5 Reasons Why You HAVE to Learn to Freedive
The earth is getting busy and overpopulated. Just the other day I stood in line for 45 minutes to go see the new Avengers movie, and I thought to myself first , "will there be any popcorn left for me?” and then "where did all these people come from”?
Luckily for some of us, we spend our days under the water, in a more peaceful, relaxing environment, nothing but a few people and a whole lot of space. So next time you ask yourself, what’s the next new, adventurous thing I should do, look no further then freediving. Overpopulation isn’t the only reason, here are some more insights to tip the scales.
Weeding the Garden
Three years ago I completed a silent meditation retreat in Sri Lanka, and it was in some ways like a reset button for my brain. The monk kept going on and on about “weeding your garden” as in maintaining your brain the same way we would our backyard. Think of your brain as a landscape- would you rather a thick jungle or a wide open plain? Being underwater is forced maintenance of your own thoughts- it teaches us to relax, to breathe, and to focus only on the things we see around us. It’s as if nature is force-feeding us mindfulness.
People from all walks of life can learn to freedive, many of whom are doing so as a personal challenge. Freediving does not always have to be the most physical of sports, but that does not make it super easy to excel in. Like any other new and uncomfortable experience in life, the beginning is accompanied by feelings of fear, panic, and sometimes emotions you didn’t even know you were capable of. But these obstacles can (and WILL) be overcome, and as the feelings fade away through practice, the student is left with a sense of accomplishment and confidence, ready to tackle the next challenge.
The coolest people… ever
My father was a teacher and I vowed never to follow his path, as I saw the amount of stubbornness and naivety he dealt with on a day to day basis. He worked hard trying to give children the best education possible, and was constantly faced with students who didn't appreciate the effort. Becoming a freedive instructor, I was worried about the same fate, but quickly found that people learning to freedive (like yourself) do so because they WANT to learn, and WANT the challenge. Basically, they are the best students ever. As a general rule, people that freedive are cool, calm, collected, and you should hang out with them.
Imagine waking up in the morning, going to work, meeting new people, going out on a boat, immersing yourself in an incredible underwater world, sharing your passions with those around you, and finishing the day with a good meal and a beer watching the sunset. This IS the freedive lifestyle. Of course it’s full of all the problems that would occur in any other lifestyle (losing your pet chicken, stubbing your toe, forgetting to update your instagram), but I get more “pinch-me-now” moments then I have working in any other industry. Learning to freedive is like auditing the freedive lifestyle, and if you get hooked like us, you CAN make it your everyday.
The Vitamin D and the hair
When you work in the sun and on the ocean, you begin to develop classic characteristics. The sun bleached hair, the enviable tan, and of course the positive energy that seeps out of you like over-applied sunscreen. Not that it should be the main criteria, but you will also be the envy of your friends back home, them stuck in the office and paying 150 dollars an hour to wear those cool goggles in a tanning bed. The health benefits of the freedive lifestyle extend far beyond the physical. Absorbing the natural health of the sun and the ocean can do things for your mind that self help books can’t.
There you have it. A few more reasons why you should enroll in your PADI Freediver course, or at least give it a try the next time you have the chance. Who knows, you could be writing your own 5 reasons to learn to freedive soon enough!
Cam Hookey is a PADI Freedive Instructor, IDC Staff Instructor and Marine Biologist, managing and instructing Freedive training programs at Blue Corner Freedive, Lembongan, Indonesia.