In Mindcast

Jane O’Rourke – 5 Minute Soothing Rhythm Breathing Exercise

This breathing exercise is a good way to experience self-compassion for times when you need more self-care. Soothing Rhythm Breathing relieves stress and anxiety by slowing the body and mind down. Jane is a Yoga and Meditation Teacher, and a Psychodynamic Psychotherapist with Children, Young People and Families. She teaches Yoga4Trauma within the Trauma Service at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.

View transcript

Hello, my name is Jane O’Rourke. I’m a Child, Adolescent and Family Psychotherapist, and I’m a yoga and mindfulness teacher. Today we are going to be practicing soothing rhythm breathing.

How we feel effects how we breathe and how we breathe effects how we feel. So by slowing the breath down to a soothing regular rhythm, we can start to slow the mind down, and slow the body down, and feel less anxious and stressed. It’s also a really good way to give ourselves self-compassion, looking after ourselves, supporting ourselves. Soothing rhythm breathing also helps us to self-regulate by stimulating the vagus nerve and it increases our heartrate variability which is a really good marker of our body’s ability to respond effectively to stress. It will also activate your brain’s soothing system.

So starting to find a comfortable seated posture, somewhere where you can feel comfortable and your spine can rise tall, and your chest is open, your heart is open, your jaw soft, your shoulders are sliding down the back and you feel yourself rooted to the ground, and supported by the earth below. You can rest your hands in your lap.

We are going to be really slowing the breath down to about five breaths a minute. We are going to be aiming for a really smooth in breath and a really smooth out breath, so that the length of time you breathe in matches the length of time that you breathe out, and as we breathe we will be focussing on slowing the body down, so the mind can slow down too.

And before we start just checking our facial expression, and softening and relaxing the face so that you have a friendly expression on your face, reinforcing a friendly intent to ourselves. So I am going to be counting you in and out and then you can rest for a while afterwards, just breathing at your own rhythm.

So breathing in for a count of 1, 2, breathing out 1, 2, breathing in 1, 2, 3, breathing out 1, 2, 3, breathing in 1, 2, 3, 4, breathing out 1, 2, 3, 4, breathing in 1, 2, 3, 4, breathing out 1, 2, 3, 4, breathing in 1, 2, 3, 4, breathing out 1, 2, 3, 4, breathing in 1, 2, 3, 4, breathing out 1, 2, 3, 4, breathing in 1, 2, 3, 4, breathing out 1, 2, 3, 4, breathing in 1, 2, 3, 4, breathing out 1, 2, 3, 4, breathing in 1, 2, 3, 4, breathing out 1, 2, 3, 4, breathing in 1, 2, 3, 4, breathing out 1, 2, 3, 4, breathing in 1, 2, 3, 4, breathing out 1, 2, 3, 4. Last time, breathing in 1, 2, 3, 4, breathing out 1, 2, 3, 4. 

For now just let your breath just go at its own rhythm, breathing in and out in your own time and noticing as the breath has slowed down, with your mind has managed to slow down a little too. And all the while feeling connected to the ground and the earth below. Feeling a steadiness and rootedness, just focusing on the flow of the in breath and the steady flow of the out breath. And you can stay here for as long as you like, just watching the breath, feeling a steadiness and a rootedness or in your own time coming back into the room.

Comments are closed.