Don’t Think You Can Meditate? Try the Shower
Make the most of your time in the shower to stop center yourself.
This content was developed in partnership with Conscious City Guide.
Current circumstances have handed us a unique situation: we’re spending more time at home by ourselves or within a small bubble, but we may still feel pressed for time. And that may mean that the idea of slowing down to meditate may not seem like a possibility -- yet.
"Water cleanses, it soothes, and it gives us the chance to slow down and to be more aware of what our body is feeling."
The good news? Daily meditation is not only possible, but can seamlessly integrate into your day-to-day routine. All you need is water.
We have long centered many rituals around water. Water cleanses, it soothes, and it gives us the chance to slow down and to be more aware of what our body is feeling. And now, we’ve been given a opportunity to delve further into this gift through the slow movement: the moment in which there’s finally more time to take baths during quarantine, to be present in our hearts and minds, and to use even a morning shower as a means to practice mindfulness and meditation.
Especially since our minds need it; we need a break from our sped-up pace to ensure that our brains have the opportunity to evolve. Psychologist and NYU professor Dolly Chugh explains that to slow down awards a new chance to re-learn the process of deliberately thinking (instead of fast and automated thinking), and gives our brains and bodies a chance to rest -- which will also serve our loved ones, since seeing us on the brink of burnout isn’t healthy for anyone.
"To slow down awards a new chance to re-learn the process of deliberately thinking... and gives our brains and bodies a chance to rest"
Fortunately, the process is simple. As clinical psychologist Shauna Shapiro, PhD, explained that using the shower as a platform for meditation creates the ideal environment for slowing down and re-ritualizing our relationship with water. To start, the shower provides an environment in which you’re truly alone and away from distractions -- plus, it’s a gateway to acknowledging all five senses through its 360-degree sensory experience. And by taking time with each sense, you’re also brought into the moment instead of running through a mental to-do list. You can concentrate on breathing and how the water feels -- or find another combination of meditation that works best for you.
Which Shapiro explains is another benefit of the slow movement: in addition to being conducive to a busy schedule (“If you have time to shower, you have time to meditate”), there’s no right or wrong way to do it. You can practice small, mindful habits when you cleanse and keep your thoughts on your breath, including where you’re breathing from. And every minute counts -- and helps. “The most important thing is to develop a practice that feels right for you,” she reminds.
"It’s easy to make that time count, and to reclaim it as your own."
It’s easy to make that time count, and to reclaim it as your own. Expert Nancy O’Hara suggests leaving electronic devices on the other side of the bathroom (as not to steal a second checking email or Twitter) and to treat the process of preparing for the shower as part of the ritual itself. Then, spend time with the thought that you’re about to cleanse yourself, and the importance of that act, which will be highlighted even more when you’re finally standing under the warm or hot water. Concentrate on your breathing and existing in this moment under the stream, and if your thoughts begin to stray, reel them back in, whether by returning to your breath, cleansing, or reminding yourself that meditation is a practice and you’re only ever going to get better at it.
"Ultimately, it’s about doing anything not as fast as possible, but as well as possible."
Which is where our introduction to the slow movement begins. As speaker and journalist Carl Honore reminds, “Slow is a mindset. It’s about quality for quantity, it’s about being present, in the moment. Ultimately, it’s about doing anything not as fast as possible, but as well as possible.” A return to ritualizing the act of spending time in water will assist with re-learning that. Especially since our ancestors embraced this discipline so enthusiastically, and built a foundation on which we can all stand and take our time.
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