Just Breathe

Meditation, Mindfulness, Movement, and More


By Mallika Chopra

Illustrated by Brenna Vaughan

Foreword by Deepak Chopra, MD

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$16.99 CAD


  1. Trade Paperback $12.99 $16.99 CAD
  2. ebook $9.99 $12.99 CAD
  3. Audiobook Download (Unabridged)

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around August 28, 2018. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

For kids ages 8 to 12, this is an accessible and fun meditation and mindfulness how-to book filled with full-color illustrations, written by Mallika Chopra and with a foreword by Deepak Chopra.

Just Breathe is a fun and accessible, fully illustrated go-to meditation guide written by none other than Mallika Chopra, wellness expert and the daughter of Deepak Chopra. For kids ages 8 to 12, this book is full of specific exercises to help deal with day-to-day challenges and tips to lead a healthier, happier, and more connected life. The book includes practical advice on breathing techniques and guided meditations for a number of topics and scenarios, including:
  • Dealing with stress
  • Getting to sleep
  • Building self-confidence
  • Focusing on school/tests/other work
  • Ridding oneself of anxiety

Beginners will learn the basics of meditation and how to get started, and those more experienced will learn how to improve their practice. This book will also teach kids how to prepare their own meditation spaces. Just Breathe is the go-to book for kids who want to learn more about mindfulness and meditation.



Do you have a place where you feel safe, happy, and quiet?

Perhaps it’s a physical space—somewhere in your home, a hidden corner that no one else knows about, or a place outside where you can run, twirl, and laugh without any worries.

Perhaps it’s not a physical space, but instead is the time you spend with a friend, a sibling, or a parent? Maybe it’s those moments you chat with your sister before you both fall asleep, or when you throw a baseball with a friend and the time flies by.

Or, perhaps it is when you are by yourself, reading, drawing, or daydreaming about nothing in particular—moments when your mind and body feel rested, when you’re not thinking about the past or worried about the future.

Maybe you are thinking that you don’t have that place in your life…

And you are wondering if you even need it.

Research shows that when you find that quiet place, your body and brain are healthier, you feel more in control, and you are happier. And for many people, being able to feel that peace inside of themselves helps them worry less and deal better with tough situations.

The intent of this book is to help you find an anchor, inside yourself, that is safe, happy, and quiet—and to help you tap into it, and find it, whenever you need it.

Who Am I, and Why Am I Writing This Book?

My name is Mallika.

I am a mom of two girls named Tara and Leela. While I am writing this book, Tara is fifteen years old and Leela is twelve. Everything in this book is from our personal experience.

When I was nine years old, my parents taught my younger brother and me how to meditate. I will explain meditation more in the following pages, but basically it was a way that I could quiet my mind, feel less stressed, and feel more in control of my life. There are lots of other practices in this book that have helped me and my girls deal with stress, sleep better, manage friendships, be more in control, and feel confident about expressing what we want.

I feel grateful for the wisdom that my parents passed on to me and that I can pass on those ideas to my kids, their friends, their parents, and others who may be interested. I hope you find them helpful, too. I hope as you read and practice them that you share your experiences with the people closest to you. In fact, you may find that you can help others in ways you didn’t know you could before!

What Are We Talking about Here?

There are certain techniques that can help you feel better. The four main techniques are called meditation, mindfulness, yoga, and motivation.

You may have heard these words from your parents, from a teacher at school, or from people in the media, but you may not be exactly sure what they really are. Here are some super quick descriptions for you:

Meditation helps you quiet your mind.

Mindfulness helps you become more aware of your body, thoughts, and surrounding environment.

Yoga moves your body to let go of tension, breathe, relax, be more connected, and get more energy.

Motivation is using positive thoughts to feel happier and to achieve your goals.

Intents are also an important part of meditation and mindfulness. An intent expresses what you want in your life. It’s different from the material things you may want, like new clothes or video games or tickets to an event. Rather, it is the qualities you want to experience every day—like being healthy, happy, and connected to friends and family.

Perhaps you have tried some of these techniques without even knowing it! Maybe your teacher has you breathe in and out before a test. Maybe your sports coach asks you to close your eyes and envision winning a game before you play. Perhaps your mom asks you to notice how you feel after you are mean to your younger sibling or friend. Perhaps you twist and stretch, turn and balance, and then lie down at the end of a dance class to relax your muscles. Maybe you say a prayer during your religious holidays where you ask for health and happiness for your friends and family.

Just because it’s easy to do these things doesn’t mean they aren’t powerful.

Believe it or not, sometimes just taking a deep breath or thinking about what you are grateful for can change your whole day (and improve your whole life)!

What Is Stress?

Stress is when your mind and body don’t feel good.

Stress comes in lots of forms:




When you are stressed, different things happen to you:

You may have trouble breathing.

Your heart beats faster.

Your hands and body begin to sweat.

Your body tenses up.

