Dive into wellness
Yoga and diving - scuba diving may be an unlikely bedfellow for those looking to add a little subsea spice to a yoga and meditation practice
If you’re looking for a new challenge in 2020 why not try diving? You may be underwater, but there are some great similarities between yoga and diving, notably the attention to the breath and the cultivation of calm. Plus you get to switch off your phone for a bit!
Similar to yoga and meditation, scuba diving focuses on breathing, which is calming for the mind and body. It requires controlled, rhythmic breathing which can significantly increase our ability to cope with emotional feelings, improve sleep and boost general wellbeing and happiness.
“There are so many aspects of scuba diving that may be beneficial in directing our minds away from worries, stresses and daily demands,” says clinical psychologist Dr Laura Walton.
According to PADI (padi.com), the world’s largest recreational diver training organisation, scuba diving has myriad benefits with many divers testifying to its healing power, while benefiting from exploring the ocean and interacting with marine life, experiencing new cultures and meeting like-minded people.
No longer the domain of those interested in extreme sport, it says more and more people are taking to the underwater world simply to relax and experience tranquillity while keeping physically fit and mentally healthy.
“In modern life, we are constantly pulled into the past and present, through our ability to think, but when we dive beneath the water our attention is captivated by absorbing experiences of entering another world,” says Dr Walton. “To an extent, we leave our ordinary selves on the surface and wholly fill our mind with focusing on a new environment, leaving no room to think about unnecessary concerns, so we connect with ourselves in a different way and become present in the moment.”
There are other good reasons for diving too. Flexibility and strength are increased as muscles tend to work harder due to the resistance of the water and swimming against the current. Cortisol levels also decrease in the water, reducing blood pressure and heart rate and aiding relaxation.
And, of course, no two dives are ever the same once you’ve taken the plunge. From stunning coral reefs, brightly-coloured fish and wrecks to swimming with dolphins, manta rays and sea turtles, each dive is an experience you’ll never forget.