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Just Breathe: Meditating on the Beach

St. Croix 100 - #58 Meditate

Meditation is a great way to reduce stress, build self-confidence and self-esteem, and maintain good health. Meditating on the beach is even better, as it allows you to connect with nature while also providing a calming background soundtrack. Take advantage of the fact that St. Croix offers a multitude of secluded beaches to practice your meditation skills.

When you meditate, your body undergoes physiological changes that result in lower blood pressure, an increased immune system, a decrease in tension-related pain (like headaches or muscle pain), increased serotonin production, and increased energy. As if the physical reasons aren’t enough, there are some amazing mental benefits to meditating as well including decreased anxiety and tension, increased creativity and happiness, and a sharpening of the mind and ability to focus.

If you are like me, you may find it difficult to turn your mind off and relax in order to meditate. Or, maybe you have never meditated before and you don’t even know where to start. The key to meditation, is breathing. You want to sit or lie in a comfortable position, with your back straight, and breathe deeply. Taking a yoga class is a great way to learn breathing and correct posture that will help you to meditate on your own. Another wonderful way to get started is by working with a wellness trainer to learn proper breathing and movement techniques. Here on St. Croix, Stone Bodyworks Wellness offers one-on-one coaching that will help you to master your breathwork and movement to maximize your meditation. I also find guided meditation helpful when getting started, so you can use the video below to help get your breathing down.

Another meditative exercise you can do on the beach is ‘build a sandcastle’. Start by sitting comfortably, closing your eyes and spending some time just breathing. Then become conscious of the place you are sitting by looking around at the beach, the water, the sun and the sky. Breathe in slowly and allow the aroma of the beach to fill your lungs. After several breaths, allow your fingers to feel the texture of the sand. When you feel comfortable and focused, start to build a ‘sandcastle’. Imagine you have a child’s toy bucket and shovel, and use these ‘tools’ to create a sandcastle in whatever shape and form feels natural for you. As you meditate, let the memories and voices from your past take you back. As you work on the sandcastle you may feel a little bit silly, but observe those feelings without judgment and let them fade away. Once you have completed your sandcastle, sit back and survey your creation and review the memories and feelings that have come up.

When you have finished meditating, it is a good idea to come out of your meditative state slowly. Try taking in a slow deep breath, and as you breathe out count from one to five, then say: ‘I am wide awake’; then open your eyes and smile. What a great way to start or end day! Keep in mind that to experience the benefits of meditation, regular practice is necessary. The good news is, it takes only a few minutes every day to reap those benefits. Once meditating is part of your daily routine, it can easily become the best part of your day.

– Jennie Ogden, Editor

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