Your mind gets foggy.

And if you are stressed a lot, your body reacts by getting tired, overwhelmed, and sometimes sick. Perhaps you get headaches or have trouble sleeping. Or, you can get sad and depressed and feel hopeless at times.

If, as a kid, you can learn to manage your stress early on, not only can you get through your days better, but you will set the stage to be healthier and happier when you grow up!

Understanding Your Brain and Your Body

Let’s take a moment and understand how your brain and body react to stress.

Thousands of years ago, humans had to survive with little shelter and to protect themselves against wild animals and extreme weather. When early humans were confronted with dangerous situations, their bodies and brains went into survival mode.

So, say you, as an early human, came across an angry tiger! Your body would immediately get ready to fight or run away! This is called the fight-or-flight response.

Your brain, sensing danger, would make your heart beat faster, send more blood to your muscles, and tell you to breathe faster so that you would have the strength and energy to escape or fight! Once you had dealt with the situation, your body and brain would return to normal, and you then would rest to recover.

Or, if you were really scared, perhaps you would just freeze, and well then, you would really be in trouble. You would hold your breath and your body would shake with fear.

Fast-forward to today. Most of us are not in the wild, fighting angry tigers. Danger may not seem as dramatic, but your body and brain still react in this same way. When someone is mean to you on the playground, when you don’t know how to solve a math problem, or when your parents are fighting, you still may feel vulnerable. And so your brain may react by sending the chemicals to the body to fight off the situation or to just freeze. This creates a sense of stress and tension, and even though inside you may feel that it’s dangerous, it is not as real as fighting a wild tiger. But your body doesn’t realize that! It reacts the same way as it would in that situation. And often you don’t take the time to let your body and brain recover after the “danger” has gone away.

Instead of just letting your brain react automatically to a situation—like that fight-or-flight or freeze reaction—you can help your brain take a pause and react smarter and calmer, and then come up with better solutions to handling difficult situations.

If you know how to deal with stress, then when someone calls you a bad name, or when you feel you have too much homework, or when you are left out of a group situation, you won’t automatically get upset or depressed. You know, instead, that you can access that safe, happy place to make a better plan. And you don’t let the stress build up! Instead, you give your brain and body time to rest and recover, and to stay strong.

How Meditation Can Help You

Meditation teaches your brain how to stay calm in stressful situations. It helps you find that quiet, safe, and happy place inside yourself and to get to it whenever you need it.

This is how meditation works: Your mind is usually racing with thoughts. One thought makes you think another thought, which makes you think another thought. When you meditate, you slow down racing thoughts. You create more peace inside. You realize that you can control your reactions or choose your next thoughts.

Meditation helps you pause.

So when you are in a panicked situation, as long as you don’t have to escape a wild tiger, you can take a moment to think if there is a better solution.

Meditation also gives your brain rest.

When you rest your brain, like when you rest your body when you sleep, your brain works better. When your brain is rested, you can make better decisions.

So meditation can help you feel more in control of immediate stressful situations, but, more importantly it can make you stronger for longer-term challenges.

Building a Habit

When you do something over and over again, it becomes easier to do. That’s why when you try new things, you have to practice to get better and soon things become easier. Like when you are learning to ride a bike, it may take a while to figure out how to balance—and how you can move and balance at the same time. With more practice, you find that you can easily ride a bike.

With the exercises in this book, you need to have practice and have patience. The more you do the exercises, the easier they will become.

Think of a peaceful forest that no one has ever visited. At first there is no clear path for you to walk down. You need to clear the way, and it may be difficult to make it through the bushes, the mud, and other things. But with each walk down the same way, the path becomes clearer and easier to walk on.

Your body and mind are similar to a path in the woods. Your mind can be full of stress and worries. Your body can feel tension that builds up. The first time you try some of these exercises it may even feel a bit weird. But if you find it helpful at all, know that the more you do it, the easier it gets.

How to Do the Exercises in This Book

One of the most important lessons of this book is to learn how to relax.

While doing the exercises to come, remember: don’t get nervous about doing them in any exact way. Your body will always make sure you breathe. Your mind will always have racing thoughts. You can’t really be bad at breathing, meditating, or moving!

The point of this book is to give you some exercises and tips on how you can use your breath to calm down and to feel more in control of your thoughts.

Think of this book as a map. It will help guide you to different places, but sometimes you may choose a different path. That is okay.

In fact, it’s great!

Part of the goal of this book is to help you find your own voice and your own path—to know how your body and mind react to situations and to know how you can manage your own situations better.

For the exercises in this book, choose one at a time. Read the exercise first. Then, put the book aside and try it by yourself.


You may want to ask a parent, caretaker, sibling, or friend to read the exercise to you and then do it with them.

Don’t worry if you do it a different way. And if you forget how to do it, even in the middle of doing it, you can just look at the book again!

