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My breathing practice takes me to new PB depths

July 2016: An entirely different kind of set up at the beach fronted hotel one hour west of Athens; no space for group yoga sessions. This was an opportunity to continue my pranayama (breathing practices), enjoy the company of our freediving club buddies, and soak up the beautiful surroundings and sunshine with David.

I am fortunate to have two sporting loves which are intrinsically entwined – you cannot improve your freediving abilities without controlling your breath. Before every dive session our No Tanx club founder and leader, Marcus Greatwood, encourages us to adopt our own breathing practice for five or 10 minutes (depending on the style of dive planned for the session). Even by pool side, at our weekly club sessions, we adopt inhale for five/exhale for 10; and as we’re waiting on the buoy for our turn on the rope for a deep dive in the sea/lake, it’s this breathing pattern which calms our mind and body enabling us to visualise the dive we have planned.

This is an example of how a breathing practice can improve your time and depth in freediving. In September 2014 at the Vobster No Tanx club weekend ‘Dive Off’ my personal best deep dive was 14.5 metres (I always count the .5m, it’s important to me!).

At Marsa (Egypt) in June, my ‘free immersion’ discipline (pulling myself down on the rope) my PB had increased to 17 metres (incremental steps of improvement).

In Loutraki (Greece) in July I was keen to try ‘variable weight’ (holding onto a weight on a rope and being released into the blue), and was thrilled to reach 25.8m (see photo above). I was so relaxed at the bottom; I just held on looked around and began my slow and controlled ascent.

To be able to tell my mind and body to relax and take control of my breathing pattern still amazes me.

Fun pose with David (above), and water distortion on the camera lense (right), makes for a perfectly framed photo.

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