Scuba diving has previously held the reputation for being an extreme sport for adrenaline junkies. This couldn’t be further from the truth when you consider how effective it is proven to be in reducing stress levels and boosting mental well-being. Divers from varied experience levels, body types, and abilities can all learn to unlock the secrets of the therapeutic landscape of the ocean.
Take Your Yoga to the Sea
Yoga is said to help achieve mental clarity and calmness while increasing body awareness to assist in relieving stress patterns and relaxing the mind, which in turn centers your attention and sharpens concentration.
When practicing these same principles in scuba diving, the effect on your body is enhanced and your dive experience is made that much better.
The heightened body awareness allows the diver to become one with the water, free from the stresses and worries of everyday life. The mind is not able to wander as easily as if you were sitting on your yoga mat, as you are forced to focus on the here and now.
Achieving this singular focus is one of the main aims of meditation, and is easily and successfully utilized in diving. External demands, overthinking, and over-analysis all fall away as you reconnect with yourself, listening to only the song of your own breathing, the bubbles, and ocean soundscapes.
Keep Calm and Breathe
Slow, steady breathing techniques are taught in diving, yoga, and other mindfulness practices. You are encouraged to breathe purposefully with full control. This allows your body to use your full lung capacity by focusing on the exhale to decrease your heart rate and to not allow carbon dioxide to build up in your system.
If carbon dioxide accumulates in the body, it results in shallow breathing, anxiety, and even panic. All these are what you wish to avoid when diving or practicing mindfulness.
The learned and practiced tool of ‘belly breathing’ also improves buoyancy and air consumption, allowing you more time underwater in a more relaxed state. In this state, with minimal effort, the body conserves energy and brings about balance and self-healing opportunities.
All You Need Is Vitamin Sea
Jacques Cousteau (French naval officer, explorer, conservationist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author, and researcher of all things under the water) is quoted as saying, “The best way to observe a fish is to become a fish”.
Just as yoga poses are slow, fluid, and controlled, this is the primary objective with your movements underwater as well.
There is a saying that if you can control your breath, you can control your mind, and if you can control your mind, you can control your life. This is relevant both in and out of the water.
You can experience improved alertness, more composure in stressful situations while also improving other areas of your life like relationships, concentration, sleep, general wellbeing, and happiness. There are so many benefits from using these tools in diving and in life on land, including strengthening your immune system, slowing aging, and reducing the risk of depression and hypertension.
The sense of stillness and oneness obtained underwater, without being able to verbally communicate, brings you to a state of consciousness in which you are able to appreciate the peace and silence of the beautiful wonderland under the sea: as Sebastian from Disney’s The Little Mermaid said: “Darling, it’s better, down where it’s wetter, take it from me”. Stop. Breathe. Act.