When you want to time yourself, you can use a clock or alarm with a sound that is soothing to you. If the exercise says to do it for five minutes, and you decide you are done after two minutes, that’s perfectly fine. Or you may find you want to do it for fifteen minutes. That’s okay, too!

You may also find it helpful to write notes or draw how you feel after doing an exercise or jot down what you learned about while doing it. It may be helpful to keep a journal of your reflections and to set intents (what you want) for the future. It can always be fun and enlightening to look back at these, remembering some of your struggles and what practices helped you on your journey. It is empowering to know that you have grown, overcome challenges, and solved problems.

Some exercises may be helpful, and some you may want to skip. That, too, is okay. Do whatever feels most comfortable for you.


Let’s do an exercise to think about when you feel happy and safe. Read through the exercise first, and then try it by yourself. It’s all right if you don’t remember the exact sequence, as you can adjust it to do what’s most comfortable for you. (Note: this is one of the longest exercises in the book!)

Time Needed: 15 MINUTES


It may be helpful to close your eyes.

Take a deep breath.

Breathe in. Pause for a second. And now breathe out.

Notice how you are sitting. Is your body relaxed or tense?

Breathe in and think RELAX.

And breathe out again.

Imagine a time when you felt really happy. When you felt loved, full of energy, excited, but also peaceful. Perhaps it was at a birthday party or on the sports field or watching a movie with your family. Or maybe it was just a time when you were hanging out with friends. If it is hard for you to think of any time, then create a time. Think about where you would be and what kind of people would surround you.

Now, choose just one time. SEE where you are. Are you inside or outside? Who is around you? Do you remember what you were wearing? Or simply make up your outfit. Just see it in your head.

HEAR where you are. What sounds can you hear? Is there music on? Or is it quiet? Even in the quiet, can you hear sounds in nature or the everyday sounds of your school or house? Are people talking?

SMELL where you are. It may sound funny but try to focus on what it smells like. Maybe you remember the unique perfume your grandmother wears or you can smell the trees that surround you.


  • Included in Best Spiritual Books of 2018 List, Spirituality & Practice
  • "A solid addition to collections in need of meditation and mindfulness titles for tweens."—School Library Journal
  • "Adults sharing mindfulness with children and preteens will find a treasure trove of scripts for guided practice."—Kirkus Reviews
  • "Just Breathe is a gift for the whole family. With fun illustrations and simple steps, this book will empower you to feel more in control, to genuinely connect with others, and to approach life with peace and joy."—--Dr. Shefali Tsabary, Clinical Psychologist & author of the New York Times bestsller The Conscious Parent
  • "Just Breathe is the book I wish I had growing up."—Tara Stiles, founder of Strala Yoga
  • "Chopra opens the door to a direct discovery of how good it feels to be less anxious, healthier, and experience a more balanced way of life. Starting meditation young, in adolescence, is a lifelong set up for health peace and thriving."—Dr. Lisa Miller, author of The Spiritual Child: The New Science of Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving, and professor & founder, Spirituality and Mind-Body Institute, Columbia University, Teachers College
  • "A charming and engaging book of life skills that speaks directly to tweens themselves, not through intermediaries like their parents or teachers. Mallika's wonderful new book is an essential addition to your child's bookshelf!"—Susan Kaiser Greenland, author of Mindful Games and The Mindful Child
  • "I wish I had learned to Just Breathe when I was younger. The lessons inside are priceless, and you will be able to use them for the rest of your life. All kids - and all adults - should read it."—--Cara Natterson, pediatrician and New York Times bestselling author of The Care and Keeping of You series
  • "Just Breathe will help you find the inner power to better connect with friends and family, be healthier and happier, and succeed at what you want to do."—Congressman Tim Ryan
  • "Mallika Chopra has become a trusted voice as an author and public speaker. She and Vaughan make an excellent team. Their two joint offerings so far, Just Breathe and Just Feel, provide a stable basis for children to face into a challenging world with plenty of creativity, flexibility, caring, and self-understanding."

    Spiritualityand Practice

On Sale
Aug 28, 2018
Page Count
128 pages
Running Press Kids

Mallika Chopra

About the Author

Mallika Chopra is a mom, media entrepreneur, public speaker, and published author. Her most recent book, Living With Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace and Joy, was published in April 2015. Mallika is the founder of Intentblog.com, a platform focused on personal, social, and global wellness. Mallika has taught meditations to thousands of people. She enjoys speaking to audiences around the world, including TedX and the Women’s Conferences. She has shared ideas on balance and purpose at many companies, including Coca Cola, Disney, LinkedIn and Google. Mallika’s writing and work have been featured in many publications including Time.com, Self Magazine, Women’s Health, Prevention Magazine, OWN, Glamour, Oprah.com, Mind Body Green, the LA Times, and Huffington Post. She currently is featured in Time Magazine’s Special Issue on Mindfulness.

Learn more about this author