I am a water baby.
True, I was born in a suburb of St. Louis, nowhere near a large body of water (except for the Mississippi River, which no one is swimming in), but water is my happy place. We spent our summers in childhood at our family clubhouse playing in the nearby creek, and summer vacations were always with neighbors to the ocean. I love visiting geysers, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, and hot springs…. so many pictures by water!
When we moved to Holland, we first lived near downtown but moved out by Tunnel Park about 15 years ago. And now I’m not sure I can ever live anywhere other than near water! I love walking over to look at the lake any time of the year, and going for a quick dip on a warm summer evening after dinner is a family favorite.
Whether I’m sitting at our old creek listening to it babble as I read a book or on a dune above Lake Michigan with waves surging below, I love water. The rhythmic sounds, the hypnotizing light glinting off the surface, the way my feet disappear into the sand; I love it all. It calms my nervous system and centers me. Around November, when the trees have lost their leaves and the waves are really crashing, we can hear the lake from our house. Another reason to love where we live.
Maybe this love comes from being born a Cancer, a water sign. Or maybe it’s science.
Water is a naturally calming part of nature. Studies show that being near, in, on, or under water can provide a long list of benefits, including lowering stress and anxiety, increasing our sense of well-being and happiness, and lowering heart and breathing rates. Researchers have found that although “green” environments can have a positive effect on self-esteem and mood, those with open water actually produce significantly larger improvements in mental well-being. These “blue spaces” – the sea and coastline, but also rivers, lakes, canals, waterfalls, and even fountains – are consistently shown to be good for the body and mind.
The science is compelling, but it’s how I feel after being by the water that’s important to me. As they say, the proof is in the pudding, or maybe just the slowing of my heart rate. 😉
If you’d like to take advantage of some lovely time by water, join us tomorrow, July 20 at 7:30 pm for sunset Pilates at a private beach on Lake Michigan. We’ll have some nice, flowing movement, followed by a lovely, long meditation, all with the sound and light of the lake and sky as our backdrop. All you need are two towels, although we also highly recommend a drink to sit and watch the sunset afterward with friends.
I can feel my shoulders relaxing just thinking about it!
See you there,