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River Respite: Using Kayaking As A Mindfulness Exercise

Apart from being an incredibly fun way to keep active, kayaking is surprisingly a fantastic way to distil the chatter of the mind. For people who struggle with mindfulness and anxiety, kayaking has proven to be an incredibly beneficial meditative experience that has been shown to reduce depression and anger, as well as improve confidence. Today, we have a deep dive into kayaking and how it can be utilized as a mindfulness exercise, so read on to find out more!

Understanding Mindfulness

First up — let’s have a look at exactly what mindfulness means. A term that is often thrown around in holistic or spiritual circles, mindfulness is a type of meditation that encourages people to be intensely aware of the “here and now”. Breathing exercises, guided imagery and other meditative practices are often utilized to practice mindfulness, along with the focus on observing your surroundings and firing up the five senses.

Many studies and personal experiences have shown that hopping on your kayak can serve as a form of outdoor meditation. Zoning out on a kayak in a safe environment and paddling your anxiety and self-judgement away is a fantastic way of getting out of the daily routines of life and truly connecting with yourself.

Fun Fact: Other forms of outdoor meditation can include walking to clear your mind and hiking up a mountain,
Benefits of Mindfulness

Using kayaking as a mindfulness exercise is incredibly relaxing, but not just that. It also offers a host of benefits that include:

Better Physical Health – Mindfulness has been shown to help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, combat insomnia and alleviate digestive or gastrointestinal difficulties.

Improved Mental Health – In the last decade or so, many psychologists have turned to mindfulness as a form of treatment of a wide variety of problems, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, ADHD, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Reduced Emotional Volatility – Many people struggle with volatile emotions, and research has suggested that practicing mindfulness significantly reduces emotional volatility.

Help in Managing Symptoms – Although mindfulness is by no means a panacea for all ailments, studies have shown that the practice of mindfulness has been proven to help cancer patients manage their pain and symptoms better. eCALM trial, a therapy program for those afflicted with cancer found that practicing mindfulness reduced symptoms of stress, enhanced spirituality and greatly facilitated post-traumatic growth.

How To Practice Mindfulness On Your Kayak

So, you may be wondering how kayaking comes into the picture. Well, we’re here to tell you.

Step 1: Choose calm waters where you know you will not be disturbed. Ideally, your location of choice will be free from the distractions of modern life.

Step 2: Go for a gentle ride on your kayak before choosing a quiet corner to be still and meditate.

Step 3: Focus on the sounds around you — the birds, the flowing water, the leaves rustling.

Step 4: Focus on other aspects of being in the moment — the breeze on your face, the smell of the water, the feeling of floating on water.

Step 5: Do this for as long or short as you want. Remember, there are no rules to mindfulness. Each individual’s practice of mindfulness will vary and no one method is better than another.

Remember, the practice of mindfulness doesn’t just have to be reserved for when you’re on your kayak. Making it a habit throughout the day regardless of your surroundings is key to keeping grounded and present in the moment.


And there you have it — how you can practice the art of mindfulness not just on your kayak, but anywhere you may be. Finally, we challenge each and every one of you to try a little outdoor meditation next time you head out on your kayak!

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