No kidding, it works!
First lets find out what meditation actually means:
Meditation describes a state of concentrated attention on some object of thought or awareness. It usually involves turning the attention inward to the mind itself and is usually defined as one of the following:
- a state of relaxed concentration on the reality of the present moment
- a state that is experienced when the mind dissolves and is free of all thoughts
- focusing the mind on a single object (such as a religious statue, or one’s breath)
- a mental “opening up” to the divine, invoking the guidance of a higher power
- reasoned analysis of religious teachings (such as impermanence, for Buddhists).
From a Buddhist point of view the main aim of Medidation is to get rid of the clutter and internal chatter the mind produces bringing yourself into a state of calm, then being able to think about something without the internal clutter/chatter.
Now with all of those points I made above lets have a look what swimming training does.
- Repeated laps (possibly in sets)
- you breath at regular and defined intervals (e.g. every 3 strokes in freestyle)
- you concentrate on your stroke technique to better it and do not think of anything else.
- you release all the other thoughts you have at other times during the day, thus you are free of all thought (other off course the stroke technique)
- Although you are straining your body (as in your muscles) you are reaching a state of relaxed concentration, due to the fact you are concentrating on swimming (as in one thing only).
- as an add on bonus you do not get during other type of meditation you get a dose of a drug your own body produces (Enkephalins).
- all you ever see is the black line on the bottom of the pool, and once again another “thing” you are concentrating upon … For backstrokers its the sky (even better) or the roof of the pool (but even that isnt terribly exiting ;-) )
- as an add on bonus you are getting fit, thus hitting two birds with one stone.
I think it works, I go swimming training at least for times a week and I call it “Black Line Fever“.