Updated: Apr 24
Instead of ways of life as it were, images of “Freediving” in Thailand has increasingly become too much of a competitive sport. For thousands of years, numerous traditional communities have been living a sustainable lifestyle based on the practice of freediving. There came a time when men do most of the spearfishing, and women also dive, predominantly for gathering sea food. Take Sea nomads or ‘sea people,’ namely the ‘Bajau Laut’ or ‘Mogan’ in the Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia are skilled divers, and many Bajau Laut make a living from Freediving for examples. They start to dive at an early age and spend most days of their lives on and in the sea.
PADI Freediver - Sea Mastermind
Modern practice of freediving bring somewhat deep at the spiritual level. It helps diver re-connect to the wholeness, to the present moment, to nature. It improves health, both physically and mentally and it provides support to meditation practice.
Freediving has also been seen the art of discovering the amazing underwater world on a single breath, without supportive equipment. Freedivers practice skills to look at the colourful marine lives and beautiful corals or simply to relax. People also freedive to improve your aquatic skills, or to overcome fear and build self-confidence.
PADI Freediver - Sea Mastermind
Traditional freediving cultures has no rules. In the old days, breath-hold fishing and gathering techniques are focus only onto how to provide more energy than the energy they consume to get the food out of the water. For modern age, however, those techniques and skills could not come to a success without proper training from certified Freediving instructor.
There are also misleading perceptions with regards to “skin dive” or “snorkeling” concept leading to an ability for diver to freedive. Those terms are as shallow as how deep they can dive, or I would say how they just manage to “swim” on surface.
Freediving should be seen as a healthy lifestyle. A lifestyle that take care of ourselves and of our health. The practice of freediving greatly helps improving our health, both physically and psychologically. At the physical level, the regular practice of freediving can help gaining in body strength, especially legs and core strength; increasing general fitness level and improving muscle oxygenation. It also help lowering blood pressure and increase the level of vitamin D through a good exposure to sunlight.
When it comes to state of mind, freediving could lower the state anxiety, stress level and negative affect. Freediving certainly improves self-control and self-confidence through self-awareness, and empathy. To a greater extent freediving improves the memory, increase serenity and wellbeing level, and help strengthen the immune system. Everyone then benefit from those, the same way that yoga can be practiced for people at any ages, old and young.
Some freedivers compete on time by which or how long they can hold their breath or distance of which they can travel under the water or even how deep they could go into the blues. That is not always an essential way of practicing or learning how to freedive. Similar to traditional Freediving lifestyles, modern Freediving should not always bear such training context at all.
In fact, every time we duck down we seek to gain what’s in our need in lives, a lifestyle we envisage in and out the water – a positive way of life.
Because everyone just need to find an imaginative way of live on.
..That’s probably why we freedive.
The Author is PADI Master Freediver Instructor