(April 2016) Find out how freediving opened up my mind about the fear of the deep blue sea, and how it made me more aware of other sensations that you feel when freediving.
I’ve always had that fascination for freediving ever since I saw a video on youtube about it, the story was about a world record record attempt by William Trubridge at Dean’s Blue hole in the Bahamas which is the deepest blue hole in the world, 202 Meters deep. I wanted to take a freediving course back then but hesitated since I still had that fear of the open water and what lies beneath that dark blue space. I had National Geographic and the Discovery channel to thank for that since I watched a lot of shark documentaries and any other creatures in the sea that can hurt or kill you, but over time since I joined a lot of triathlons and had no option but to swim in open water the fear of the deep slowly subsided and eventually faded away until I was really comfortable swimming in the deep.
When I took up my freediving course last April 2016 with Freediving Philippines I was very excited since I now get to try the very sport that I wanted to do and be good at it, we started with some classroom sessions about how the body would work and react when you hold your breath. We discussed on what could go wrong and what to properly do before you hold your breath and take the plunge, usually some exercises on breathing techniques and relaxation. I never knew that yoga was a big help if you do freediving since it also involves breathing techniques, and stretching helps a lot with equalizing. Good thing I had a little experience in yoga thanks to my friend who always invited me.
After I learned everything from CO2 build up in your lungs, the urge to breath and contractions In your stomach we headed to the pool for some static and dynamic breathing exercises, where you are required to hold you breath for at least 2 minutes and 30 seconds for you to pass. On my first try I was able to hold my breath for about 3 minutes +, and after that we had to do dynamic exercises for us to learn how to use the long fins and how to duck dive for us to properly descend down, while the sun was about to set we headed to the sea, I was very excited to try all the new skills that I learned in the open water. We got to the sea and swam to the drop off, my heart was racing in excitement and fear since I didn't know what to expect which is really bad for freediving since you are supposed to be relaxed and your heart rate would be low enough for you to conserve oxygen. So when I did my dive, I closed my eyes so that I could really feel what my body's reaction would be when I hold my breath for quite a long time– or that might just have been due to my fear of the deep. But when I surfaced it felt really good and I wanted to do more dives.
Now for the past few months since my first dive I have been training and improving my techniques, I am more comfortable and no longer have the fear of the deep. I even prefer to be swimming in the deep than near the corals since I always feel that freedom in that big open water. My next goal would be to reach a depth of 40 meters or deeper in the next few months, since this sport has really grown into me, soon I want to be swimming with the thing that I fear most before all of this started, to be swimming with Sharks. Since they are the most misunderstood creatures in the sea, just because they can’t change their facial expression that does not mean we need to fear them, I’ve got a lot more to say about that but I’ll just leave it up to here for now. As always work hard and be brave. Peace!