An Enchanting Mindfulness Book for Children with Neha Swaminathan

Posted by Bijal Shah on

Neha Swaminathan is an author, certified breath coach and the co-founder of Flip and Flow', an emotional well-being brand that creates and delivers easy-to-implement mindfulness tools for its clients
When I first met Neha and she introduced me to Flip and Flow's mindful meditation and mantra book for kids aptly titled " "Once Upon A Breath....In A Magical Forest", I was stunned by its creativity, design and ability to engage children into a delightful series of short breathing exercises, meditations and affirmations. I had to get the low-down on how her and her co-founder Tina managed to design something so versatile and therapeutically unique for kids.
We did a short Q&A chat with Neha to find out more. Here's what Neha shared with us and why we're super excited about how Flip & Flow's wonderful mindfulness book can help young children navigate their own mental well-being.

Q: The Flip and Flow meditations and mantra flipbook, that you aptly call "Once Upon A Breath....In A Magical Forest", is such a genius idea. With its gorgeous illustrations, thoughtful prompts for breath and mindfulness for little children and the clever 'calendar-flip' design - I am curious as to what led you to creating it and what you would like young children to get out of it?

A: Thank you so much for your kind words - we really do believe every detail matters, so the Flip & Flow you see today is an evolution of concepts driven by heart-centred design. We spent 18 months exploring, playing, testing and iterating our ideas - but the essence has always been to bring a little “luxurious tranquility” to your bedside table - and spark mindful, wellbeing rituals that have lifelong ripple effects. 

We both love art and science - so we consciously created this magic blend - we wanted to give you something you want to see before you sleep - and you feel happy waking up to…something to treasure, that helps you find that mindful moment when you need one. 

With my Mum hat on - I knew it had to be playful - and yet practical! I had a few mindfulness card decks and papers - and many lost under the bed or with corners chewed off - and I was determined to create something different. 

We both understood the importance of self-agency - and how stories are a powerful tool for learning - so we set out to design “create-your-own” mini meditations, mantras and poems that were built around our 3 pillars of  breathwork, imaginative stories and neuroscience.

With our debut edition - our mission is to help children have a safe, welcoming space that guides them to explore their inner emotional landscape; learn how to express themselves and develop a growth mindset. Being able to self-regulate is a superpower - and it all starts with a breath… 

We’re really proud to have just won a Bronze Junior Design Award for Best designed children’s book! 


Q: You met your co-founder, Tina, on a Seth Godin workshop on creativity - you describe  that meeting as one of chance that led to this wonderful creation. She is based in the US and you here in the UK. How did you guys collaborate on this wonderful project and what was the book creation process like? Would love to learn about your journey including the highs and lows of the process.

Yes it’s quite crazy actually, how we feel like we’ve known each other forever, but we’ve not met in person yet! I met Tina in a virtual 100 day Creatives workshop led by author and entrepreneur Seth Godin in 2020… I took a leap of faith signing up to that - I was feeling quite lost (having left my corporate career in Investment Banking and becoming a mother to 3 children within 3 years!) so I followed my heart which was seeking direction, clarity and motivation to really act on the million ideas I had in my head! 

Tina had come along a totally different path of her own in the US - a curious and multi-passionate wanderer like me, and I still remember the first time I heard her voice teaching the Ocean breathing technique to our group… I felt like she spoke to my soul! 

I was just forming my first venture - Little Zen Rebels - curating and creating Mindful Toolkits for children - and Tina had launched her own Breathwork coaching business Luna Zen - so I asked her if she’d like to collaborate and make something that helps teach kids how breathing can be their superpower… The synergy was amazing - we just started spinning this web of ideas that kept growing, and over zoom calls and spreadsheets we wrote our book! We are both creative problem solvers - we relish in the challenge of bringing something to life - and that  passion and slight rebelliousness is what kept us going amongst the countless rejections from manufacturers. We were told not to pursue our design idea, and by a publisher that “it won’t work - we need things to fit neatly into a category”. We tried looking into hybrid publishing too, but nothing seemed to support our vision in bringing this unique, hybrid flipbook to life. We tested it with children, and we could see the sparkle in their eyes as they got to turn the cards and create new scenes… THAT was far more important to us than what a publisher said - so we took the plunge to self-publish it, and fund the production ourselves. 

It is extremely tricky navigating the publishing world alone - and across two totally different countries - so we are each like a “one-man-band” in our own regions… We have to often remind ourselves that there is only so much we can do alone, so we have to be patient and take one step at a time. We’ve had demand from many other countries, but as of now logistics and distribution is complicated and expensive… we will get there one day! 

Despite other responsibilities, we remain dedicated to our passion project - and often have to resort to whatsapp voice notes to communicate with each other, as we can’t seem to sync up in real time as much any more. But where there is a will, there is a way… 

Q: You are also a certified breathing coach - can you tell us a little more about what that entails? 

Yes so I certified as a Breath Coach after being fascinated by the power of breathing exercises for years, and feeling compelled to dive deeper into the science and physiology so that I can further empower others.  

