Self-care has been on the rise for years. The world is stressful, and people recognize the value of caring for themselves. One way for people to relax and reflect is through meditation. And what better way to maximize its benefits than doing it in water? Bathtub meditation combines the relaxing qualities of water with meditation’s centering and destressing advantages.
There are plenty of breathing techniques that you can do while meditating in the bath. However, bathtub meditation isn’t just about breathing. It relies on multiple factors, including the ambiance and water temperature. Both cold and warm water provide great benefits that enhance your meditation experience.
Here are the best breathing techniques depending on your preferred water temperature.
Breathing Technique for Warm Baths
Combining meditation with warm water can significantly benefit your mind and body. Warm water can soothe your muscles and bring a relaxing sensation. Research also shows that warm baths can lower symptoms of depression, so it’s safe to say that they’re great for your mental health.
As a plus, the steam from your warm bath can help open your nasal passages, allowing you to breathe more comfortably. If you want to do meditative breathing exercises while in a warm bath, here’s what you need to do.
Prepare a Warm Bath
Fill your tub with warm — not hot — water. Customize your bath by choosing your preferred temperature and adding aromas, soaps or Epsom salts. When you’re ready, gently submerse yourself into your bath and get into a relaxed position. If you don’t have a tub, you can also meditate in the shower.
Breathe in through your nose slowly, and when your lungs are full, exhale through your mouth. Keep your mind grounded in the present. Pay attention to your body and how your chest and stomach move while you breathe.
Do 10-15 breaths, keeping each cycle slow and steady. A slow breathing pattern can help you reach a calm and relaxed state, improving your overall health.
Breathing Technique for Cold Baths
When people think of baths, they usually think of dipping into warm, relaxing water. However, cold baths can also bring relaxation, especially when paired with the proper breathing technique.
Athlete and motivational speaker Wim Hof developed a breathing method that combines cold exposure, breathing techniques and commitment. Wim Hof states that his method is a form of meditation that can help reduce stress, increase energy and improve overall well-being.
Here are the steps to take if you’re interested in trying cold bath meditation.
Prepare a Cold Bath
If you’ve never tried cold exposure, start with a cold shower first. Once you’re more experienced, you can advance to cold or ice baths. Mentally prepare yourself for the cold. Wet your shoulders first and get used to the temperature. Then, gently ease your body so you are under or immersed in the cold water.
Inhale deeply through your nose or mouth. When you’ve taken a full breath, let out the air through your mouth. Don’t exert effort when exhaling — just relax and let the air flow out. Repeat 30 times.
By your 30th exhale, hold your breath for as long as you can. Once your urge to breathe has reached the highest point, inhale fully until your lungs are full. Hold your breath for 15 seconds, then exhale.
You can repeat this breathing cycle three to four times. While breathing, concentrate on the present and practice mindfulness. Avoid letting your mind wander — stay focused on your meditation.
Preparing for Bath Meditation
Before you jump into your bath for a meditation session, you can do some preparation to help you maximize the experience.
- Set a designated time: To avoid getting sidetracked by other plans and responsibilities, set a specified time of around 15-20 minutes for your bath meditation. With no other obligations for the set time, you can keep your mind worry and distraction-free.
- Prepare your bathroom: Remove all distractions and create a clean and comfortable space for yourself. If you’re using the shower instead of the bath, you can place a small chair in the stall if you want to sit and relax.
- Enhance the ambiance: You can create a relaxing atmosphere by paying attention to your other senses. You can use aromatherapy, mood lighting and background music to help set the mood.
- Keep your mind present: Before you meditate, clear your mind of all your worries and other thoughts. You might find that hard to do if you’re new to meditation. You can always start by employing focused meditation or mantra meditation techniques.
Take the Proper Precautions
Baths are highly beneficial to your health, both physically and mentally. However, when it comes to bath meditation, there are some things to be careful of.
First, don’t force yourself to bathe in temperatures you can’t tolerate. The purpose of meditation is to relax and improve your health, so it’s counterproductive if you stress yourself because of the water temperature. Instead, gradually expose yourself to warm or cold water and find the best temperature that helps you achieve your meditation goal.
There is also no need to adhere to breathing techniques strictly. Some breathing methods can be difficult or unnatural for you, especially if you have a clogged nose or other respiratory issues. Even Wim Hof recommends experimenting with different breathing sets and working with what’s best for you.
Another thing to look out for is drowsiness. Don’t meditate in the bath if you’re feeling too sleepy. Safety is always the priority, so look out for yourself always.
It’s important to remember that bath meditation is a form of self-care. If it’s too uncomfortable for you, you can always adjust it to suit your current needs and modify it as you go.
Bathtub meditation is a great way to improve your mind and body condition. This week, set aside some time to focus on caring for yourself. Make your bath your sanctuary as you practice breathing techniques and mindfulness. Whether you choose long breaths with your warm bath or the Wim Hof technique for your cold bath, you can experience great advantages once you make it a habit.
Beth is the Managing Editor and content manager at Body+Mind. She shares knowledge on a variety of topics related to nutrition, healthy living, and anything food-related. In her spare time, Beth enjoys trying out new fitness trends and recipes.