Freediving Course - Day 2 - Poolsession
How was the second day for me? Revealing. And no, I don’t love the “static” discipline. For me even “dynamic” will be just a tool to improve my technique, nothing inspiring. Open water diving is what I love.
Going the distance - dynamic session
The focus of the dynamic session was to improve the swimming technique, correct the posture, to practice a good and steady kick and to train efficient turns. I guess in the future I’ll do some dynamic sessions in the pool especially to train an efficient swimming style. But otherwise this discipline doesn’t excite me very much.
Doing nothing? The static session
In contrast to the physically strenuous diving for distance, the next session was all about physical relaxation and mental calmness. After a short explanation of the protocol we let ourselves float on the surface for a few minutes in order to calm down both internally and externally. Pretty much like meditating. Then three breath-holding attempts followed as previously described by Eva.
Counting and the diving reflex
During the first two attempts I tried to distract myself by counting my heartbeats - not very relaxing. But to my surprise shortly after the start of the apnea I noticed a little drop in my heart rate. Until now I had not consciously experienced the diving reflex. This drop of the heart rate was the first sign of the dive response I ever noticed. Great. My body has it too, yay.
At the same time I was wondering how it’s going for the other participants. I was too much trapped in the here and now and the ifs and buts. Too distracted. Too many thoughts.
During the breath-up, the preparatory breathing for the last attempt, lying at the edge of the pool, the head resting on the forearms and the eyes closed Dunia reminds me in a soft voice that there is nothing to gain here, that everyone practices only for himself. I should let my mind wander, should dream in pictures, maybe about special places where I would love to spend my holidays. That made me smile... The week on Tenerife is kind of vacation for me and I wouldn’t want to spend it anywhere else. But the idea is clear and once again Dunia proves a superb sense for what is going on in my mind.
I decide to visualize a fictional dive which I used earlier during my table trainings. A journey through an underwater world, a mixture of elements from my own experiences, different reports and movies.
The dive starts with an encounter with a porcupine fish, a perfect moment. I‘m hovering weightless at the edge of a colorful reef, sun rays break through the surface above and the porcupine fish swims with its side fins wagging towards me. From a short distance we look into each other’s eyes, time stands still...
Then I dive down the reef and reach a garden of soft and hard corals. After a while it ends at a rock face. A canyon leads through the wall, narrows further and finally forms a tunnel. After a short section of nearly total darkness, the view opens into the infinite blue. And at the exit two curious dolphins approach. This encounter lets me stay for a moment longer and I try to keep up with the twists and turns of the two. No chance. This elegance...
Maybe the last part of the dive is familiar to one of you who watched the documentary “Ocean Men”? In a book which title I unfortunately forgot, the cameraman Bob Talbot describes how the scene with the tunnel and the dolphins actually happened by chance. Impressive. If you haven’t seen the movie yet - make sure you watch it! And please contact me if you know the title of the book I mentioned.
Back into the pool. The breathing stimulus becomes stronger and stronger, I put my feet to the ground, approach the edge of the pool. The face still submerged. Five seconds longer… a little longer… and then I lift my head out of the water. Wow. The stopwatch shows one minute more than before 3:50. Thank you, Dunia, for reminding me on the power of visualization.
But still, I’m looking forward to the next session in the open sea, to the feeling how the water pressure affects the whole body and the endless blue around me.