Freediving is something of a new found passion. I am a complete beginner. But that's alright. In fact, given the safe hands I was in on Saturday, it was very much more than alright. I had a brilliant time.
It is joyously peaceful being underwater. I knew this before the weekend. That was what drew me towards freediving in the first place. The swimming pool is a place of solace. It is where I feel most truly peaceful. I have had moments of clarity in the pool. I have had glimpses of serenity whilst submerged.
Swimming is one thing. Freediving is another, though the two are not unrelated. I approached the learning of a new skill in freediving and apnea with a degree of confidence. I am a strong swimmer, and I previously undertook open water training to SCUBA dive.
Freediving is about keeping it simple. Really simple. There are few rules. There is little equipment. And that's part of the appeal. It doesn't need much gear. And, like a martial art, it takes a long time to master. Experience counts for everything. Saturday's Foundation Course was about following instructions to the letter, whilst listening to my body's innate wisdom, and going with that. It was like coming home.
And it's all about the breath. A single breath, to be precise. Bingo. This really is aquatic meditation. The whole point is achieving a state of relaxation, to activate the mammalian dive reflex. We, like whales, dolphins and sea lions, all have the ability to train this muscle, to enable us to remain under water for extended periods of time. The prospect is an exciting one for someone who is happiest in the deep blue.
"From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to the earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free." Jacques-Yves Cousteau
"God is at the bottom of the sea and I dive to find him." Enzo Maiorca