By Casper Ohm, guest writer:
A yoga studio is not the only meditation-friendly place. The rooftop of a skyscraper, a backyard garden, and the most natural of them all – the ocean – are all an appealing alternative to today’s overly connected digital spaces. They enable you to unplug and recharge with the energy of your surroundings.
Meditating with the ocean is the most therapeutic of them all. Having been practiced for centuries, it is a proven method of getting rid of stress and achieving inner peace. It is when you make an effort to mentally disconnect and focus on the ocean waves traveling dozens of miles before reaching land, you acquire the harmony that heals you from within.
THE HEALING POWER OF OCEAN’S SOUNDS
Believed to consist of up to 60% of water, our bodies are naturally drawn to it. We require water to live and breathe, and the hydration we get from it regenerates our body cells, helps digest food, and keeps us young and healthy. It’s no wonder the sounds of the ocean are like music not only to our ears but also to our mind and soul.
From a scientific standpoint, the nature-native negative ions floating in the atmosphere positively affect our mood. They increase the flow of oxygen that reaches our brain and, as a result, make us more alert and give us energy. The salt in the ocean, in its turn, preserves depression-reducing chemicals like melatonin, serotonin, and tryptamine which boost our overall well-being and improve the quality of sleep.
When we hear the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, we come into a calming state of consciousness. The rhythm of the ocean tides rising and falling aligns with the rhythm of our neuronal ‘waves’, thus encouraging tranquility. As per some scientists, this sound is often referred to as a ‘white noise’ – the signal that washes our thoughts away and gives way for the present-moment relaxation.
PREPARING FOR THE MEDITATION
Before you immerse yourself in the meditation practice by the ocean, you have to find a quiet spot, ideally somewhere in the shade. It has to be comfortable enough for you to be able to spend up to one hour meditating without much moving. You can gather some seashells and stones and lay them next to you for an even deeper mental immersion.
To not restrict your airflow by tight garments, consider wearing flowy clothes you’d wear if you went on a beach vacation or to a yoga class. Harem pants, roomy jumpsuits, tunics, and shawls made from linen and cotton work best for this practice. Shoes are redundant – leave them at home or throw them in your bag in case you brought one.
Maintaining a good posture throughout the entire activity is essential. Just like in yoga’s Sukhasana pose, you have to cross your legs, keep your back straight, and bring your palms to your chest in a praying position. You can also leave your arms to hang by your sides or rest them on your knees in the Gyan Mundra symbol (the tip of your thumb touching the tip of your index finger while the rest of the fingers is stretched out).
Once you’re physically ready to take on meditation, it’s time to involve your inner self in the practice. Close your eyes, take a few moments to relax your facial muscles, and direct your thoughts towards the ocean.
BECOMING ONE WITH THE SAND, SUN, AND THE WATER
As you start disconnecting from the outside world, pay attention to your breath. Think of it as waves that come and go. Align your breathing to this motion of the waves by taking a slow and deep breath when they come in, holding it when they are about to hit the shore, and then slowly releasing it when they finally sink into the sand. Take a brief pause before the next wave appears and repeat the process.
You will quickly notice how your body starts softening up and relaxing the deeper you connect with the ocean’s sounds. It will get the sense of ‘being one’ with nature when the grains of sand softly brush against your feet, the cool spray of the water mist passes next to your skin, and the tangy smell of the salty air hits your nostrils.
With the orderly breathing, your mind will start picturing the serene landscape of the ocean without you having to open your eyes. Help it maintain this peaceful state by focusing on breathing as the air perpetually enters and exits your body. Let your mind wander and bring your attention back to your breathing when it does. Repeat this step until you cannot differentiate between the body and the breath – this is when you’ve achieved your zen.
Perform this meditation once a week or twice a month to start noticing the reduction of your anxiety, the strengthening of your immune system, and increased energy levels. Your emotional equilibrium will slowly start to develop and you’ll find yourself stress less about the daily turbulences. Just like the ocean’s tides sweep off the debris at the shore, they will help your mind rid of the mental garbage that’s not serving you anymore.
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