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Zen Swimming


I love swimming. I swam on my high school swim team and summer swim clubs when I was younger. It has aways been my favorite form of cardio. It builds my lung capacity, oils up my muscles and joints, melts body fat off of me, and makes me smile.

Why do I stop doing the things that work? I had this habit of doing things that are great for me. I will do great for years doing the things that keep me happy and healthy, and then I just stop or change it up like there is some “magical” formula out there that is waiting to be discovered.

What I have realized is that there is no magic formula. There is no magic program. There is however hard work and consistency. The human body will adapt to anything

I am discovering that life really is simple. Not easy, but simple. I do what works for me every day. Reading, resistance training, swimming and meditation have always been my happy activities. They worked when I was a kid, and they still work now.

I had this realization this morning as I was swimming laps in the pool. Swimming laps has always reset my mind. Resistance training has always challenged my mind and body. There is something about swimming laps, focusing on my technique of each stroke, that is mediattive. I try to perfect each pull and kick and breath. It is my Zen. I stay right there in the moment, finding joy in the repetitive motion of it.

While I am exercising, its more of a meditation. I don’t feel stressed or like I am killing myself, even though I am burning calories, building my lung capacity, and loosening my joints.

Maybe this is my gateway to the Zen mindset that I have always been searching for? I always wanted to be able to live in the moment, and focus on just what I was doing, not let my mind wander and not think about other things. I would get glimpses of it throughout my life. I would have these moments where I was completely immersed in what I was doing, and got great joy from it but the moments were never consistent. Even when I was trying for it, it still would come inconsistently. I have always needed a focused way of practicing it. The crazy thing is that I have always done it when I swim laps. There was never anything else except my body moving through the water, and paying attention to each stroke. This sounds like its going to kill two birds with one stone, even if killing birds isn’t really Zen in itself! I can exercise and have a medium for focusing my mind to laser sharp precision. Win-win situation

I never realized that is what I did. It just came normally and naturally. Without thinking. I like how this is playing out in my mind even better. Each stroke. Each pull of the hand or kick was an opportunity to do better. I will notice that my kick is too choppy pr my hand is entering the water at angle that adds to the drag. I will notice my hands might not be cupped exactly right as I am pulling through the water. So I notice these little details and adjust on each pull. I try to make each stroke better than the last, but I also notice that I don’t judge myself either. It just is what it is. Not good. Not bad. There is no label attached. As I am doing this, I am also paying attention to my breathing as well. Is it slow and controlled or is it forceful? All the while, I feel completely relaxed.

This begs the question that if I continually practice my lap swimming every morning will my brain train over time to carry all this through my whole day?

Its an active form of meditation. It feels more effective and effortless than my twety or thrity minutes of deep breathing mediation. Maybe both are working hand in hand?

Does it really matter?

Perhaps that’s the point. As with most things in my life, I complicate it by overthinking. If it works, is effective and I enjoy it then why question it?

I read that Arnold would get inside his becip when he did curls. I feel that same level of concentration when I swim

Realize too that I haven’t swam laps since I was in my early twenties. I swam between classes in college and it always reset and relaxed me. I didn’t understand what was happening as most don’t in their 20’s.

The moral of the story is keep doing what works for you. There may be more going on and more benefits happening than you realize

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