Surface diving and yoga are related activities, as breathing is important for living in both activities. You may remember the key phrase from your open water course, Open water diverthat the most important rule of diving is "to breathe constantly and never hold your breath", yogis here say "breathe, focus on your breath as it flows in and out".
We think yoga can benefit divers, but why? We divers are curious; we dive because we want to approach what lies beneath the underwater surface. What are the real similarities between underwater and yoga? How do they complement each other? Valters Preimanis, diving instructor of the diving club "Diving", answers these questions. Walter is done Yoga teacher training 200 hour training course (Vinyasa and Hatha yoga) in 2019, the course lasted one month on a secluded island, and yoga is recognized as an excellent form of health maintenance.
The respiratory system is the only body process that can be operated on its own or be controlled with active attention. Scuba diving and yoga increase our understanding of breath and complement each other. When scuba diving, we constantly breathe through our mouths into the regulator. There are hundreds of different pranayama (yoga breathing) techniques designed to help yogis make full use of their lung capacity.
Full breathing, especially exhalation, is emphasized in yoga for the purposes of strength, purification and meditation. Full breathing is essential for safe gas exchange even in diving, where we have to breathe completely to cleanse the body of CO2 waste. Lung expert Paul Davenports, Ph.D., says that "deep breathing exercises, such as those used in yoga training, help maintain normal blood oxygen levels."
Pranayama training can reduce the risk of CO2 poisoning by scuba diving. This safer way to breathe has the added benefit of improving the diver's air consumption. When we breathe more slowly, deeper and fully exhale, the air in the diver's balloon is expended more slowly and the time spent underwater is extended.
Breath and body connection
The use of breathing exercises improves divers and yogis. When we reach neutral buoyancy under water, the lungs control our condition.
Whether or not you've ever tried yoga, you may have seen a photo or video of a yogi doing something that seems physically impossible. The seemingly superhuman force and distortion do not arise from coercion, but from the connection of the body with the breath. The basic activity of yoga asana with the intention to focus on breathing helps us to understand the connection between the breath and the body, and it has a real potential to improve buoyancy under water. Regular yoga practice adapts us to the strength of our lungs and helps us gain an instinctive understanding of how to effortlessly use the breath for diving so that we can gracefully ascend, descend, and swim in a weightless state as needed.
Some yoga styles are physically strong. Physical fitness often develops in tandem with coordination. In accordance with Divers Alert Network poor medical and physical fitness may increase the risk of decompression sickness. The American Physical Activity Guidelines for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tell us that adults need aerobics and strength training. Yoga can provide both aerobic and strength training to improve our physical fitness, make diving safer and facilitate scuba diving.
Meditation, attention and presence
In his book Deep, journalist James Nestor cites scientific research on the meditative benefits of diving, including a Harvard study comparing Tibetan monks practicing Deep-mo meditation in depth and freed divers to find similar psychological and physiological characteristics.
Nothing compares to the happy, fresh and peaceful way of thinking we feel after diving. If you, like me, live after diving because of the feeling, but can't go diving every day, yoga could be a way to use the mental state of diving when you are without water. Yoga practitioners reach a similar position from yoga practice.
Both diving and yoga are active forms of meditation, as polishing the breath / body connection is an attention exercise that makes us present, here and now. Not only can yoga help us find peace, but regular yoga practice can make it easier to enter a meditative state under water.
In this meditative state, we experience increased awareness, which improves our observation skills. By operating from this location, it is easier to spot masked underwater creatures and anticipate potential security threats.
Are you interested in yoga and scuba diving? Check out these diving courseswhere you will also learn everyday Pranayama exercise.