeping on the job was actually sanctioned by my employer. Great, right? We have a gym on site, so I was surprised to find that I was one of only three people taking advantage of some Friday afternoon downtime.
Breathing though, when directed, is hard. I found the guided meditation a challenge, even though the facilitator had a soothing voice and pleasant manner. We inhaled for two beats at first, paused for two beats, and then exhaled for two beats. So far, so good. Upping the rhythm to four beats though made me unnaturally focused on not hyperventilating, which manifested in not-so-soothing mantras like, Do not hyperventilate. This is supposed to be relaxing. Breathing like this is making me mad! The focus on the breath, although intended to drive away other thoughts, instead only made me more conscious of my inability to breathe properly. When I relented and resumed my normal breathing pattern (ahhhhh), I was relaxed enough to not care if I was doing it right and just happy to be breathing—and happier still to be falling asleep at work.