How can Yoga enhance your Scuba Diving experience?
Asanas: Scuba can be a physically demanding activity. Therefore, maintaining good general health and fitness is an important part of being a diver. The physical postures in Yoga help strengthen and limber up the body, which reduces the risk of injuries, as well as prevents over-exertion, which can lead to breathlessness, anxiety, and other problems in the water. Being in better shape makes diving less strenuous, and therefore, more safe and enjoyable!
Pranayama: The breathing practices done in Yoga allow the body to absorb and use oxygen more efficiently as well as increase lung volume over time. Slow, controlled breathing facilitates a relaxed body and mind that will in turn improve your overall comfort, air consumption, and help you to fine tune your buoyancy, which is fundamental for being a safe and skilled diver.
Meditation: Meditation trains the mind to be calm, alert, and completely absorbed in the present moment. This mindfulness and concentration of energy makes our perception more still, vivid and meaningful. For many people, scuba diving is an emotionally soothing or spiritually inspiring experience. When we dive in this heightened state of awareness, we can expand our sense of wonder, appreciation, and oneness with the underwater world.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient practice that uses gentle physical exercises (Asana), breathing practices (Pranayama), relaxation techniques, and meditation to promote a healthy body, encourage a calm and composed mind, and create a foundation for heightened awareness and a peaceful state of being.
Although Yoga is traditionally a spiritual practice, it is more commonly pursued for its physical and psychological benefits, which include: returning flexibility and strength to the bones, joints and muscles; improving circulation, respiration and digestion; enhancing posture, balance and endurance; increasing energy and vitality, stimulating vital glands and organs, and relieving fatigue, tension, and emotional stress.
Yoga is suitable for all ages and levels of fitness. Contrary to the images that are often portrayed in pop culture, the fundamentals of Yoga are quite humble and uncomplicated. You will be amazed at how the most simple of practices can benefit your diving experience, and your life in general.
Yoga has become very popular, and with this popularity has taken on many brand labels (Asthanga, Kundalini, Vinyasa, Hot, Power, Iyengar, the list goes on and on) . Modern Yogis often ask what type or what "style" of Yoga I teach, which I am afraid I do not have a simple answer. The majority of my training, including my instructor training, has come from the Integral Yoga Institute, which teaches Yoga from a traditional point of view, covering all aspects of Yoga, physical and non-physical, with focus on preparing the body and mind for meditation and spiritual practice. However, I have learned from different teachers in different locations, so my class is a fusion of different styles and I try to adapt my classes to suit the level and interest of the practitioner.
In class, I emphasize practicing "Hatha", which to some is a style of Yoga, however, I consider it simply a fundamental of Yoga. In Sanskrit (the ancient language in which the Yoga texts are written), "Ha" means "Sun" and "tha" means "Moon". Combining "Ha" and "tha" implies a fusion, or a balance, of these opposite energies. The sun represents an active, extroverted, and powerful energy, while the moon represents a more gentle, passive, and receptive energy. In class, you will be encouraged to pursue this same balance when practicing your Asanas (physical exercises). Rooted in this balance between "effort and ease", the body is able to avoid stress and injury while experiencing the steady breath and stillness that will invite the practitioner to experience the deeper realms of Yoga.
In traditional Yoga, the Asanas were designed to return the body to a state of good health and fitness, in preparation for meditation and spiritual practice. The Asanas can be modified to range in physical intensity from ultra gentle to super powerful, depending on the practitioner's ability and intention. No matter the intensity, what makes Asanas different from normal exercise is that each physical posture is practiced as a meditation in itself: with the practitioner focused and mindful of the present moment, adjusting the posture to establish the "Hatha" balance, while pursuing an intention and connection that goes deeper than a simple, ego-driven desire to be fit. This is why Yoga truly is suitable for people of all ages and levels of health/fitness. It is really not important how far you can bend or how impressive your postures are, it is the ability to practice stillness and mindfulness that makes it Yoga.
