Jane O’Rourke – 5 minute soothing sleep breathing exercise

Hello, this is Jane O’Rourke. I’m a Child Adolescent and Family Psychotherapist, and yoga and meditation teacher. Today we’re going to do a relaxing, calming breathing exercise, so let’s start by taking a moment to find a comfortable resting position; could belong down or sitting in a chair – whatever feels most comfortable for you.

Let’s start with a few relaxing breaths, inhaling through the nose and out through the mouth, taking deep, relaxing in-breath and slow, relaxing out-breaths, and relaxing out and releasing any tensions of the day with each out-breath, just following your natural breathing pattern: breathing in and breathing out. Breathing out through the mouth helps relax all the tensions that might have built up through the day, almost like a releasing valve.

And now let’s begin our restful breathing pattern. To do this, we’ll be inhaling though the nose, and again, breathing out through the mouth.

So inhale through the nose for a count of 1, 2, 3, 4; holding the breath for 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Exhale through the mouth: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Inhale through the nose: 2, 3, 4, hold for 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Exhaling for 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Now on your own, inhaling for 4, holding the breath, and then exhaling. Now inhaling 1, 2, 3, 4, holding, now exhaling.

We’re about half way through.

Inhaling, holding, exhaling.

Inhaling, holding the breath, exhaling.

Inhaling, holding the breath, and exhaling.

The last time: inhaling, holding, and exhaling.

And now letting the breath return to its regular rhythm, not trying to change the breath in any way. Breathing in and out through the nose and allowing yourself just to completely relax here, and allowing any tensions in the body to just evaporate with each out breath, Allowing each in-breath to bring strength and courage, a new life; and every out-breath just to allow the tensions of the day that have built up to release and let go. Allow yourself to do nothing.

You can focus now on the breath, wherever it’s most prominent in the body. That may be at the tip of the nose or in the chest or in the belly, but still notice the rise and fall of each in-breath and each out-breath. And of course our minds might wander, so any time you notice your mind has wandered off, just bring it back to the focus of the breath, allowing the whole body to relax and the mind to relax as well. Allowing the mind to slow down.

You can stay here for as long as you like now, just resting, or allowing yourself to fall asleep.

Jane O’Rourke 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. Jane guides us through a 5 minute soothing sleep breathing exercise aimed at helping you to get some rest, or to get to sleep.

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