Dip into the cool water
Become aware of the temperature against your skin
Settle, and start to move, gently cutting through the water
Find a steady rhythm in body and breath
And soon you begin to to feel it…the flow
The external noise subsides, stiffness in the body releases, the stresses of the mind ebb away
Time has slowed, space around you and inside you has expanded.
As you flow and glide, flow and glide, flow and glide.
Cocooned in this beautiful rhythm, you withraw from all that does not matter, fully present in the moment. Where nothing else exists but you and your breath.
Often overlooked is the meditative power of swimming. In an age when we want harder, faster, higher intensity, more more more, new fads and exciting workouts… swimming can seem boring or dull- a bit of a waste of exercise time..surely better to go for a jog or do a HIT session ?? Not so!
We need as much slow as we do fast in life! In terms of exercise, slow, gentle and moderate exercise helps to rebalance our hormones, switch on airplane mode and reduce the negative impact of high cortisol levels produced through too much stress,chronic low level stress or over-exercising. This is massively important for all aspects of health from metabolism to mental wellbeing. Swimming and walking are excellent practices of moving meditation. You can do it yourself, any time, you are not limited by a class or a teacher, and its free/ affordable
So how to swim meditatively? Here are some ideas:
Slow it down. Its not a race. Its not cardio training. Its about your breath and body movement. So find a space that you feel you can slow down and relax into a steady stroke
Focus on one aspect of your stroke
Once you’ve warmed up and are in a steady rhythm, start to bring some mindfulness into your practice. Focus on one aspect of your stroke. Here are some things I do:
- Count my breaths..1,2,3 breathe…1,2,3,breathe…1,2,3,breathe…
- Focus only on the sound of the bubbles
- Feel the movement of my arms…how my elbow lifts, fingers slice the water, pull back against the water, lift,slice,pullback,lift,slice,pull back…
- Feel the rotation in my body…rolling side to side with my breath
- Focus on my exhalation …the steady flow of air through the nose, hearing the bubbles, counting the breath, prolonging the exhale.
There is no right or wrong. Take your time to find your practice. You might not find it straight away. Just keep trying. Of course, the better your swimming technique the more powerful the meditative effect. So look into some coaching if you feel you are getting frustrated with your technique.