Mindfulness meditation has rapidly increased in popularity over recent years. As a possible antidote for a busy modern lifestyle, it can be a very useful tool as part of a whole-life approach to wellbeing.
As a possible antidote for a busy modern lifestyle, mindfulness meditation can be a very useful tool as part of a whole-life approach to wellbeing.
In a basic sense, the practice of mindfulness meditation simply involves being in the present moment. Worries about what has happened in the past, or what’s on a ‘to-do’ list are put aside so you can focus on ‘being’.
There are many ways to practice mindfulness meditation. One of the great things about it is that you can practice it anywhere. You don’t have to close your eyes or even sit still (although for some techniques these things might be useful!).
Yep, that means that you can also practice mindfulness meditation at the beach. In fact, it’s a great place to do so. Mindfulness involves tuning in to all of the senses and having a heightened awareness of the present moment.
Here are five ways you can try mindfulness at the beach.
1. Enjoy sunrises and sunsets
Sunrise and sunset are undeniably beautiful times of the day. Sitting and watching a sunrise or sunset can be quite humbling, and the beach is often one of the best viewing spots. To practice mindfulness, stop for a while and place your full attention on the sunrise or sunset. Observe the changing colours and cloud patterns and notice (without judgement) any thoughts that pass through your mind during this quiet time.
2. Mindful swimming
When you’re swimming in the ocean, you can practice mindfulness by bringing awareness to each of the senses. Notice how the water feels on your skin and tastes on your mouth. What can you see underwater, or around you as you swim? Notice the sounds of the ocean and your body moving through it.
3. Walking or jogging meditation
Do the same thing as you’re walking or jogging along the beach (barefoot if possible). Notice the sounds of the wind and the ocean and your breathing. Feel the wind against your skin, the warmth of the sun and the sand under your feet. Observe what and who is around you. What can you smell and what can you taste?
4. Body scan meditation
You can do a body scan meditation while you’re swimming in the ocean, or walking or jogging along the beach once you get into the rhythm of the activity. You could also do a body scan meditation by sitting on the beach and closing your eyes. Using your mind, focus on one body part at a time. Notice how that body part feels before moving onto the next. Observe the sensations without trying to ‘fix’ or change anything. You can take note of sensations on the skin as well as how your muscles or other internal structures feel.
5. Breathing meditation
Breathing meditation can be a really nice way to finish your session at the beach. Simply close your eyes and take 10 or 20 deep breaths. Let the belly fill with air each time you breathe in. Focus on a nice long, slow exhale. Try to keep your attention just on the flow of the breath in and out of your nostrils. Don’t worry if your mind wanders, just gently bring it back to the breath again.
Take a moment and try one of these next time you’re at the beach, we’d love to hear how you get on!