Meditating in the bath
It’s a common question ‘can I meditate in the bath?’ the simple answer is yes, of course you can; you can meditate anywhere – I believe the real question that’s being asked is ‘is it safe to meditate in the bath?’
It doesn’t matter if you are a bath person who wants to add meditation to your bathing routine or a meditator who wants (or feels the need) to be immersed in water; at some point you have asked the question “is it OK to meditate in the bath?”.
Meditating in the bath is something a lot of people do because it aids to the feeling of relaxation. We feel warm and safe in the bath and it is multitasking at its finest – spoiling ourselves with bubbles and smells and candles AND getting clean, add meditation in and that’s 3 things under one task = winner.
However, meditating in the bath does need to come with a health warning - your body is relaxing. So is your mind and your brain (they are two separate things). What this means is that your muscles are going to relax and where you would normally be in the bath aware of where you are and what you are doing (not meditating) your brain and mind are still active so they keep your face out of the water etc. When you are meditating your mind and brain both relax – as they are listening to me (of course other meditation teachers are available) so you are more likely to slip about or end up in over your head; meaning your mouth and nose are submerged in the water… this will jolt you straight out of your meditation - all relaxation points will be lost and you will have to start all over again… what a waste of time! So we need to take some time to plan and prepare I hope the following is helpful and I would love your tips too.
Use a bath pillow – yes you can roll up a hand towel and use it but come on they’re only a few quid and they are life changing for us bathers as it takes all the tension from your neck and increases relaxation… and that’s what you’re there for right?
Bubbles & Bombs and Magic – whatever you are using make sure you keep the chemicals to a minimum so that your skin is being loved and you are not sending nasties down the drain. Fragrance can be an incredible aid to meditation, I use different fragrances depending on the time of the month (lunar aspect) and the meditation type – this mean my brain knows fast what is happening and what is expected of it. Salts are brilliant muscle relaxers, I use Himalayan Salt in my bath and it works really well. You don’t need to look any further than your garden (or mine). I use fresh Bay in the bath and freshly dried lavender and they really are the difference that makes the difference (get in touch for prices and delivery options).
Temperature – apparently the ideal temperature for a bath is 92 degrees. I haven’t checked the bath temperature since my son was a baby but I am sure my baths are somewhere between 92 degrees and lava… know your perfect temperature and remember test with your wrist or your elbow before you get in (not with your hands as they are used to higher temperature. Bear in mind that you are going to be still in the water while you meditate so I would go warmer rather than cooler.
Water, Water Everywhere – but not a drop to drink! Make sure you have a good drink before you bathe, have a glass of water when you are in the bath and have another one when you get out. Remaining hydrated will reduce the risk of a post bath spin out!
Candles – bathroom lighting is bright! There you go that’s the obvious stated! Reducing the amount of light increases relaxation – one of the reasons why having a bath in winter is so much more fun; its dark outside!
Eye Eye – Closing your eyes in meditation is not essential but for many it is important, closing your eyes to relax is important. Some find this harder than others, anecdotal evidence shows me people finding it harder to close their eyes when meditating in the bath (because your brain is heightened for hazards). Use something that encourages your eyes to close and increases relaxation – cucumber slices on the eyes are brilliant and will leave your eyes feeling pampered too.
Volume – a full bath contains between 80 and 100 litres of water and we all know that showers take much less water and are better for the environment; So I don’t have one 4 times a week any more for that reason. I have one a week and I make it special to ensure it’s a treat, it's a ritual for me and I feel so much better after a bath especially when I have meditated as well I had to google how much water is needed and now I am battered with information and figures as to why we shouldn’t ever have a bath again… Remember you are taking time for you so making the most of it and making it count will be the difference that makes the difference.
Be Prepared – Get everything ready before hand, the towels you need and the clothes you will need after the bath. My top tip is to put your post bath clothing on the radiator. They will be better protected from splashes etc and they will remain cool in the summer and toasty warm in the winter which aids to the comforting effect of the bath. Don’t be the me of last week when it comes to towels – totally forgot to get them out of the cupboard before my bath – little wet footprints all over the house and me swearing sort of ruined the vibe.
The long and the short of it - As someone short of stature I feel I am perfectly placed to talk about 50% of this section and very badly qualified to talk about the other half! Slipping down in the bath and suddenly moving causes lots of distress for shorter humans taking baths. What is meant to be a relaxing experience suddenly turns into a weird moment of stretching your toes to ensure they reach the end so you don’t accidentally drown when you are meant to be relaxing… The struggle of the short in a world designed for taller humans than me. My advice for those who are shorter is to get a swimming noodle and make the bath slightly narrower or float your feet on it so your legs are supported without being tense. We shorties are actually very fortunate because we have the opportunity to create a flotation space out of our baths which taller people just cant do.
So I am not tall… however one of my best friends in the whole universe is and her struggle is the opposite of mine. It’s been fascinating talking to her about the trials and tribulations of being tall in a world made for shorter humans… I wish I had never asked about the bath to be honest, I thought it was a simple question... and wasn't aware I release built up frustration over years, but at nearly 6foot baths are not really made for her (and yes in answer to your question we do look a bit odd when we are out together). However, I am really glad I did because it really changed my thought process when researching this article and with her help was have come up with some fab things (thanks Rachael Bonner you’re ace). Use the swimming noodle again but this time for a totally different reason… wrap it around the taps. This then creates a cushion for the backs of your calves, actually more of your legs stay in the water this way and you get to experience the relaxing feeling of ‘putting your feet up’ which improves circulation… you will never get your whole body in the bath unless you invest in a super long bath but this works really well. Rachael's biggest challenge is keeping warm in the bath as half of her is always out. Only use a short meditation as being still for too long will ensure part of your body is bloody freezing. We also thought about using soaked flannels to warm the parts that dont naturally get wet. Turns out that she doesn’t have that many baths are they are not relaxing for her… so Rachael is currently learning all about mindful showers she will really enjoy these – and who knows she may even slow down a little! if you have any tall people tips I would love to hear them and I promise I will pass them on to Rach.
For thousands of years bathing has been a part of human life and ritual, and for me I like to keep it that way. There are so many things to rush and do fast… a bath should never be one of them. Do send me your bath tips and I will add them to this (with your name in lights).
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