By Julia Lachica
Take a leap.
FREE-DIVING IS EXACTLY what it sounds like, diving freely in the vast open waters. With no breathing equipment, you get to be one with the ocean. Diving into the open waters can be intimidating but with the right training and practice, it is an experience like no other.
Free-diving will test your lung capacity and your ability to withstand the pressure as you descend underwater. Even though free-diving is essentially just diving underwater for a period of time, it is still advisable for you to get a basic certificate in free-diving.
One of the key aspects in freediving is to be relaxed. Sometimes having to think about what lies in the depths of the ocean can get a little intimidating, causing you to feel slightly nervous or hesitant. Being nervous or hesitant while you’re underwater can cause you to run out of oxygen in your system and may even cause you to blackout. Different freediving schools and courses have different techniques to calm the nerves.
Free-diving can get dangerous, the challenge is not only in descending underwater but also getting back up to the surface. The moment you feel your body has used up at least half of its oxygen supply, it is a signal to ascend back to the surface. This is why it is highly advisable for free-divers, beginners and experts, to dive with a group or with a partner at least.
Photo: Michael Liao
Free-diving welcomes people from all walks of life. Training for freediving is pretty basic but needs plenty of time to get the hang of. One of the first things you have to get used to is holding your breath for long periods of time. You can start with holding your breath for 30 seconds each day for weeks or months and gradually increase the time when you feel comfortable.
Apart from increasing your lung capacity, you must be able to remain calm, especially when you are underwater. Becoming anxious or stressed while diving will cause the heart to quicken, this will trigger responses that relate to stress and anxiety which is heavy breathing. The practice of meditation and/or yoga helps in calming the state of mind and also helps in focus.