Why do people swim in the ocean?

There are many reasons for people to swim in the ocean.

  • Swimming is the closest experience to flying. The gravitation on the Earth weighs heavily upon us, and we instinctively aspire to escape from its clutches, whether in our dreams or in meditation.
  • Those who practise it as a form of yoga, do it to achieve laya, the expansion of consciousness, which is easy in the ocean as the boundaries of your own body are dissolved in the warm water and the waves lull you into a meditative state. From a mystic's point of view, the ocean is in fact a living being rather than a dead mass of water. To be able to swim in the ocean comfortably and even effortlessly, one has to learn how to control one's body movements and reactions, one's breathing and one's mind, which is where there are similarities to elements of Hatha and Raja Yoga. Swimming is the closest form of movement to flying, which is what we often do in the worlds other than the material. It has certain similarities with watsu.

 

 

Water activities as recreation, therapy, sport or yoga?

 
Recreation
Therapy
Yoga
Playing water games in a group of people
Is usually the main activity
Can be an auxiliary activity
Only in water polo
Can be initially included
Is done as a solitary activity?
Rarely
No
No
Normally
Do people touch each other?
They may
They may
Quite often
No
Developing breath control
Very basic
Very basic
Some
Extremely high level
Developing mental control
None
None
Very basic
Extremely high level
The maximum level of exertion
usually, up to 80% of one's capacity
usually, up to 60% of one's capacity
100% of one's capacity
usually, up to 90% of one's capacity
Do you have to force yourself to swim when you don't want to?
No
No
Yes
No
Do you need to train regularly?
No
Yes
Very regularly (at least 4 times a week)
No
Are competitions conducted?
Sometimes, for amateurs only
No
All training is for competitions only
Never (one competes with oneself)
Is it speed-oriented?
Not really
No
Speed is the only goal
No
Focussed on short- or long-distances?
Usually short
Short
Usually short to medium
Medium to long
Is there a risk of injury?
Minimal
None
High
Minimal
Done in a swimming pool?
Sometimes
Sometimes, some of it
Yes, except for the open water events
No
Is there a risk of poisoning or infection?
If done in the swimming pool
If done in the swimming pool
When done in the swimming pool
No
Are sophisticated swimming techniques required?
No
No
Yes
Yes
Swimwear
Any
Anything comfortable
Standard, tight
Minimal, like in hatha yoga
Learning special exercises (for floating ability, breathing, gliding, etc.)
Very basic
Yes, very specialized
Yes, very specialized
Yes, very specialized
Do you learn to interact with the marine life?
No
No
No
Yes
Can be done in very rough seas?
No
No
No
Yes
Is it conducive for expanding one's consciousness?
Hardly
To some extent
No
Yes
Will you have far greater chances of survival in boating or other accidents, floods, tsunami?
To some extent
Hardly
To some extent
Yes
Is it easy to find an instructor?
Yes
No
Yes
No