Joanna lives in Glasgow and is a clinical psychologist and movement practitioner, combining dance, martial arts and healing arts such as yoga. She uses the sea in her work with clients.
Different beaches have got different vibes. Some are more calming than others. So, if I go to the right beach, it will have that relaxing effect. If it’s hot then I feel even better because I find that it just really relaxes my muscles, which is lovely, and I feel happy. But if it’s a busy beach, then not so much.
I do love the east coast beaches in Scotland and there are some beautiful beaches not far from Edinburgh on the Firth of Forth, along the Fife coastal path. It has to be the right beach. I love the calming effects and the light is always amazing.
I’m very into photography, so I’ve taken fantastic photos there. How I feel depends on the weather. So, there can be a stormy sea and that can have an impact on my mood. If it’s calm, then the water has a calming effect. And if we think about mindfulness, it is all about awareness and being aware of how we feel. So, if we’re aware of the sea, then its effects can vary.
In my work I often do visual imagery exercises for people. I get them to think about their favourite place. And sometimes people will come up with a sea image, perhaps lying on a beach or maybe the waves, so I help them to breathe in and out in time with the motion of the waves. People tend to talk about feeling relaxed on the beach. Even lying down and picturing themselves on a sunbed or on a towel and just really relaxing all their muscles as well.
We draw on all their senses, so thinking about the heat of the sun and the smell of the sea and the sound of the waves. It’s a good approach.