For people that have a hard time relaxing, sitting down to meditate can be annoying and self-defeating. There are several ways to practice meditation and it does not have to be sitting on the floor cross-legged with incense burning. Of course I am a little envious of the people that can do that. Meditation is about focus and being able to let go of the chatter that goes in in your mind. For me, this is chatter is a high speed train that doesn’t stop. I constantly have to remind myself while working on my clients to “be in the moment” and breathe and pay attention to the needs of the client. I have been practicing this mindfulness at work, but what about for “me time”?
When I was 25 years old, I went to a yoga retreat called Ananda in Northeastern California and did a work study program. I stayed there for two weeks and there I was able to meditate for up to 40 minutes! Then…I came back home. I did find a meditation group and my husband (my boyfriend at the time) and I went about three times, then the practice completely faded out for both of us. After having my two children any time I would try to meditate, it would just piss me off that I couldn’t quiet my mind, which led to self-judgment, which led to not feeling refreshed.
One activity has really allowed me to be in the moment – SWIMMING. I have done a lot of open water swimming over the summer for triathlon training and when I had specific pool workouts it was a little effective, but the best is to just go in and count how many laps you are doing in the pool. If you are not concentrating you will lose count and it brings you back to the counting so that you are not swimming forever. Not to mention that swimming is excellent for elongating all the muscles in your body, supports your lymphatic system, and increases endurance. I have found that after swimming, I am calm and mentally refreshed.
Granted it is not your typical form of meditation, but it is extremely effective in allowing you to be in the moment. So if you are anything like me and sitting and breathing makes you a little insane, this is a great place to start. You don’t have to be an athlete by any means. If you are not a great swimmer, just figure out a time where the pool is not very crowded and just focus on your rotary breathing, or backstroke is also very calming…just make sure you don’t swim into the side of the pool!
Our bodies are composed of about 70% water as adults, so just being in the water moving supports the lymphatic system and makes your body very happy.