When you close your eyes and picture yourself meditating, what do you see? Do you see yourself sitting on the floor, perhaps on a comfy cushion, in a sunny room? Perhaps you like to meditate in your favorite chair in your bedroom or living room? Perhaps there’s a spot underneath the trees in your backyard that you love best?
There’s no wrong place to meditate, except maybe in the driver’s seat of a moving car! And while the options above are all great, I strongly suggest that you give water meditation a try. For me, there’s nothing quite like floating on my back in the ocean to give me a deep sense of awe and being. Something about the combination of the waves, the sun and the huge expanse of sea and sky is simply divine.
If you’ve never meditated in the water, here are five reasons to do just that:
The feeling of weightlessness is very zen
When you are floating on your back in the ocean, staring up at the sky, the salty waves rolling over your skin, there is a certain soothing, calming aura that surrounds you. This environment is absolutely perfect for meditation. You can achieve a similar effect floating in a lake; the hum of dragonflies and the rustling sounds of trees are zen incarnate.
If you’re floating in a pool, it can be very zen as well. An outdoor pool would be preferable to an indoor one, but we take whichever water environment we can get!
You need to be present and attuned to your body while floating
Floating on you back, and letting the buoyancy of your body take effect, is an exercise both in effort and lack of effort — much like meditation itself. You need to “let go” in order to float properly. You also need to be aware of your body without tensing up. Doing this with your body can put you in the perfect frame of mind to keep your thoughts centered and present.
You can align your breath with the waves
This one is especially amazing. If you are floating in the ocean, you can actually synchronize your breath with the waves. If the waves are slow, you may even get one breath per wave. If they are faster or slower, you can still get your breath in tune with the wave rhythm. This can add an astounding cosmic element to your meditation session. You’ll actually be breathing along with nature.
If you’re outside, you’ll be soaking in vitamin D
If you meditate in an outdoor setting (such as in an ocean, lake or river) on a sunny day, you’ll have the added benefit of soaking in the sun’s warming and healing rays. We get most of our vitamin D from the sun. This vitamin is important for not only boosting your mood, but also improving the health of your immune system and skeletal system. Since the health of your body and mind are intertwined, this is key.
A water atmosphere is great for letting go of intrusive thoughts
Anyone who has ever meditated knows that the one thing that often gets in the way of being in the present moment is an intrusion by a swarm of thoughts. A big part of meditation is learning to recognize these thoughts and then letting them go without judgment. If you are in the water while you are meditating, you have a perfect metaphor surrounding you.
Recognize the intrusive thought, and then let it float away into the water. Imagine each thought being released from your body and into the water, where it can dissolve and again become a part of nature. This makes for perfect meditation guidance.
So, what are you waiting for? If you live near an ocean, it may be high time to get to the water and give water meditation a try. It’s smart to bring a meditation buddy or two so that one person can watch and make sure you don’t float out too far. If you live near a lake or river, pack some healthy snacks and get on out there! If you don’t happen to live near a body of water, strongly consider visiting one for your next vacation!
What’s your favorite place to enjoy water meditation?
— Meditation Daily