Many of us struggle to find a place in which we can disconnect from the hustle and bustle, connect with our bodies, and meaningfully meditate. Sounds, temperature, light, and floor texture can all serve as distractions. But there is an extraordinary place where you can escape virtually all environmental distractions and focus on your health and well-being: your backyard swimming pool.
Underwater, your body will feel lighter. You’ll naturally shut your eyes. There will be no distinguishable sounds. There will be no clutter. Moving water will naturally engage your body without conscious effort. All these sensory withdrawals make swimming pools an optimal place for meditation.
You’ve likely used a pool countless times for fun or exercise. However, using a pool for moving meditation requires a different approach. Here are three techniques to try out moving meditation in water:
1. Swim Slowly.
Start with a slow freestyle or breaststroke. Focus on finding a repetitive breathing pattern, rather than exerting strength or swimming distance for time. While underwater, try to exhale through the nose, which will help you to slow your breathing.
Once you’ve found your rhythm, pick a particular element (visual, auditory, or tactile) on which to focus while you swim. It could be something as simple as how it feels as your fingertips submerge with each freestyle stroke. Stay focused on this as you continue to move through the water.
Walk or swim to the middle of your pool, and then lie flat on your back and begin to float. Allow your arms and legs to naturally extend from your body. Close your eyes. Listen to the sound of moving water.
If your pool has strong water movement, using a soft cupping movement with your hands from time to time can steer you back toward the middle.
3. Practice Aqua Yoga.
Yoga in water can be much more fluid than practicing on land because of the feeling of weightlessness. To practice, you should stand in shallow water near an edge and have access to one or two pool noodles to use for various poses.
Yoga is deeply personal, so experiment with which poses work best for you as a flow. Suggested poses to try out include Half Moon, Tree, Eagle, Big Toe, and Boat.
Your first flow will likely feel clunky as you determine what poses work best for you. Once you have a routine, though, it can be a beautiful daily dance.