The Yoga of Scuba Diving: Learning to Conquer Your Fears With Yoga and Scuba Diving
You might be asking yourself what yoga and scuba diving have in common or what effects yoga has on scuba diving….. and this blog post really isn’t about either of those. As you would likely guess, I have been practicing yoga for a really long time, and, to be honest, I have been diving for a fairly long time as well.
I wouldn’t consider myself a natural candidate for scuba diving. I don’t really like to get my face wet, I wouldn’t consider myself a great swimmer, and I was generally kinda like “meh” when people would talk about diving, but then I realized that scuba diving was an activity I could do in most places where I wanted to travel, and admittedly I could use scuba diving as an excuse to travel. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to go on some pretty awesome yoga and scuba diving trips over the years.
So what does yoga have to do with scuba diving? Well, I soon realized that all of the pranayama (breath-work) I had been doing in my yoga practice made me a pretty good diver. I could stay calm in tricky situations and had good air consumption, so I was a natural. I grew to love diving.
That is, until I found myself in a really frightening situation. In 2013, my husband and I went on a six-month honeymoon and we managed to do quite a bit of scuba diving. Near the end of our trip we spent a few weeks in Bali, Indonesia and while we were in Bali we went diving at the Liberty Wreck on the northeast coast of Bali. The Liberty Wreck is absolutely gorgeous; it has wonderful coral growth and marine life. The Liberty Wreck is a shore dive: on a good day you can walk right in and drop straight down, but on a bad day you’ll get tossed about by the waves on the shore. The day we went was leaning more toward a bad day. The skies were looking a bit stormy and there was a fair bit of chop, but we went diving anyway.
Our dive actually started with pretty decent conditions. We dropped down fairly deep and had a great dive. It really was beautiful, but towards the end of our dive the current picked up…. and I mean it PICKED UP. It was truly terrifying. I couldn’t swim against it. I was working so hard and I was blowing through my air. I was on the verge of tears… I may have even had tears! All I could do was give Steve the abort sign. I was done. Eventually we were able to get into a protected area on the wreck, so I could take a moment, collect myself and slow my breath. However, I knew I couldn’t stay in that protected little cubby forever — I would run out of air, and I still had yet to do my safety stop.
As soon as we popped up out of our little cubby the current more or less flung our bodies around. We frantically grabbed onto the side of the wreck trying to find a spot we could hold onto without damaging the coral or ourselves. And there we waited as our bodies whipped about like flags on a windy day. This would have to suffice as our safety stop.
We surfaced with hardly any air remaining in our tanks. The waves had picked up even more… and now we had to get ourselves back to shore. We made it. I probably made a silent vow to never dive again, and I probably silently cursed at Steve for taking me on such a dangerous dive.
Honestly, I haven’t been diving as much since that dive. That one dive took away some of my love for the sport.
Well, we’re back in Bali now working on Ambuja Yoga, practicing yoga and scuba diving. It’s been three years since that terrifying dive. Steve and I just spent a few days in Amed and I knew how badly he wanted to go diving, so I acquiesced. It was time to face my fear. This is where the yoga comes in. It was time for me to look closely at my fear. Is it a real, rational fear? Is it limiting my enjoyment of life? I realized that I had been unable to separate one dive where the fear was real and rational from my enjoyment of future dives. My fear of diving became completely paralyzing and irrational; I had transferred that fear onto every other opportunity to go diving…. and it caused me to miss out. So this year, I suited up and dove the Liberty again. We rented our gear from Ocean View Tulamben. Once again, the dive was beautiful. This time there was no intense current and I enjoyed it! I look forward to my next bubble.
Living fearlessly is part of our yoga practice. Allowing fear to control our lives is a form of self sabotage. When we are fearful, we limit our potential.
Where does fear show up in your life? Where does fear show up in your yoga practice? Where does fear show up when asking for what you deserve? Fear builds walls and fear is our greatest limiter. Fear of injury. Fear of death. Fear of loss. Fear of connection. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being seen as weak. Fear of fear itself.
This week, I invite you to put fear aside. Try something new (or something old) that scares you. It could be something simple, like eating at a new restaurant… it could be something bolder, like trying handstand in the center of the room… or even bigger, like booking that dream vacation you’ve been eyeing for over a year…. or even bigger, such as reaching out to someone you love but have lost touch with.
Know that it’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s even okay to talk about your fears — to speak your truth. So, suit up and jump in! The universe is waiting for you!
Love and Light,
Headed out to Tulamben or Amed? I recommend the following: