A swimming pool is the perfect place for serene relaxation, and the natural choice for the practice of meditation.
When rowdy kids aren’t splashing and yelling, you can find your happy place, in the pool. Try a swimming meditation, floating meditation or seated meditation.
One of the great things about swimming is that immersed in the water, you can tune out the outside world, and tune in to the rhythm of repeated movement and breathing. There is a sensory deprivation while swimming that makes a mindful mediation easy to achieve.
Buddhist monks have practiced moving meditation for centuries, just walking. Swimming can be a moving meditation, focus on the stroke and your breathing, and let other concerns slip away…
- Swim Slowly: Save your sprints for later, this is all about rhythm.
- Count it Out: Counting your breaths, strokes or laps helps focus.
- Breathe: Deeply, in through the mouth, and out through the nose.
Surrounded and supported by buoyant water, floating softly – either on a pool float or just by yourself, is great all by itself, but when you add a mindful meditation exercise into the mix, you are truly getting the most out of your pool time.
If you find a back float uncomfortable, you can tread water with a slow eggbeater kick and gentle sculling with your hands, leaning your head back so water covers your ears. Or, just let your feet fall and softly come to rest on the pool floor.
Rest the mind, focus on the sensation of floating, and on your own breathing. Breathe deeply, and when thoughts compete for attention, let them float out of your mind…
- Back Float, in a Savasana pose, or arms out to the side.
- Tilt your head back, allow water to cover your ears.
- Cover the eyes, with sunglasses or a small towel to block the sun.
A shady spot next to any pool of water can be the perfect spot to practice meditation. Mixing in some pool yoga stretches can help keep focus, while concentrating on the pose.
A swim out or large bench can be the perfect spot to sit in chest high water. Sitting on the top step or the second step of pool entry steps is another good spot. You can sit on a yoga mat or a pool noodle, for rough or hard surfaces.
- Get Comfortable: No need for the Lotus position, sit however you like.
- Breathe Deeply: Long and slow. Try a few Pranayama breathing techniques.
- Flowing Water: A small pool fountain, or set a hose on the edge of the pool.
Start slowly, practicing for 10 minutes, eventually working up to 30 minute sessions. Remember that it’s a ‘practice’, so don’t beat yourself up when your mind wanders. Gently bring your focus back to your breathing, letting other thoughts drift away…
With a smartphone or tablet you can download one of the many meditation apps available, for a guided meditation.
Get your Calm On, America!