Few things can make you feel as free and at one with the world around you as freediving. The act of freediving is as old as time itself. Over 6,000 years ago, Chinchorians, ancient Chileans, used freediving to collect food and goods to trade from the Ocean. To the outsider, freediving may look like not only a challenging and intimidating sport but downright dangerous. However, freediving is anything but; done safely and responsibly, this immersive sport will literally take your breath away.
Competitive freedivers may be able to hold their breath for 4 – 7 minutes and dive hundreds of feet underwater, but don’t let that intimidate you. These extreme times and depths are not the goals of recreational freedivers. As a recreational freediver, you will, however, learn that your body is capable of doing more than you ever thought possible. Reaching these kinds of personal limits, experiencing an inner peace like no other, and exploring the underwater world in total silence are some of the reasons why freediving is so amazing. Here is a list of the top eight reasons why we think freediving is one of the most amazing physical activities on the planet.
Not only does freediving strip scuba divers from of their restraining BCDs, heavy tanks, and dangling hoses, some highly experienced and competitive freedivers will tell you that the purest form of freediving is even without fins. Whether you choose to wear fins or not, the freedom you feel submerged underwater with only a mask on your face is what brings breath-hold divers back again and again. Nothing on earth compares to the feeling of unrestrictive movement you experience in a gravity-free environment.
Physical fitness is important in the sport of freediving, but the best breath-holders have learned to master their bodies not only physically but mentally. The more you train at freediving, the better you get to know your body and its limits. As you learn how to push the boundaries of your body gently, you will learn how to master your mind as well.
Much of the desire freedivers feel to stay underwater longer comes from the overwhelming sense of peace and tranquility all breath-holders experience every time they dive into the deep blue. With all sounds drowned out, including the beat of your own heart, you will experience a profound silence unparalleled to anywhere else on earth. This sense of calm envelopes you as soon as you dive below the surface, bringing a wave of pure peace that lasts the entire time you swim through this tranquil environment.
Learning to control your thoughts and mind is a large part of freediving, but so is your physical fitness. As you train, you will inevitably increase your body’s ability to swim further and faster than before. You will improve muscle tone and expand your lung capacity. As your body starts to perform at a higher level of fitness, you will see this spill over into your breath-holding capabilities. Increased fitness brings increased circulation, making your body more efficient and able to perform at higher levels than you ever thought yourself capable.
Unlike scuba diving, freediving allows you to move through the aquatic world in complete silence. Doing so does not scare the fish away, allowing you a closer and more intimate way to experience the underwater world around you. You will never feel as one with the ocean as you will when a school of fish engulfs around you as if you were one of their own.
An essential component of freediving is breathing. Specific breathing techniques are used at both the beginning and end of a dive. Mastering these breathing techniques not only allows you to dive deeper for longer as you improve, but the benefits carry over into the “dry” side of your life. Learning to take long, deep, cleansing breaths is shown to decrease stress. Another large part of freediving is learning how to control mind over body, which also teaches you to deal with stressful situations more calmly.
Nothing beats the sense of pride felt in yourself every time you dive deeper or hold your breath longer than you ever have before. This feeling of overwhelming accomplishment drives every freediver to be the best at this sport as they can be.
Freedivers have a privileged, personal connection to our oceans. You will get to experience the ocean in its most raw form, providing you with a knowledge and passion for the underwater world most people on the planet will never understand. As a freediver, you can use your unique experiences and exciting platform to help conserve and advocate for our oceans.
These are just a sampling of the many reasons why freediving is so amazing. Join the growing world of freediving. SSI offers many levels of freediving programs. Visit divessi.com to find a freediving Training Center near you. Don’t wait another day to feel the ocean wrap you in an overwhelming sense of freedom and peace as you glide effortlessly through its depths. Start freediving today!