The Zen Of Blowing Bubbles – Yoga And Scuba Diving

  • Yoga and scuba diving at sunset in La Paz, Mexico

My heart is pounding, my body is shaking and my mind is racing. I’m terrified … but of what? Jumping into the ocean – something I had done countless times before. So, why am I so afraid this time?

It is our first day scuba diving and due to a mix up at the dive shop scheduling PADI open water courses, we find ourselves kitted up and jumping in the water before receiving any classroom instruction. For some reason this scares me. Shouldn’t I at least have something beyond basic theory before jumping in with both feet – literally?

With a lot of coaxing from our instructor and Alex, who has no problem jumping right in, I take a few deep, calming breaths and give myself over to the moment. I take that first big giant stride, and guess what? It’s no big deal! What I realize is that my yoga training has helped me overcome my fears and enjoy the experience. I also realize that yoga and scuba diving have much in common. The focus for both is breath, body and mind.

 

Diane swims with a French Angelfish and Hawksbill Turtle near Cozumel, Mexico

Diane swims with a French Angelfish and Hawksbill Turtle near Cozumel, Mexico

 

Breath

The first thing I learned in yoga was how to control my breathing. Pranayama is taking in long, deep breaths through the nose, expanding the lungs and releasing the breath slowly while relaxing the body and mind.

The first lesson in scuba diving, even before we jump off the side of the boat, is to never, ever hold your breath – the number one rule. The next lesson for diving also involves breathing. If you find yourself in a challenging situation or dealing with fear, the first things to do are stop, breathe and think. Good advice yoga and scuba diving – in the water, on the mat, and in life.

Buoyancy and control are two essential elements to becoming a skilled diver. Once a diver can control their buoyancy and movements, diving becomes an amazing underwater experience. The secret to control? You guessed it – breath.

 

Body

Potato Grouper at Cod Hole, Australia

Potato Grouper at Cod Hole, Australia

While fitness is not necessarily the main focus of both yoga and diving, it is definitely a benefit. Scuba diving can be a physically demanding sport. The gear alone weighs quite a bit, and often you may find yourself lugging tanks down the beach for a shore dive, hauling yourself out of the water onto the boat in rough conditions, or swimming against a strong current.

Yoga asanas done regularly will help you to become fit and keep you strong and flexible. This will help you avoid fatigue and injury in less than ideal conditions and become a better diver.

 

Mind

I’m an anxious person and when the divemaster starts the briefing for the dive ahead, my anxiety increases. This is when my yoga and scuba diving training really come together.

I stop, breathe and think – what if something goes wrong? Most likely nothing will go wrong, and I tell myself I have the skills to deal with it on the off chance something does. Deep breaths help to calm and focus the mind for the upcoming dive. Once in the water, the dive itself is a meditation of its own.

 

“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination
and brings eternal joy to the soul.”
– Robert Wyland

 

Unfortunately, something that also comes to mind when scuba diving are the effects of human carelessness on the underwater world. Seeing discarded trash and fishing equipment in the ocean makes me mindful of my responsibility to preserve the places I visit. Everywhere I dive, I am reminded of the ocean’s fragility, which makes us want me want to see as much of it as I can.

 

Diane at a Shark Dive near Osprey Reef on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

Diane at a Shark Dive near Osprey Reef on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

 

Yoga And Scuba Diving

In addition to my regular home practice, I like to do a few Sun Salutations before doing any yoga and scuba diving. The beauty of sun salutes is that they can be done anywhere – at home, on the dock or even on the boat (if it’s large enough). They slow your breathing, stretch and warm your entire body, and calm your mind to prepare you for the rigors of the dive.

 

Relaxing after a dive at Chimu near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Relaxing after a dive at Chimu near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

 

So, I jump in the water, take my first breaths beneath it surface, and my life is transformed from that moment on. Scuba diving has become the focus of my travels and provides balance in my life. There’s something about being underwater that makes everything else disappear. There is no yesterday or tomorrow, only the present moment and incredible sights I am seeing right now.

Travel The Blue Path

By |2019-09-25T10:24:22-08:00March 26th, 2019|Categories: Action|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

About the Author:

Diane and Alex have spent their lives together in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia. For 25 years, they have been going down The Blue Path and trying to see and share as much of our ocean planet as they can.

4 Comments

  1. Renee' Garrison March 25, 2019 at 08:05 - Reply

    Great article! I love Scuba diving! It is so relaxing for me. I have become very good at breathing and conserving my air consumption so much that some people think I “make” air while diving because I end every dive with so much left in my tank. I’ve never tried Yoga…I lie, I did it 2 times, but I think it is a great idea to practice yoga before diving. It makes so much sense. I will have to get my husband to try yoga before diving because he uses a lot of air. Thanks so much for this information I really enjoyed the article.

  2. Grant October 15, 2019 at 17:55 - Reply

    Breathe…. repeat. I ask myself how many time have I sent that missive to co-workers. Thank you.

    • thebluepath October 25, 2019 at 08:55 - Reply

      Thanks Grant. We’re happy you enjoyed the article. We feel it’s always helpful to find the zen in all situations.

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