Monday, September 7, 2009


For millennia people have taken to water to both clean and infuse themselves with the healing properties of this ubiquitous element. Appropriately named Matsya after the fish incarnation of the Hindu Lord Vishnu, I have always sought the solace of a hot, fragrant bath at the end of a long day. Swimming has also always been an especial joy to me. As a child I plunged right into icy creeks, Oregon coast waves and plastic-rimmed swimming pools whenever the opportunity arose. Needless to say it has always felt like a decadent treat to go swimming, which for me only enhances the activity's magical, restorative properties.

This weekend when I woke to a wet, grey day the urge to go for a bike ride or a hike was buried beneath sheets of cold, dark rain. I considered the weekend in bed with a book but my commitment to exercising is pretty strong. Honestly my sanity depends upon it. So I've been going to the gym and swimming laps in the turquoise blue pool. 24 Hour Fitness is a far cry from a marble bath replete with hookahs, exotic fruits, and incense but in the bright tiled windowless room I somehow descend into a peacefulness perhaps transmitted by the welcoming embrace of a body of water. As I swim I notice myself in a very present, meditative state. I'm not the strongest of swimmers so I do have to focus to get successfully down my lane. I'm also reminded of yoga as I naturally focus on my alignment and experiment with micro-adjustments (primarily in my core) to achieve greater (or keep) balance, kick stronger and move forward faster.

With September and October (perhaps my favorite month) stretching before me I do see many more bike rides and hikes among brilliant foliage, but for now I'm a little thrilled with the idea of swimming through the winter. Here's a somewhat related post I wrote for Touchstones of the Sacred, ME2 Challenge: Exercise and Seasonal Change.

No comments: