Meditation & Swimming
What is Mindful Meditation
Mindful meditation is the practice of actually being present in the moment, which in turn trains us to become more mindful throughout the day, particularly during difficult situations.
How Does It Help Swimmers?
During practice mindfulness can be used to help swimmers stay focused and in the flow, which increases body awareness. During competition it has been shown useful in lowering heart rate, decreasing stress, while increasing relaxation... thus optimizing performance. Because it helps induce the relaxation response, lowering heart rate, relaxing muscles, and counteracting the harmful effects of stress on the body, it is proving to be a great recovery tool.
How beneficial is using meditation as a training tool? Well, USA Swimming has partnered with mindful meditation app Headspace to Provide Training and Resources to Athletes.
From awareness of yourself swimming in practice, you can move to awareness of yourself during the many elements of swim meets – preparation for warm-ups, warm-ups, the waiting period before an event, the event, response to the event, talking to your coach, warming down, and more. By remaining concerned only with the moment, you can reduce anxiety, distractions, fatigue, and pain.
~Feature by Tonya Nascimento, Swimming World
“Swimming often devolves into autopilot behavior in which you focus only on getting in the distance you’ve planned, or ‘following the black line.’ This is a lost opportunity. Swimming can also be an immensely rewarding opportunity to practice mindfulness. By swimming mindfully, we can transform routine lap sessions into an immersive form of moving meditation.” — Terry Laughlin, founder of Total Immersion Swimming
How To Practice Mindful Swimming
Begin each swim with an intention to be fully present in the water, rather than to just get laps in.
Focus on each stroke.
Notice the feeling of the wetness on your skin.
Feel yourself — buoyant — moving through water.
Focus on your breath. Noticing the unbroken alternation of in-breaths and out-breaths.
Visualize being towed forward by a line attached to the top of your head.
Listen to the sounds of swimming. Hear the splashes, the bubbles and your own breath.
As you complete your swim, be grateful for your ability to merge mind and body, moving like water.
- Excerpt from New York Times Article by David Gelles
Link to article found in bio