AIDA Freediving course - Jens' conclusion
Of course, I had certain expectations on the course. The most remarkable experience for me was the big difference between just being a student again instead of learning and training autodidactically respectively what heavy impact “just being a student” had on the level of my relaxation during diving. I had already engaged myself in the subject of freediving, both in the water as on land. I had trained breathing tables, practiced safety routines in the water, improved my stroke, read scientific papers on the physiology of apnea diving, spent hours of research online, etc... On the web there are many good resources to better yourself. Adam Stern with his patreon-channel or the podcast “freediving-café”, for example, offer many good tips and inspiration. But none of them can replace the experiences I made diving with Apnea Canarias.
Don’t think too much...
The course contents build on each other. Bit by bit information is added in the theory units. Concepts that are less important for the beginners level are cut out so you can just focus on the essentials. The “mouthfill”, for example, is an advanced equalization technique. I had been reading a lot about it beforehand and while diving I thought about which time or which depth would be best to fill the mouth with air from the lungs before the chest feels constricted, making it impossible to move any air out of the lungs for equalization. I wondered how to do it best, which technique to use… But that’s quite irrelevant! At least for my level. For me it is much more important to relax both mentally as physically and to stretch before the dive. This way going to 30 meters was no problem and I had no reason to think about the “mouthfill”. Maybe next time when I want to go even deeper. But one step at a time. First consolidating what I have learned.
Another positive aspect for me was that not having to worry about the external conditions and safety precautions (apart from the matter-of-course duty to take care for my buddy). Formerly I used to pay constant attention to currents, weather changes and boat traffic, keeping an eye on the buoy not drifting off and taking it back if necessary. I always ensured that my fellow divers felt in good hands all the time. Now I could just let go. A highly experienced team around me caused my mind suddenly feeling free. I was just a student. I only had to take care of myself and my buddy, which made it so much easier to get this peace of mind which is crucial for freediving. A fact that clearly speaks for a good course. Getting back to the list of my expectations, which of them have been fulfilled?
"I wish to pick up more about relaxation methods for both body and mind, about how to focus just on the next dive.”
Completely fulfilled. During the course it was much easier for me due to being a student, but Dunia’s tips will help me in the future. Everybody has to find his own way and his own methodology. The power of visualization supports me. And also the endless blue surrounding me…
"I hope to get training impulses for breathing as well as for fitness and mobility. Which sequence of breathing tables makes sense? Should I include pranayama in my regular training, and if so, how? What stretching exercises are especially helpful for freedivers?”
OK, these are actually different aspects. But yes, all of these have been fulfilled. I was particularly impressed by the big impact of doing stretching exercises before diving, especially for dives going beyond 20 m depth.
"I want to learn new diving skills and enhance existing ones.”
Clearly fulfilled. Free immersion with free fall. I love it. And yes, I’m working on my fin kick for constant weight and dynamic.…
"I would like to have my self-taught safety routines checked and trainnew ones.”
Fulfilled. Even though my previous technique for a rescue dive was very close to the AIDA protocol.
“I wish to turn into an more experienced buddy team with Eva, but also become a reliable diving partner for everyone else."
Also for this subject I could pick up some suggestions. Especially for safety when diving beyond the limit of visibility. So fulfilled.
“And yes! I have also a very specific goal: finally reaching 30m depth.”
YES! First it was difficult not to push this goal, it was just too present in the back of my mind. But I also knew that it wouldn’t make sense to force it, so I tried to block out this goal as much as possible. And suddenly it was accomplished. Off-handedly, on the way, while I enjoyed the feeling of free fall with my eyes closed.
Thereby I realized my diving goals for this year: Being able to stay relaxed under water for two minutes (Static does not count and reaching a diving depth of 30 m. Check!
My conclusion: An (AIDA-) course at Apnea Canarias is highly valuable!