Breathe... Live

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Posted by seahunt on August 09, 2001 at 11:23:51:

Here is something I have posted before, but since I was freediving this past weekend I thought I would re-post it. I think it's worth it. It's a powerful tool.... Remember, the most important muscle of a diver, after their brain, is their diaphram.
Enjoy the diving, seahunt

Did your instructor rememeber to mention...

Breathing... Breathing is good for a diver. There are things you
can do to conserve air and there is always the issue of skip
breathing, but there is also life breathing. There are things
you can do with your breathing to keep you alive when nothing
else will. This is an important lesson, even if it might seem a
bit odd. And it works, powerfully. How do I say it?
If you take up a martial art, music, dance or any number of other
sports, you will be told the overwhelming importance of breathing
and controlling ones breathing. This context of breathing doesn't
get much mentioned in scuba classes. I can tell you how to learn
it and what it can do for you, but the reason it works is still
mostly a guess to me, but I do know how useful it is. There may
be other ways to accomplish this, but if my guess is correct,
this is the easest and best way.
Essentially it's this. Associate a word or words with your
breathing. It doesn't even have to be out loud. On inhale, I say
"oh" (which is actually hard to say out loud when inhaling) and
on exhale I say "ho". Complicated, isn't it. Now do this for a
minute or five, while concentrating on doing relaxed, full
breathing. In ways, it is like meditating. Like other things to
be learned, it takes practice and repetition, but after a while
it becomes programmed in.
Why in the world would you do this? Well, say I am bicycling hard.
For many people, maybe most, what tires and fails first is
actually the breathing, not the legs. If you learn this controlled
breathing, you can change to it and it will be the legs that give
out first and maybe not near as soon as they would have. So how
does this help diving? Take it from me, when you are right there
at the edge, this can save you. In waves or currents, when you are
struggling or perhaps even in danger of losing conciouness, it can
give you back control. If you do a sprint underwater and
overbreathe your regulator or just overheat, it can get you back
in control.
Actually, it can do far more for you than that. My guess is that
partly how it works relates to the odd fact that breathing is one
thing that can be controlled either automatically or conciously.
Words are something that can be handled only by the concious mind.
(Go left. Go right.) Associating words with breathing forges a link
between the concious mind and the body. More than breath control,
it leads to an awareness of your body functions and status. It is
something that will serve you at far more than diving or other
sports, including if you find yourself quite ill and
Controlled breathing teaches self control of the body and mind.
Oh, I'm sorry. Your instructor did explain all that in AOW. Oh
well... then just forget I said it.

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