Swimming Meditation (SwM) is a practice of bringing mindful awareness to our experience of being in water, to movement in water, and to the breath in water. The practice includes:
appreciating the healing power of water;
mindfulness of the body in water;
exploring mindful movement, yoga postures and stretching in water;
bringing mindful awareness to the breath in water
exploring swim strokes conducive to mindfulness
The practice combines attitudinal, attentional, and rhythmic elements to harmonize mind and body while stretching, walking, swimming, floating, and gliding in water. By combining mindfulness with water, SwM works synergistically, allowing for the significant health benefits of being immersed in water, swimming and mindfulness practice.
For Whom is SwM Intended?
SwM is intended for anyone who would like to enjoy the joy and health benefits of simply being in water; develop awareness, presence and focusing abilities while moving in water; harmonize mind/body in water; and enhance the swimming experience by combining it with a meditative practice. The practice can be learned on many different levels depending upon the practitioner's experience with both swimming and meditation.
What are the Benefits of SwM?
Immersion in water is well known to help allievate stress, faciliate relaxation and help heal physical injuries and illnesses. Think of the benefits of soaking in a bathtub or relaxing in a hot tub. In addition, research is showing that the effects of being in a buoyant state allow the cardiovascular system to be more efficient and aquatic activity may have major positive impacts on a variety of health conditions including diabetis, arthritis and obesity.
The health benefits of swimming are well known and include: cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, increased energy, loss of body fat, decreased depression and anxiety. Immersion in salt water has additional beneficial effects for skin, hair, sinuses and overall sense of well-being.
The research on the medicinal impact of mindfulness meditation is compelling and growing. Meditation helps to increase attention and concentration; increase mental clarity and equanimity; regulate moods; decrease anxiety; decrease depression; reduce high blood pressure; alleviate psoriasis; and alter brain waves in the direction of more positive, optimistic thinking.
Bringing mindfulness practice to water has the potential for significant healing on physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual planes.