October 21, 2016
I’ve been taking yoga classes regularly for almost two years now. A big part of yoga is breathing. Focusing on breathing, on filling your lungs and emptying them out in ways we don’t normally in everyday life. Moving and breathing at the same time, calmly, in a way that is both energizing and relaxing. It’s good stuff.
This week, I went in for a practice scuba session at the dive shop, in preparation for my dive trip next month. And I realized that scuba focuses on breathing even more than yoga does. Taking yoga has actually made me a better scuba diver, in terms of controlling breath and breathing calmly. I think I’ve cut my air usage by a third since taking yoga. Using less air means more time under water!
But it’s more than that, because in yoga I still struggle with keeping my attention focused. Not letting my thoughts drift off to the to do list or whether I love or hate the background music or trying to remember when was the last time I washed my mat.
But you know what turns out to be very focusing? That whole, “Yeah, if I don’t breathe correctly using this mechanical device, I’ll die” thing. Very focusing, that. And oddly relaxing. Even sitting at the bottom of a twelve-foot pool, listening to bubbles tumble out of the regulator, making sure my breaths stay slow — slow breath in, slow breath out — I think that’s about the most zen I’ve ever been.
It’s even better in open water. One month, I’ll be there.