Introducing, the PADI Yoga Diver certification course!
This is a distinctive specialty course written by myself and approved by PADI in 2015. At this time, I am the only instructor worldwide teaching my specialty Yoga Diver course.
With the Yoga Diver Student Manual©, land-based yoga classes with a certified Yoga Instructor, and in-water training from your Yoga Diver Specialty Instructor, you will learn:
- Instruction in beginner-level Asanas, Pranayama, Relaxation, and Meditation techniques
- How to use breathing, relaxation, and meditation techniques to fine tune your buoyancy
- How to use relaxation and breathing techniques to improve air consumption
- How to approach the diving experience with mindfulness so that you can be alert and composed throughout your dive
- Practice of buoyancy skills while using breath control and mindfulness techniques
- Practice of underwater Asanas
- Practice of underwater meditation
Upon completion of the course you will earn a Distinctive Specialty Yoga Diver Certification card from PADI.
The Yoga Diver course is suitable for any open water certified diver. The Yoga techniques can be adapted to suit any level of flexibility and fitness. If you can dive, then you can do the Yoga Diver course!
Not a Certified Diver? No problem! Let's get you certified! Contact me to book your PADI Open Water Scuba course. The Yoga Diver Course can be offer along side your initial certification. If you have never dived before, but would like to try it first before committing to a course, try the one day PADI Discover Scuba experience.
PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) is the most widely recognized and revered scuba diving training agency in the world.The PADI System of diver education is based on progressive training that introduces skills, safety-related information and local environmental knowledge to student divers in stages. PADI courses are student-centered and provide maximum practice and realistic application.
Please Note: Participants to the following events will be required to complete a PADI Continuing Education form which includes a medical questionnaire. If there are any questions answered with a "yes", the participant will require a doctors signature before participating. Although Yoga is suitable for all ages and fitness levels, there are some physical conditions that require special consideration and/or modifications. If in doubt about your ability to participate in Yoga, it is best to consult your physician prior to the course.
5 Day Budget Yoga Diver Retreat
Isla Grande, Las Islas De Rosario, Colombia
21 Septmber 2018 - 25 September 2018
Come and enjoy 5 days of wellness, adventure, and skill development in the beautiful island national park of Isla de Rosario, Colombia, South America. In this affordable Yoga-Scuba retreat you will experience daily Yoga offerings from Laura Nieto, of InandOut Yoga and earn your PADI Yoga Diver speciality certification, taught by the original course author, Amanda Parr of SoulScuba.
If you are interested in participating in this retreat, please contact me for further details.
Amanda Parr, the founder of Soul Scuba, is a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, certified Yoga Instructor, and author of the original PADI Yoga Diver© course.
Originally from Indiana, USA, she is perpetually travelling and living in diverse locations, allowing her to explore different approaches to Yoga, and life in general. Since her initial introduction to Yoga in New York City in the late 90's and an Integral Yoga teacher training in 2005 at Satchidananda Ashram in Virginia, she has continued to expand and share her understanding of the practice in various environments around the globe, such as the UK, Europe, Australia, Southeast Asia, India, the Caribbean, and Central America.
As a professional Scuba Instructor, it is only natural that she recognizes a profound and beneficial relationship between Yoga and Scuba Diving and has been developing and teaching a unique fusion of the two since 2014.
Amanda's approach to Yoga is traditional and humble. The foundation of Yoga is meditation, the aim is stillness. When an individual, using breath control and mindfulness, can find their own personal balance between effort and ease, even the simplest postures can be powerfully beneficial for both body and mind. Amanda's classes are gentle enough for beginners and yet also aim to challenge experienced practitioners by encouraging them to "empty their cup" and re-connect with their "beginners mind". Guided by fundamental concepts and techniques, Yogis of all fitness levels are coaxed into a deeper state of awareness, where steadiness of body and stillness of mind can be achieved both on and off the mat.