ZEN FREE DIVING
More than any other sport, free diving is based on the subconscious reflexes written in Homo sapiens genome. From the moment of conception, human embryo lives in an aquatic environment that is very similar to seawater. A human infant, if submerged under the water, will instinctively hold its breath for up to 40 seconds while making swimming movements. However, human beings lose this innate ability as soon they begin to walk. Waking up these natural reflexes is one of the most important elements of free diving.
Free diving or breath holding is perhaps the ultimate connection between man and the silence of the water world beneath the waves. With free diving, you can only travel as far as the air in your lungs will take you. The incredible feeling of pushing yourself to your limits helps explain the appeal of this sport. The most important part of your training is learning how to breathe effectively. The key to advancing and lasting longer underwater is to get used to taking slow, deep breaths and breathe out for much longer than you breathe in. This is also critical to avoiding hyperventilation.
At a depth of 30 meters, the free dive experiences the changing chemistry of the blood stream as the increased pressure allows gases to dissolve more easily and exert their effects more readily. For example, nitrogen that dissolves in the blood stream, behaves as a narcotic and actually makes one feel quite euphoric. At Zen breath-holding practices of integrated pranayama, yoga, meditation empowers divers to observe and experience an exceptional pathway to health, wellbeing and fitness through effective breathing expanding lung capacity, enhanced meditative focus and free-flow exercise and at the same time discovering the beauty and amazing rich diversity of marine life including plants.
There are striking similarities between free-diving and yoga, which are both rooted in breath control, awareness, meditation and relaxation. During a free-dive, divers become one with their breath, body and environment – a situation which parallels meditating asanas and consciousness, as in lotus position. When holding your breath, you can learn to change your brain activity (frequency of electrical impulses) and go into a state of flow whence the notion of time disappears, and you become one with the underwater world with feelings of ultimate freedom enabling moving from fear to trust, enhancing the ability to stay calm under pressure, increasing lung capacity and being fit, healthy and mentally at peace.
During a free-dive with a single breath, gracefully descending into the deep blue as tensions disappear and the mind and body focuses on equalization, embracing the present moment and letting go of the stresses and strains, especially of living modern lifestyles. There is no better way to explore the oceanic world free of constraints, of moving through water free to admire the underwater beauty and serenity, up close and alongside interacting with the amazing diversity of marine life like one of their own.The world’s oceans and seas, covering some 70% of the planet’s surface, are the lifeblood of our Earth, driving weather and regulating temperature and home to millions of invaluable marine plant and animal species.
Marine scientists and ocean conservationists have the responsibility to provide credible knowledge on the plight of the oceanic world – the marine degradation and destruction caused by global warming and climate change and the rampant dumping of escalating land-based waste.
Historically free-diving is an important source of food and livelihood earnings resource for many poor fishers and rural farmers in small islands and in coastal areas. Over three billion people, many of them poor live in coastal areas around the world. There is great scope for free diving to contribute to their food security and livelihood earning capacity . The worldwide community of free divers as well as the scuba divers need to be increased many-fold to become the consciousness and public voice of the need to protect of the Oceanic world, mobilizing social media and petitioning Governments and policy makers to implement actions to safeguard the world’s most precious natural resource.
Health Benefits of Free Diving
Free diving, when done properly, is incredibly safe and has benefits that go way beyond how one feels in the water. Learning free diving skills and techniques enhances human health, including effective breathing, lung function, confidence, water safety, body awareness and more.
- Reduces Stress: The most important thing about free diving is how to relax through controlling the breath. This results in the heart rate lowering and becoming more aware and in control of what the body is doing.
- Increases Water Confidence: Free diving enhances safety in water whether you are free diving, scuba diving, surfing, swimming, paddle-boarding, kayaking, or any other water based sport. When you learn to free dive, you are taught how to relax in the water, how to deal with cramp, or what to do if you lose a fin or mask.
- Increased Lung Capacity and Function: When you start in free diving, one of the first things you learn is how to take a full breath in, using the diaphragm effectively to “belly” breathe. The ability to fully exhale before a pre dive deep breath, also helps reduce the residual volume, allowing the lungs to take in more air, Such improvements to breathing and lung function are relevant to treating and relieving asthma.
- Enables Sinus De-congestion: When a free diver descends in water, the air spaces in the body get smaller and must be equalised by the addition of more air volume. Sinus congestion can be chronic and impacts on all aspects of people’s lives, causing headaches, disturbed sleep, snoring and chest infections due to prolonged mouth breathing. Many of the ailments of sinus congestion can be relieved during free diving practices.
- Improves Fitness and Flexibility: Fitness and flexibility are integral to free diving in all stages from pre-dive, during-dive and to post-dive. At Zen we have special integrated yoga, pranayama and meditation classes for free divers, with a focus on full body stretching and breathing exercises, empowering muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness.
- Experiencing the amazing life underwater and Protecting the evermore polluted Oceanic world: When you free dive gracefully, then the amazing species under the water will come closer and bond with you, much more then scuba divers blowing bubbles that are frightening and that scare species away. Diving with dolphins is also an incredible encounter that is often made even more memorable by being done on breath hold.
- Body Awareness: Free divers learn to constantly monitor what they are doing, checking that equalisation is done properly and in time, checking that the body is aligned and streamlined and checking that the finning is correct. These underwater body awareness skills will impact on all aspects of sustainable living, for example, minimising output whilst maximising efficiency, for example, a free diver learns to learn to move as efficiently as possible to save the precious oxygen.
- Better Nutrition: As a free diver, one becomes much more aware of the need to eat healthy food, since eating, for example a tasty greasy meal, chocolate and caffeinated drinks will increase the risk of indigestion and rapid heart rate, which will hinder free diving next day. A free diver tends to become a healthy and nutritionally balanced eater.
- Better Focus and Concentration: Free diving improves the mind by training it to focus exclusively on the present moment. There is no past, no future, just the present moment of the free dive. Free diving entails deep meditation as it requires extreme focus on the task in hand and with all extraneous thoughts put aside during the duration of the dive.
At Zen Resort Bali we offer a 3 night discover free diving course, a 5 night free diving Padi certification course and also an 8 night Padi certification course together with a free diving North Bali safari.