Why I go in the sea (even when it’s effing freezing)
A mate of mine sent me a message via Instagram last week asking me to write a blog about why I go in the sea and I told him I didn’t need to write War & Peace the sea version as I could actually sum it up in just 3 words ‘because I can’ ! Ok this was rather a glib answer which is pretty much true but for the sake of clarity and just in case you are bored and got nothing else to do today apart from reading blogs by second rate yoga teachers in seaside towns – I’ll flesh it out a little. Here goes…
25 years* ago when lockdown part one happened we were still in LaLa land – which is pretty appropriate coz everyone in Los Angeles is a little lala. The sun was shining the kids were at school and daycare ( US nursery) and everything was just peachy. Then all of a sudden BOOM, well we all know what happened next. The lockdown – thou shall not go out under any circumstances apart from getting your food from the overpriced grocery stores. Thou shall stay in your tiny shoe box of an apartment with your two crazy children who think lockdown is a euphemism for let’s spend the whole day screaming at each other and winding our parents up. Literally overnight I went from being The Fonz in Happy Days to Jack in The Shining.
My terrible sleep patterns were getting progressively lockdown worse which made the kids daily screaming routines infinitely worse to deal with. I can’t actually remember why I thought I’d start the cold shower routine as a ‘wake me up’ type of thing- I’m pretty sure it had ‘nowt to do with Wim Hoff** –the Dutch Ice Man and big champion of cold water therapy. But that in a nutshell is where it all started… as a practice to stop me from losing my mind in a shoebox in Venice Beach.
Fast forward a month or two the Ryan’s Return part deux happened when we moved back to Blighty at the end of May. A mate of mine had a rather amazing 4 bedroomed boutique hotel esque holiday house in the quaint sleepy sea side of Deal (think Hot Fuzz does Rupaul’s Drag Race) that we were able to move straight into and after the shoebox in Venice Beach the holiday home felt positively palatial- I could swerve the kids daily for at least an hour. The house is I kid you not 100 metres from the sea (which explains my answer to my mate of why I go in the sea because I can it’s easy it’s at the end of our street)-so my stateside cold water showers became a daily dip in the ocean – ok it’s the English Channel but Ocean sounds more poetic. To begin with it was a tad chilly but the sunrises were epically biblical and made it easy to adjust to the temperature. And well I just kept going in every day without fail come hell or highwater or even the English Baltic winter. The whole ‘cold water therapy’ health benefit thing is almost a side effect to the ineffable experience of being in the sea in the sunrise (and sometimes the rain and more recently a bit of snow too). I say ineffable but just last week I was watching an ace documentary on David Crosby (Crosby Stills & Nash bloke) and he was able to succinctly put into words just what the sea experience feels like. In the 6o’s he had been sacked from top rock combo The Byrds for general craziness and so he decided he was going to go sailing. He bought a boat and off he went. His description about being in the sea went something like this ‘ when you are on land there is all this information that the mind has to deal with traffic , people , shopping , kids etc the mind is constantly being bombarded with stuff that has to be processed but once you get into the ocean there is just the sea and the sky ( and sometimes the sun/rain/snow if you are in Deal) – there is nothing that the mind has to do apart from feel the freedom of the space’. So there in one sentence is exactly the reason I go in the sea. And I’m Pisces.
* ok this is a joke #obvs but let’s be honest here it feels at least 25 years ago.
** I’m currently reinventing myself as the Deal Wim Hoff…. ‘Dim Hoff ‘ : )
When I’m not going in the sea or drinking green tea or sitting zazen ( Zen meditation) or doing my yoga practice I’m teaching Yoga Online details here.