Last updated November 4, 2022
By Cam Hookey, Freedive Instructor, Scuba Instructor, Marine Biologist and entrepreneur. Cam is the owner of Blue Corner Freedive and Fluid Focus Retreats.
Move over, Mr. Scuba, people are discovering a new (and unique) way to experience the ocean. Instead of relying on heavy gear and compressed gas to demystify the sea, a growing number of people are doing it using only one breath. Freediving.
For many, the brain immediately reels back with a sense of trepidation. That intangible feeling of the unknown lurks deep in us all, yet for some, it is met with an equitably powerful sense of curiosity. We all came from the ocean, so it’s no wonder we all feel a strong pull back to it.
Meditative Sport of Freediving
The idea of water therapy and the ocean being a vessel for healing is far from modern. Civilization has long viewed the ocean as much a healing presence as a humbling one.
Humans have forever sought answers to their land-dwelling problems through various modes of ocean-related traditions.
Freediving is a culmination of everything many of us are working toward. It combines self-awareness, physical sport and mindset training into one dynamic and adventurous reality.
The sport fulfills many fundamental desires, including increasing our mental and physical understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
For those seeking growth on various paths, freediving is hardly limited to records and depths. It represents a learning process that can apply perfectly to every aspect of life.
The sport teaches us the importance of humility and discipline while fully engaging our senses in an underwater world we are only just beginning to understand. When appropriately trained, freedivers become powerfully natural ambassadors to the ocean environment.
Here we provide a few practical benefits of learning to freedive, yet these are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Freediving conveys far-reaching benefits, from day-to-day improvements to challenging more significant perspectives.
New Definitions: Mind & Body
We have long been taught the idea of “mind over matter,” meaning that your mind can accomplish anything it sets itself to.
This can lead to relative success in various aspects of life but typically results in a limiting physical barrier. Many describe this as burnout, injury, or a stress-induced ailment.
Our mind is not always meant to “push through” our body’s limitations. Body and mind are one, working together to keep up alive and healthy. When pinned against each other, discontent is sure to follow.
Freediving highlights a deep knowledge of the body and the conditioned fickleness of the mind. It teaches us to trust our bodies again and to embody ourselves and our decisions. This small switch in perspective can bring profound realizations.
Improvement of Overall Health with Freediving
Patterns are prevalent in all aspects of our lives- in our relationships, careers, eating preferences and coping mechanisms. Breaking old patterns and forming new ones is complex and can often cause people to hold abnormally high expectations.
Sometimes the best way to change your life is to start small. With freediving, small can mean breathing a “different” way for a little bit each day.
While it may seem implausible that this small change could change your life, understanding the physiology of breathing will quiet even the most vocal of cynics.
Freediving helps us to learn new habits and form new patterns while tracking their effectiveness in real-time.
Sustainable Travel and Neuroconservation
In a 2014 TED Talk, Dr. Wallace J. Nichols spoke about his area of interest, a field he termed neuroconservation. The idea is simple. When people engage with nature with all of their senses, they have a more intrinsic motivation to conserve it.
Where does sustainable travel begin and neuroconservation end? This is what a sport like freediving helps us to understand. Sometimes it’s important to leave the GoPro behind, jump into the water and feel out your place in the uncomfortable environment.
As humans, we are observers. We experience things with an incredible amount of emotion when our minds are free to truly immerse in them.
In many ways, freediving is coerced mindfulness. Underwater, there is a profound sense of silence. Almost a passive stealth that the creatures of the deep epitomize.
The more we freedive, the more we become a part of it all, displaying an innate sense of sustainable curiosity and connection with the ocean environment. This changes the way we travel, the way we interact, and the way we think.
Fluid Focus was born of an ancient appeal for ocean connection. Our team of dedicated ocean enthusiasts has spent their lives exploring the learning and healing capabilities of the big blue.
We seek to incorporate as much as we can into an immersive ocean therapy experience. Freediving, conservation, breathwork, yoga—all of these practices help us achieve the result—a reconnection with the water and ourselves.