Yoga for Freediving is one of the best ways to train for freediving. Pranayama, meaning breath control in Sanskrit, is a discipline that finds its origin in ancient India. In western culture, yoga is commonly seen as a stretching exercise, but it is much more than that. Yoga increases the awareness of the body and the control of both breath and mind in ways that a stretching exercise can never do on its own. You could argue that freediving is actually a form of yoga.
Sara Campbell is a four times world record holder, with a personal best CWT of 104m. It is the practice of yoga, and the mental and physical benefits of yoga that have allowed her to get there. Sara is releasing her first yoga for Freediving course on the 21st of June, International Yoga Day, and Freedive Wire has had a chance to review it.
“Freediving, and yoga and meditation are more than inextricably linked, they are one and the same thing. If freedivers want to create the best foundations for their training, and really see their performance improve exponentially, meditation and disciplining the mind is the one place they need to focus their attention.” – Sara
Yoga for Freediving: Deep Relaxation
Deep Relaxation is the first of six of the Yoga for Freediving courses. It is a resource that is beneficial for divers of any level. Deep Relaxation is an online course that works mainly with simple meditations, exercises and lectures. By signing up you are effectively inviting Sara Campbell as your private yoga teacher to guide you through meditations and yoga postures. Within the course you can find 28 lectures that add up to about 6 hours of material (22 of these are core How To materials which appear in every course to ensure you have the basics to hand each time; the unique content to every course is around 2 hours per course).
The most important videos, the guided meditations and lectures, are also downloadable as mp3’s. This is a great addition, because you can download them to your mp3 player and do them in the park if you wish. Nothing like meditating on the beach, just before you get into the water.
The videos are highly geared towards freediving, and all contain Sara’s personal perspective on how it affects performance. An example of a ‘how to’ video is ‘how to get the deepest inhale’. It won’t get much more applicable to freediving than this.
“There is more than enough information available for freedivers on the technical aspects of the sport, i.e. how to dive. But to date there is really no structured approach tailored to freedivers explaining the essentials of spirituality within freediving or teaching how to integrate yoga and meditation into their training. Learning to master the mental and emotional aspects of a dive are the make or break of every experience in the water. I’m excited to finally address this crucial aspect for freedivers of all levels.” -Sara
When I started freediving, I did daily yoga sessions and often meditated outside of that. These yoga sessions were not geared specifically to freediving, but they had a profound effect on my performance. If I meditated before statics, I would get contractions after 3 ½ minutes (my p.b. then was 4 minutes). If I do not meditate at all, my contractions start at 2 – 2 ½ minutes (my p.b. now: 5:20 minutes.
My most relaxed diving session of this season, was after I had started reviewing yoga for Freediving, and specifically, did a 40 minutes guided meditation by Sara. I believe Yoga for Freediving is a great resource for all freedivers that you can keep referring back to and I think many freedivers will agree with me.