Since 2012, the proportion of Americans who meditate has more than tripled, climbing from 4.1 percent to 14.2 percent. At its most basic, meditation helps people deal with stress and stay focused despite the busy, often frenetic pace of modern life. Adding warm water to the mix maximizes benefits and can make daily practice more appealing, fulfilling and beneficial.
The benefits of warm water & meditation
The healing power of water has been recognized for thousands of years, from the Ganges to Roman bathhouses. Early philosophers posited that the benefits stem from an innate connection, given that the human body is roughly 75% water. Modern scientists have found that warm water, much like meditation, counters the effects of everyday stressors.
When we experience stress — whether caused by an acute fright or the daily grind — our bodies produce hormones that cause our hearts to beat faster and harder and our breath to quicken. Over time, this tension can lead to serious health problems. Warm water immersion and meditation both act to combat these effects by triggering mental and physical relaxation.
Incorporating warm water meditation into your routine
Whether you already have a daily meditation practice or are in the habit of starting the day in your hot tub, combining warm water and meditation is a great way to enhance both experiences. But what should warm water meditation look like?
Set the mood
Start out by creating an environment you want to be in. Choose a time of day when your home and neighborhood are relatively quiet, set your hot tub to a comfortable temperature — usually between 90 and 100 degrees — and turn off distractions like pumps and jets. Tell your family you’ll be busy for a few minutes, and set your cell phone to “Do Not Disturb.” Some people enjoy playing calm music, while others prefer the natural soundscape. Set an alarm so that you won’t have to worry about soaking for too long or missing mealtime.
Once you get into the hot tub, find a comfortable position. For a more traditional meditation stance, sit or kneel, keeping your spine long. Another option is to lie back so that the warm water covers just your ears. Next, scan your body from toes to scalp, observing any pain, tension, or stiffness, and imagining that the hot water is taking any discomforts away. If you just can’t get comfortable, try a new position and start the body scan again.
Once you’re physically settled, it’s time to start the meditation. Take a few big breaths into your belly to relax, then let your breathing return to normal as you choose something to pay attention to — the feeling of air in your nostrils, the sensation of water lapping against your arms, or a mantra you’ve chosen. This focal point will be what you return to throughout your practice.
People often think about the goal of meditation as emptying the mind. But it’s really about noticing (not judging) how busy our thoughts are! Try to notice whenever you get distracted from your focal point, whether you’re wondering if you left the ice cream on the counter or worried about tomorrow’s big meeting at work. As tempting as it is, avoid labeling the thoughts — just observe — then calmly return your attention to your breath, the water, your mantra, or whatever you’ve chosen to focus on. Repeat this process until your alarm signals it’s time to return to the day, feeling calm and refreshed.
Back to life
After your warm water meditation is complete, take a couple of moments to sit quietly and enjoy your Jacuzzi® hot tub before returning to the bustle and chatter of your household. Turn the jets on low and allow the hydrotherapy to bring your meditation to an amazing conclusion. When it’s time to get up, move slowly and try to avoid talking for at least a few minutes to can let the calming benefits of your practice sink in. Sitting in a LaFuma zero gravity chair for a few minutes will allow you to return to real life more relaxed than you thought possible.
To learn more about the benefits of a hot tub or spa, and how you might incorporate them into your life, visit Imagine Backyard Living.