Dr. Willard has been practicing meditation for over 20 years, and teaching for almost as long. His thoughts on mental health have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, mindful.org, cnn.com, and elsewhere.

Mindfulness for Kids 5: Ocean Breathing

with Dr. Christopher Willard & Hunter Clarke-Fields

Join Hunter Clarke-Fields and Dr. Christopher Willard in this special series of mindfulness practices for kids! Mindfulness offers kids a powerful tool for managing the pressures of school, peer relationships, and the increasing digital distractions, ultimately promoting their overall emotional intelligence and promoting a healthier, more balanced approach to life. 

[Mindfulness For Kids 5] Ocean Breathing

Read the Transcript 🡮

*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Hunter: You're listening to a Mindfulness for Kids episode of the Mindful Parenting Podcast. Today, we're practicing ocean breathing.

Welcome to the Mindful Parenting Podcast. Here, it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent or kid. I'm your host, Hunter Clark Fields. I help smart Thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong connected relationships with their children. I'm the creator of the Mindful Parenting course and I'm the author of the best selling book Raising Good Humans and Now Raising Good Humans Every Day.

I'm joined by Dr. Christopher Willard, clinical psychologist, author, and dad. He is the author of 20 books including Alpha Breaths and Growing Up Mindful. Both of us have been practicing mindfulness for over 20 years and we are so excited to share the benefits. That's with you.

Chris, welcome back to the Mindfulness for Kids sessions of the Mindful Parenting podcast. Can you believe we are on our fifth session? This is so exciting. Oh my gosh.

[00:01:05] Dr. Chris Willard: And you're listening to us week after week.

[00:01:07] Hunter: Week after week, we have walked through the C A L M, calming our body. We have settled. We have visualized clouds.

I remember that I visualized an elephant cloud and I liked that so much. What are we doing this week, Chris?

[00:01:26] Dr. Chris Willard: Oh, we do a little breath visualization. People are always like, isn't mindfulness about breathing? And I kind of actually like to not start with breathing because it's sort of a surprise for people sometimes.

We're ready to go for some breathing. How's that? How's that sound to you?

[00:01:38] Hunter: I love breathing. I think it's a real benefit to humanity. We should breathe.

[00:01:44] Dr. Chris Willard: Everyone should breathe. All right. Sounds good. Well, this is another one we can do. Um, I'll just invite all of our listeners. You can do this standing up, you can do it sitting.

I kind of like this one laying down, but, but sitting also works too. Really anything. As always, whatever you're comfortable with. If you want to close your eyes, that's, that's perfectly fine. If you feel better keeping them open or just sort of resting downward, that's okay too. Well, let's just start by noticing our breath.

And often people tell me breathing is a little bit boring, but let's actually get curious about our breath.

The sensations of our breath,

the sounds of our breath

as it goes in, out,

as our belly goes up and back down.

You might even notice the sounds and sensations and rhythm of the breath. It's kind of like waves in the ocean.

Let's just imagine. Our breath is like waves.

I'm just studying the waves, like watching the waves at the beach. Always calms me down.

I'm just watching the waves of my breath.

Just like in the ocean, some breaths are a little bit longer,

and other breaths are a little bit slower.

Some breaths, just like some waves, are a little bit rough and choppy.

That can tell us about our mood.

Some breaths are a little bit smoother, softer.

That can tell us things too,

not even changing our breath. Some breaths are Deeper.

Some breaths are more shallow. Some

breaths are longer. Lower. Faster. Shorter. Just like waves of the ocean.

And your mind will wander off. That's just what it does.

So just recognizing when it does, coming back to the sensations.

Your belly rising and falling like waves. Coming back to sounds. Like the crashing waves.

Watching your breath like you're watching the waves. As they wash away worries and thoughts,

and just like the waves keep coming, your breath too just keeps coming one, after the next, after the next.

And you can begin to let go of watching, feeling, or listening to your breath like the waves. And maybe raise your eyes a little bit, take a look back around. And just knowing anytime you're feeling overwhelmed, you can just come back to your breath without even changing your breath. Feeling your breath, hearing your breath, seeing your breath, just like waves in the ocean at your favorite beach.

[00:06:40] Hunter: I like this one a lot, Chris, because I grew up pretty close to the ocean in Rhode Island, and so the ocean is a very calming, soothing place for me, so I feel very calmed and soothed by this. But I wanted to ask you about one thing you said. Which was, everyone's mind wanders, so it's okay for our minds to wander when we're following our breath.

Is that what I'm getting from you? We

[00:07:05] Dr. Chris Willard: are absolutely getting that. If your breath hasn't wandered, you probably just haven't noticed that you've been doing these practices with us these past few weeks. I think they say it wanders 48 percent of the time, it's wandering. So you're in good company. Even as I'm leading these practices, I'm thinking, what beach do I wish I was?

Oh, right back to the beach, right? So it's totally

[00:07:27] Hunter: normal. And I just want to reiterate, and if you're a kid listening, your mind might wander. But even if you're a mom or dad or caregiver listening, your mind might be wandering too, and that's normal.

[00:07:44] Dr. Chris Willard: Absolutely. And this one also can help, you know, if you are a kid or a grown up, if you want to put your hands on your belly or put a little boat on your belly to feel it a little bit more moving up and down, like with the waves, that's, that's kind of a fun one too.

Yeah, variation.

[00:07:58] Hunter: That's so cool. You'll have to re listen to this. Put the boat on your belly. Thank you for coming. This was really, really nice one. I love it.

[00:08:08] Dr. Chris Willard: Oh good. I was so glad.

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