Ever had a Chi Swim, a swim where you experience calm, connection and conciousness? Nor had I, so ever curious, I decided to try it at the Christmas Day swimming session at Spectrum Leisure Centre in Guildford.
This year, I’ve explored more Tai Chi and Qi Gong and have met some very inspirational teachers and pupils. Once I stopped being frustrated with trying to follow the moves and get them right I started to just enjoy moving and being in a meditative state even if I often made it up. With each new session the sequence of moves is becoming clearer and more flowing.
Tai Chi skills for me mean connecting and communicating with breath, body and energy. For Christmas, Nanny Gill gave me Danny Dreyer’s book ‘Chi Running’ which gave me the idea to try Chi Swimming. He says the underlying skills in this running form are :
- body sensing
He continues, the process is the goal. Chi skills are valuable skills and worthwhile goals at the same time. So each time we practice focusing our mind, we are accomplishing our goal of being focused.
I largely made up my Christmas Chi Swim, I’m sure there’s plenty of writing out there about it however, I’ve decided to write from this experience first and then check what it says after as part of my own learning process.
Firstly, I looked across the water and knew that I wanted to swim 40 lengths, so set an intention to swim them in under 30 minutes. I visualised myself achieving this and sensed how my body and mind would be. I stood, breathed and centered for a moment before I got in the water.
I focused on my dantien, the energy in my core, more here. I wanted to glide through the water with minimal effort or muscle tension in my limbs with this invisible, pure energy flowing through my body.
I have swimming fins, which I’m sure are quite a cheats way to swim but they really do help with my alignment and balance and they helped me to achieve a noise and splash reduced swim. I used my arms and hands mostly in front crawl motion, focusing on long smooth, relaxed and efficient movements. I was more aware than ever of the water and felt very present to this and the noises around. My breathing was as long as deep as possible and during the rest breaks I continued to inhale and exhale with awareness.
The swim was sub 30 minutes, infact I also became less aware of the time. It’s definitely an experience I wish to repeat as I did not only feel calm, connected and concious throughout but these sensations lasted the remainder of Christmas Day.
If you’ve ever explored a chi swim or would like to find out more you might also enjoy this chi doggy paddle to get you started.