The student becomes the teacher!
June 2016: This trip was our third to Marsa Shagra Eco Village, Egypt as freedivers, but my first as their yoga teacher. Yoga and freediving go hand in hand; you can’t improve your freediving depth, or increase your time under water without increasing your breath hold, and you can only do that through regular breathing practices.
I had carefully prepared eight days of lesson plans; postures based on and added to the freediving stretches we do alongside the pool in our weekly club sessions, and various breathing practices to enhance our teams breath holds in the water.
In previous years Marcus Greatwood, founder of No Tanx freediving school, led the early morning yoga practice, with assistance from a senior freediver, Marco (see quote below) and we were usually on the beach with our mats looking out over the sea. Fine for calm mornings, but not so much fun when contesting with the winds across the beach!
This year the resort kind built us a yoga tent with a raffia floor – see above photo – for our students to use. At one time there were eight out of 16. Of us on the trip in the yoga tent, with Marco coming along too. As the week went by on the last day we had three chaps holding out to the end! I remained delighted with the turnout since I was getting up at 5.20am putting on lippy, and in the ‘studio’ at 5.55am to greet my students who had got up and made it to the mat by 6am.
You have to bear in mind our day after class was then a further nine hours of freediving/rest (sometimes a conscious effort! /freediving until bed time usually at 9pm.
My freediving skills improved so much on this trip. It has taken a significant amount of training to tune my mind and body so that when I am preparing for a dive, and ask both to relax, I am able to do so. Visually my shoulders drop, my body goes soft, and anyone looking at me can see I am in ‘relaxation mode’. Our No Tanx club founder and leader Marcus Greatwood, and the senior freedivers, also noticed my discipline change, and at the end of the week I won one of the four awards given to the group, ‘Best freediver of the week’. I was thrilled that my dedication paid off.
I learned so much from planning and teaching this eight-day class and the feedback from my peers was constructive and most rewarding.
Next year I intend to work closer in advance with the team members on the trip and stylise a yoga programme to meet their objectives.
I’m looking forward to it already… only another 12 months to wait!
Testimonial from one of our senior freedivers, and experienced yogi, Marco:
"I had the fortune to attend a few of Jules's classes during this freediving trip in Egypt. In each session I felt guided in detail and gentleness.
Jules showed us how a 'micro' movement within the body can affect our 'macro' flow of energy and experience.
Her dedication and focus are led by genuine love for yoga and life."
Marco Piccioni, Musician and freediver (June 2016)