Meditation and Relaxation and Their Importance to Freediving
Freedive spearfishing is a form of sustainable meat harvesting and a fun day on the water. However, for some it can also be a therapeutic experience. Many divers find freediving to be like meditation and relaxation. If you prepare for a dive by considering some simple techniques and good habits, you may see a significant increase in the length, comfort and productivity of your dives.
Stretching is a practice that improves diving. Daily stretching is another excellent way to avoid cramping in the water as well as allowing for more flexibility and elasticity in tissue, increasing muscle endurance during dives. Stretching prior to a dive is always a good idea.
Preparation for diving starts 24 hours in advance. Nutritional considerations are avoiding dairy and gluten as many divers can experience negative effects on their sinuses and gastrointestinal function while their body is experiencing different atmospheric pressures. For a more in depth explanation of dietary considerations while diving see Freediving Nutrition blog found on the Academy page.
Hydration is key to maintaining a low heart rate, and helps prevent cramping. Like any other sport or physically exerting activity, proper hydration is key to performing at optimal levels. Proper hydration also helps reduce inflammation in the sinuses. This helps divers clear their ears more effectively. Avoid things that will make it difficult to maintain a low heart rate such as caffeine, alcohol and large amounts of sugar.
The “Mammalian Dive Reflex” is a genetic ability from early man’s evolution from water. It is a human body’s ability to recognize and adapt to a marine environment. MDR is best activated before a dive by submerging your face in cold water for 3-5 minutes before beginning to dive. Doing this activates receptors under your eyes that send signals to the rest of your body, telling it to prepare for water immersion by slowing your heart rate and sharpening your visual and auditory senses. The more time in advance that you give your body to activate this genetic reflex, the more effective it will be during your dive.
Take a freediving course to learn more methods of activating your mammalian dive reflex.
Arguably one of the most important tools in a Freediver’s arsenal is a good breathe-up. It is a combination of proper breathing technique, Co2 tolerance and oxygen consumption. If you haven’t already, take a Freediving course. It is an excellent way to learn more about how to perform a proper breathe-up. This, in turn, will increase your efficiency underwater. This gives you the longest and most comfortable breathe hold possible per each individual diver’s ability. Every diver is different and finding a tailored technique under the supervision and safety of an instructor is paramount for safe and fun diving. Two key ways of improving your breath-hold is meditation and relaxation.
Important to remember: One of the most important aspects of a good dive is simply remaining as calm as possible and maintaining a low heart rate. Bradychardia is a Freediver’s best friend.
Mental State of Meditation and Relaxation
Much of a diver’s ability to maintain a low heart rate while maximizing bottom time is dependent on their ability to keep a clear and present mind. Being able to properly immerse yourself in a dive is both a mental and a physical task. It’s important to let go of outside stressors and thoughts that are not beneficial or relevant to the dive. A meditative approach to calming one’s thoughts can have an an extremely beneficial effect while diving. Meditation and relaxation is mostly subjective. After enough dives a diver can begin to assess what works for you. From there you can individually form your own pre-dive, mid-dive and post-dive ritual.