Meditation and Surfing: A Guide to Zen, Waves and Mindfulness
Meditating and surfing. For many surfers, it's the ultimate experience. Learn how to add meditation to your surfing routine.
A meditation session is a rendezvous between you and yourself. It's all about training and soothing the mind, and entering a mode of freedom and self-awareness which induces relaxation, joy, patience, emotional balance, and love.
Meditation can be a path to achieving a spiritual end, but it is not necessarily linked with religions and sacred activities. As you may have noticed, there is a growing number of people who meditate to clear their minds from stress, tension, anxiety and depressive disorders. Meditation also increases the level of focus and attention, bringing serenity to our lives.
Western societies are slowly turning to meditation, and surfers, as always, are leading the way. The empathy between meditation and surfing is evident. Surfers are, or should be, in perfect sync with nature, the ocean, and the waves.
Whether you're a pro surfer or a recreational, weekend surfer, you constantly need to build your concentration, focus, and attention so that you're in tune with the elements water, air, earth, and most of all, yourself. For many of us, surfing is a spiritual experience, and riding a wave is an indescribable moment of zen.
Have you ever closed your eyes between sets? Try it, and simply stay in the moment. That's the first step towards a meditative state of mind. But don't think it's as simple as that. Training the mind is a continuous process that involves practice, patience and compassion. Just like surfing.
So, why do we only exercise our bodies and almost never train our minds? If our brain commands our muscles, why don't we keep it healthy and clean? What are we doing with the brilliant machine that produces our thoughts and decisions?
If you want to include meditation in your surf training program, here's how you should start doing it.
You can meditate with or without music. There are plenty of new age songs and soothing sounds of the ocean available online that will help you enter a meditative status. A serene, low light environment will also improve your first meditation session.
Guided meditations can be extremely helpful in the beginning of your practice. And you ask: what do I need to start meditating? It's easy. All you need is will, and certain conditions that invite your mind to relax:
1. Choose a day when you feel relaxed and ready to give meditation a go;
2. Find a comfortable spot: it can be your home, the office, your local beach, or even an empty lineup;
3. Wear loose clothes;
4. Turn the music on or off;
Once the environment is set, how can a surfer start meditating? Just like in surfing, there is not a strict formula to start it off. The best meditation technique is the one that works for you. However, you can follow a few simple relaxation guidelines, specially designed for surfers, while they wait for waves:
1. Sit on the surfboard with the spine in the upright position;
2. Place your hands on your thighs;
3. Slowly close your eyes;
4. Make the necessary body adjustments until you find a natural, comfortable position, and straight posture;
5. Steadily inhale and exhale through your nose only;
6. Relax your jaw muscles;
7. Concentrate on your breathing rhythm;
8. Forget any pressure to reach a relaxed state;
9. Ignore everything around you including sounds, smells, touches, and tastes;
10. When you feel it's time, stop your meditation, and slowly open your eyes;
Meditation is never a waste of time. A meditative state of mind is extremely beneficial for your mind, and will rest the brain for long periods of time. A daily practice is good for your wellness - you'll discover the inspiration, peace, and liberation needed to challenge crowded lineups, snaking, dangerous beginner surfers, and even fear of big waves and three-wave hold downs.
Many surfers meditate: Dave Rastovich, Shaun Tomson, Gerry Lopez, Taylor Knox, Dick Brewer, Greg Long have their moments of mindfulness on a regular basis. Scientists have already concluded that mindfulness practice is an effective therapy for chronic low back pain, a recurrent issue in the sport.
Surfing is totally compatible with meditation, and vice-versa. They complement each other, especially for those who believe in wave riding as a lifestyle, and a path to self-awareness. Include meditation in your surfing activities. It doesn't matter if it's just for five minutes. Start meditating now: channel positive energy into your inner self, and free your mind.
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