The world as you know it becomes silenced and you come face to face with what’s happening inside of you.
“You know that our breathing is the inhaling and exhaling of air. The organ that serves for this is the lungs that lie round the heart, so that the air passing through them thereby envelops the heart. Thus breathing is a natural way to the heart.
And so, having collected your mind within you, lead it into the channel of breathing through which air reaches the heart and, together with this inhaled air, force your mind to descend into the heart and to remain there.”
~ Nicephorus the Solitary
Full submersion into sea has a tendency to make most of us feel a little bit uncomfortable.Photo: Daan Verhoeven
She brings us face to face with something we are often not ready to confront.Photo: Daan Verhoeven
“When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still.”
During a freedive, we become closed circuits of energy.
As we descend, the blood shifts towards the heart and lungs to preserve the royal organs. When this happens, we find ourselves engaging in full pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses).
Loud and clear are the “voices” in your head, mostly telling you to get back to surface so you can breathe. This is a primal instinct and the mental practice of leaning into this fear is very real.
Ironically, we have more oxygen than we think. It’s the high levels of CO2 that are giving the mind/body the urgency to breathe, but the oxygen is sufficient.
With practice, there comes a point in the freedive where we are able to quiet that internal conflict and rest into the feeling of being without air.
With this, a deep meditative state is induced.
Our thoughts begin to cease and we fall into what is the definition of yoga:
Photo: Elena Kalis Photo: Elena Kalis
“Yogas chitta-vritti-nirodhah” or “Yoga is the cessation of the activities of the mind.”
It is practice in learning how to overcome that internal conflict and like with all practices, when we continually revisit and push beyond the edge of our comfort zone, something magical is revealed to us…Photo: Daan Verhoeven
…our potential.Photo: Daan Verhoeven Photo: Elena Kalis
“I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am.”
~ Sylvia Plath
Please, never dive alone.
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Ed: Catherine Monkman
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