Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rethinking Rest

What an interesting day I am having. When I first opened my word document and decided I would write my blog entry I felt no pull toward anything. I closed the document and looked back at an essay I stumbled across studying web materials for yesterday’s entry on Religion and Science. I pulled it up and looked for the part that interested me, where it talked about Georgi Lazanov and the Accelerated Learning technique. The essay writer Paula Zahn mentioned that in keeping with Lazanov’s work they placed a reminder to take a 2 minute break every 20 minutes. I have never heard of Lazanov which led me to review his work.

It turns out his work centers on classroom learning and particularly the learning of foreign languages. This is attractive to me because I have often wanted to learn Spanish, and I am scheduled to go to Costa Rica in a month. The process needs the involvement of a qualified teacher according to Lazanov and also specialty textbooks since traditional domestic textbooks don’t provide the structure needed. This doesn’t dissuade me from working with some of the core principles although I do see Mr. Lazanov is a very careful man not advocating the use of hypnosis, or mechanical devices since they interfere with the vital energy needed from an energetic teacher. I respect this but at the same time firmly put myself in the trial and learn school so I am going to employ some of these ideas.

The first thing I started doing is taking the periodic breaks that Paula Zahn mentioned in her essay. I began a few hours ago and have been periodically stopping and doing nothing as she instructed in her essay. In just a few sessions I immediately began feeling a sense of settling. I also have become aware of a tired sensation around my eyes. I am not sure if this has to with eye strain centered around my time spent on a computer, lack of consistent sleep (partially caused my cat that has taken to waking me up in the middle of the night), or a caffeine related crash from the Iced Coffee I have most mornings of late.
What I do know is that I have a sense of greater awareness in general. Only time will tell as I continue to work this idea of frequent breaks.

Another thing I came across in my travels was polyphasic sleeping. I also was not aware of this concept and found the wiki page intriguing. It starts with various studies centered on Military training, and NASA missions where people try to find methods to maintain overall effectiveness when a full night’s sleep is not possible.

There is also a section about various polyphasic sleep patterns. Uberman is one where you sleep for 20 minutes every 4 hours. Dymaxion is where you sleep for 30 minutes every 6 hours and was developed by Buckminster Fuller. Another style is the Everyman where the individual maintains a core block of sleep of 3 to 4.5 hours along with 3 twenty minute naps during the day.

Most of us follow a monophasic sleeping schedule, and the polyphasic schedule probably seems excessive to most. One of the blog posters who lived using the Uberman style warned against telling people who will think you are completely nuts. The biphasic schedule is the only one possible for me to try because of my fulltime job. In a biphasic schedule you sleep the 3.5 – 4 hours core block along with a 90 minute nap. Now that is something I can pull off by scheduling my 90 minute nap for as soon as I get home from work. Today especially I feel like I could use it as I am feeling a bit worn down.

The final element I wish to deploy is increasing my meditation sessions which I have been highly resistant to ever since I began sitting 7 years ago. I have attended many programs and experienced wonderful states in the context of the meditation hall, but I continually fall short of the mark in my at-home practice. Now as the pressure inside me builds to nip this persistent hesitancy I see that between these rest and sleep structures I have a chance to build a day to day life that will include time to pursue writing, study, physical exercise, and finally a consistent meditation schedule.

So there you have it, the coming together of many elements in how I structure my day, and build them into a support for my higher aspirations. I will keep you posted on the developments.

1 comment:

jorel314 said...

Just wanted to let you know that I featured your blog on my site...

Adventures in Polyphasic Sleeping

Happy napping!