Happy 2018 – Day 194 – Mindful Swimming

As the UK is currently enjoying having a heat wave at present, I thought it was a good opportunity to get myself back to the swimming baths.

I LOVE water. At least in the pool. I love the sea/ocean too, but Jaws really did a number on me.

I used to swim regularly a few times a week, but as often happens, I was put off by my own labored approach. My trip to the baths became about swimming for a mile. And if I didn’t do a mile, it wasn’t good enough. I blame my inherited German work ethic. Mr. G says there’s ‘nothing fun that I can’t make into hard work!’ Anyway, after a while, it did become a bit of a chore. It became something that I had to do to stay fit and slim, rather than something I wanted do to because I enjoyed it. ‘Swim Rage’ was also a common occurrence when the baths were busy and I just couldn’t get my lengths done in time. Not quite the happy, energetic start to the day I’d envisioned!

Thankfully, those days are behind me. Nowadays when I exercise, I do things that I enjoy. Staying fit and slim is a great bonus, but my focus is just on doing something that I really like doing.

When I swim, my focus is on having fun and feeling great! 

Right from the off, I do a pencil jump in and get utterly soaked. It wakes me right up, as well as making me feel like a naughty child as the other adults swim by, not a hair out of place.

Depending on the day, how I feel and how jam packed it is, I mix up the lengths I do.

I might start with a super fast length. I’ll challenge myself to catch up to someone, or do the length before a time on the clock. My heart is sometimes beating out of my chest at the end of these lengths. I feel strong, powerful and incredibly alive.

Then maybe I’ll throw in a Gratitude length. I’ll ask myself what I’m really grateful for that day and overall. I’ll look forward to challenges and opportunities I have ahead.

My favourite length is the meditation length. As I swim, I explore my senses. I feel and hear the water lapping against my ears; tickling me gently. I feel the power of the water along with the power of my hands as I mindfulness push this away with my stroke. I smell the chlorine in the water. I stroke the water with my fingers, then my palm, feeling the difference. The water is a blanket that I wrap myself in.

When I really pay attention to the water, I feel that I’m soaking up its magnificent power. As cheesy as it might sound, I’ve come back more than once from the local baths, feeling that I’ve experienced some kind of spiritual awakening; that I have indeed become the water around me.

As Bruce Lee said, “Water can flow or it can crash.” Water can be calm, soft and gentle, but it can be ferocious too.

Spending time with the water; tuning into your experience as you swim can be a magical experience. It’s one of my favourite ‘Active Meditations’. It leaves me feeling a sense of quiet calm, confidence and contentment. Even better if I can drive home in the Sunshine with wet hair and windows open. Must be that mischievous streak again!

If you’re planning on hitting the baths this Summer, try mixing it up a little; focus on having a great time. Just remember – ‘bombing’ is frowned upon!

 

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