Driven by a deep curiosity into neuroscience and the nervous system - I can now teach 3 different categories of breathing exercises, that use the rate and rhythm of every inhaled and exhaled breath to create optimal states in the mind and body: 

I explain them as follows

  1. Revitalise - boost metabolism, increase focus, clarity and energy.
  2. Rebalance - bring you back to a calm, centered state.
  3. Relax - help your mind and body to release tension and go into a restorative, restful state. 

I love finding ways to help people - and especially children - practise breathing and calming somatic practises in the busyness of everyday life. 

I like the way James Nestor calls breathing - “the science of a lost art”  

Q: You are a mum of three - how do you use the Once Upon A Breath....In A Magical Forest flip book with your kids? Have you noticed any changes in them since they have been using the book?

The book has become part of our bedtime ritual - we have always read books at bedtime (it’s my favorite part of the day!) but this is different.  The Flip & Flow sparks mindful conversations and brings us all together in a harmonious way. 

My daughter is now 7, and the twins are 4 - and we take turns to flip a card each to create a sequence. It’s really nice that we get to build something together and everyone feels like they have a part to play. This idea of self-agency is intrinsic to our design, and is linked to connection and cooperation, which are ultimately the pillars of finding calm! But this is not about getting them “to be quiet” by any means. It’s actually about helping them to open up and learn self-awareness, expression and self-regulation. 

Sometimes my daughter likes to do it on her own and she uses it to journal or doodle.  

We often end up talking about happy memories (especially with the golden sunset card) and negative experiences. Both are a crucial part of integrating the left and right sides of the brain as children grow. 

I find bedtime can be really tricky with all three. The Flip & Flow book helps us to find that happy connection point, guiding our conversations and mood towards positivity and calm. 


Q: Where can people get your book? 
We are currently stocked in Brent Cross Shopping Centre, in the Pop Up United store - which is a collective of creative small businesses. (It is on the ground floor in the mall, on the right as you come out of John Lewis)
Online you can buy the book on our website  (And US orders go to
We are also a founding ambassador on a new digital department store called KiddyKind, dedicated to making conscious shopping for kids more convenient: 
Q: What's next for you in terms of next book/new projects?
As we look forward to working in partnership with educators and therapists with this book,  we are really excited about designing the next edition for adults, which will then be followed by a version for teens. Our dream is for the Flip & Flow series to grow with your family, and support you in different stages of your wellbeing journey. 
Please subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know when these will be released!
We’ll also be adding new Meditative Stories and Mindful Moment audio sound bites on our Spotify channel: “Breathe ~ Empower ~ Flow”, for both adults and children, so you can tune in anytime, anywhere. 
As we are both passionate breathwork coaches, we are keen to teach people various mind-body-breath techniques and practices to help them feel revived; rebalanced and rested, so we plan to launch courses and workshops next year. 
So, this is really just the beginning :) 

Thank you Neha for sharing your story, it's truly inspiring and powerful and we can already see how impactful it is with little readers, especially my own kids, four-year-old Roshan and five-year-old Arianna. We are now looking forward to the family editions for adults and teenagers!

You might also enjoy the following articles:

Bibliotherapy Techniques - What Are They and Do They Work?

The Best Books of 2022 So Far...

Bibliotherapy: The Magical Healing Quality of Literature

How Can Re-writing Your Narrative Help You Gain Closure

Meet Talya Bruck - The Founder of Savanna Therapeutic Stories


And also our online course:

Bibliotherapy, Literature & Mental Health


A big hello and thank you for reading! Passionate about literature, psychology, and life I launched Book Therapy as an alternative form of therapy using the power of literature. I train mental health professionals, librarians, teachers as well as readers on using bibliotherapy in their own work through our online Bibliotherapy, Literature and Mental Health course. We also curate reading lists/personalised book prescriptions for clients based on their individual needs. This is our signature personalised reading service.

You can also check out Book Therapy’s other free reading lists and A- Z of book prescriptions (covering both fiction and non-fiction). These suggest books based on your existing life situation (e.g. anxiety, job change, relationship heartache) as well as interests (e.g memoir, historical fiction, non-fiction, crime etc). There’s also a Children’s A — Z of Book Prescriptions. Feel free to check out the blog for more literary gems. There’s also a post on my personal story of how I entered the world of bibliotherapy and book curation.

In this role, I have had the opportunity to publish a book called The Happiness Mindset, and write various literary essays and pieces for newspapers and magazines. I have undertaken bibliotherapy workshops for The United Nations, various libraries in New York and corporate organisations in the UK and US. My book recommendations have featured in the Guardian, Marie Claire, NBC News, Asian Voice, New York Observer, Sydney Telegraph and various other publications. If you are a parent you might enjoy a podcast I’ve recorded with speech and language therapist Sunita Shah on Raising A Reader & Storyteller. And if you’d like to connect, email me at or

Book Therapy is a participant in the Amazon EU, US and Canada Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to, and

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.