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MeditationOcean Breathing

Ocean Breathing

Look to the ocean to inspire this visualization and breath practice with Shine's Elisha Mudly.

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There's a short poem by Nayyirah Waheed I want to share with you. It reads, "If the ocean can calm itself, so can you. We are both salt water mixed with air." When I start to feel onward and pulled in many directions, I like to imagine the ocean. The uppermost waters move around endlessly thanks to currents and wind, but beneath the surface, fish swim, whales sing, and divers explore. It's fairly still, calm, tranquil. Even when life is pulling us in a million different directions, we can find that same feeling of peace within ourselves. Today, we'll put this into practice with something called Ujjayi Breath used in yoga practice, also called Ocean Breathing. Ocean Breathing is a form of breath work that encourages calm and focus, and it can ground us in the face of a strong current. Find yourself in a comfy position where you're able to relax. If you can lie down, do so, and relax your legs with your arms rested by your side, palms up. If you can't lie down, sitting or standing is also fine. Gently close your eyes if you can. Imagine yourself sinking into the surface beneath you. Allow all your limbs to become heavy and try to give yourself over to gravity. Take a breath in, and slowly release. And allow your mind to quiet and your body to still. As you continue to breathe, allow your breath to fill your lungs deeply. Imagine a wave of air rushing in to fill you up. Feel your belly and ribcage filled with the wave on each inhale. And as you exhale, notice how your chest and belly gently fall. As the air rushes out, imagine the wave pulling back from the shore. Continue this visualization as you continue to breathe. Beautiful. Now bring your awareness to your breath and begin to breathe in and out through your mouth. Feel the air moving over the back of your throat as you breathe in. As you breathe out, whisper (exhales) as though you're trying to see your breath on a cold day. Continue to breathe in and out through your mouth, whispering (exhales) on each exhale. Let the sound remind you of ocean waves rising and falling. Notice the slight constriction at the back of your throat as you whisper (exhales). If you feel comfortable, close your mouth and begin to breathe through your nose while continuing this constriction on your exhale. Try to keep your breath even and smooth. Allow the sound of the ocean to ease and sooth your mind. I'll let you practice on your own for a while. Good job. Allow your breath to return to its normal pace. Imagine you are a small, flat stone floating on top of the ocean not too far from shore. You start to sink into the warm ocean water. The ocean currents gently rock you back and forth. As you descend and land on the sandy ocean floor, settle your attention...


Duration9 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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