5 Jan 2011

When the room is stale, you open a window and let the clean air in. The lungs get stale too. After a night’s sleep the air at the base of the lungs is rather old and needs refreshing. The complete breath is the equivalent of opening a window, except you can reach the whole of the lungs within a few breaths.

Sitting, lying or standing, exhale fully without strain and relax the body. As you inhale, expand the belly allowing air into the bottom of the lungs. As the inhale continues, feel the ribcage expanding. Continue the inhalation into the clavicles and raise the shoulders. At the full extent, hold for five seconds then gently release, exhaling from the shoulders, the chest and lastly the abdomen. A squeeze of the bellybutton towards the spine as the diaphragm lifts in and up, will expel the last of the stale air. You may taste or smell it as it leaves. Continue these full breaths five times, and whenever you feel like a break during the day.

We left Brockwood at about 1015, 19 staff members in three vehicles. I drove the minibus, with Mark as co-driver. The journey was without incident, but for my heading south on the M40 instead of north. It took five miles before I reached a roundabout to about face. Mark was trying a new satnav. It wasn’t much good. It didn’t seem to know about services so when we’d stop for breaks it tried to recalculated the route. And then near Kendal it tried to take us who knows where, towards Barrow. We weren’t impressed with this Garmin.

I like the Lake District. Who doesn’t? We are staying at a large guest house belonging to a Brockwood Trustee. He also owns a cinema and two vegetarian restaurants in Ambleside. I’m in a particularly floral room:

How many flowers can you fit? Even the wardrobe has the same material on the doors. And the mirror surround. It’s cold in here, the room probably not having been used since before Christmas. They apologised for the radiator not having been turned on, like every year. It’s the 8th time I’ve been here for a staff week. The first time I came to Yewfield was when working at the youth hostel in Coniston, down the road a few miles. Raman was showing Krishnamurti videos here sometimes, and I hiked up the hill, returning through the moonlight with Consiton Water stretched out below.

Q: How many lakes does the Lake District have?

A: The Lake District only has one lake. The others are all something-or-other Water, or Tarn, or -mere. Buttermere. What a fab name. The only lake is Bassenthwaite Lake, in the north. Looking at the map, some other nice names right near Yewfield: Bettyfold, Keen Ground, Bobbin Mill. Ah, the Lake District! I can’t wait to take a walk, and maybe a skeet tomorrow. Now to the warm open fire downstairs…

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