Everything starts with motivation… Here was my initial motivation for a breath work practice.
I thought that after years of living on a boat, I would naturally improve my ability to free dive deeper, longer. However, it seemed like I plateau’d. I could dive at basic levels, but I wasn’t improving. In particular, I was a little disappointed with my ability to catch fish for dinner reliably. I was pretty hit-or-miss.. It was kind of embarrassing!
Unlike the locals in Tuamotus who eat fish daily, for every single meal, we’re happy eating fish once or twice a week. We’re not avid hunters either. Yet, living on a boat, if all else fails, fish is what’s available to our family. So I decided to make a concerted effort to improve my free diving and spearfishing.
I watched excellent spear fishermen like Josh in Ahe, and Bruno in Faaite, and saw they spent way more time underwater, holding their breath perfectly still, than I ever could. I read books on professional free diving and techniques, and that’s when I had the exciting realization: “Wow, it’s just an extension of of my yoga training.”
In particular, the training for free diving is essentially the same as the 8 limbs of yoga: moving from the disciplines of the body, stretching, breath control, withdrawal, concentration, and ultimately states of meditation. As such, the benefit and application for general well-being is widespread, not just diving deeper for longer.
My interest was piqued. I thought, “OK, so I can improve my free-diving and also my general well-being? Two-for-one, sweet!”
I’ve found that breath work practice helps:
– my respiratory and circulatory systems;
– my ability to manage energy, by calming myself to reduce stress, or energizing myself when needed;
– my mindset, by enhancing mental and emotional stability, improving day-to-day performance
– and… it helps me catch more fish quickly, which makes my wife happy!
This was just a personal practice, until last year, when we had a charter trip that caught us off-guard. There were four seniors aboard, two of whom weren’t comfortable swimming off the back of the boat, and had mobility limitations. We couldn’t do our normal activities of snorkeling and beach landings. It was getting quite challenging, so I improvised. “Tomorrow we start breath-work at 7:30am,” I announced, with a little uncertainty. Nevermind my doubts… we needed something to do as a group.
For those seniors, beside the beautiful cruise around Moorea, the breath work ended up being a highlight of their trip. They appreciated the feeling of “aliveness” that comes from active, focused breathing. Since then, I’ve shared our breath work practice with many other Green Coco visitors, from young kids to retirees. Everyone lights up with it, and it’s a joy to see their rapid improvements in free-diving too. “Follow the stoke” I say!
Our visitors have asked me for materials so they can continue to practice at home. That’s how our Ocean Yoga Breathwork was born.
To learn more about our trips and see our schedule, visit www.GreenCocoCharters.com