How long can you hold your breath?
Throughout the span of human history people have freedived. Firstly for food, then for sponges, pearls and other objects of value, or for items lost overboard ships. It has even been argued in the ‘Aquatic Ape’ hypothesis that humans spent several million years of evolution in a semi-aquatic existence explaining some unique physical characteristics.
In 1949 Raimundo Bucher dived 30m to defy doctors and scientists and create the first freediving world record. From this moment on, freediving became not just a quest for food or commerce, but for fame and glory and has evolved into the sport we know and love today.
Freediving has eight disciplines, from Static Apnea, holding your breath for as long as possible; to No Limits, where the diver descends using a weighted sled and ascends using an airbag or other lifting device.
With or without fins, the diver must descend and ascend finning under their own power. The diver may wear weight, but whatever is taken down must be brought back. This discipline is seen by many as the purest form of freediving and the toughest.
The diver holds their breath on the surface for as long as possible. This is the most mentally challenging of all the disciplines as there is nothing to take your mind off the fact you are holding your breath. This is good training for other disciplines.
The diver descends and ascends by pulling on the dive line. Weight may be worn but whatever is taken down must be brought back. Often used as a warm up before Constant Weight dives as it save the legs.
With or without fins, the diver swims horizontally under water in a swimming pool for as long a distance as possible. Good training for other disciplines during the winter.
The diver descends on a sled and returns to the surface under their own power, either kicking with fins and/or pulling on a line.
The deepest dives in history are made in this category. Here the diver uses a weighted sled to get to depth and is returned to the surface using a lift bag or other device.
When you take a freediving course you’ll be learning static, dynamic, free immersion and constant weight diving.
Improve your breathing, freediving and life!
What is yoga?
2,500 years ago, a writer called Patanjali wrote yoga-sutra, the first text on the subject of yoga. In it he defined yoga as ‘citta-vritti-nirohdah’ which means 'the cessation of the turnings of the mind'. The name itself ‘yoga’, comes from the Sanskrit word ‘yuji’ which means to unite, yoke, join or connect. All these associations imply rebalancing or reintegration. Yoga is a state of mind. Stilling the mind is one of the hardest things to do and so different facets of yoga developed to help us towards this goal. What most people think of as yoga (the postures) is actually just a small part of yoga, part of the preparation of the body for the practice of meditation. Hatha yoga is the name for the series of postures, and within Hatha yoga many schools have developed with their own unique approach to the various poses.
Emma did her teaching qualification with the Sivananda organisation which describes the practice of yoga as having five points:
1) Proper exercise
2) Proper Breathing
3) Proper Relaxation
4) Proper Diet
5) Positive thinking (Vedanta) and Meditation (Dhyana)
All of these practices will be integrated into the yoga that is done on your holiday, from delicious food to deep relaxation! The practice of yoga is commonly thought to be all about being bendy, however the real practice of yoga is an internal one and the peace of mind after practicing yoga is sublime! Emma is incredibly experienced at teaching all levels and can tailor postures to your individual ability so don't worry if you've never done any yoga before or can't touch your toes!
Each morning on the boat will start with breathing practice, gentle stretches and exercises to stretch and tone the diaphragm, and each evening will end with yoga nidra (yogic sleep) under the stars. Whatever your previous experience with yoga, you'll leave the boat feeling like you are walking on air!
One of the world‘s leading Freediving instructors
Emma is one of the world’s leading freediving instructors and the author of the stunning book One Breath, a Reflection on Freediving. She has been freediving since 2001 and formally teaching since 2004. She is an Instructor Trainer with SSI and AIDA, a founding member of the AIDA Education Commission and has written courses that are taught internationally, as well as her own speciality courses such as her course for surfers, spearfishing safety skills course and Gas Guzzler course.
She chaired the British Freediving Association for two years, oversaw the design and construction of the freediving platform at Vobster Quay and co-wrote the world’s first freediving logbook. She is also an AIDA judge and has competed, coming 3rd in the UK and Swiss National Championships and 2nd in the Kalymnos International Freediving competition.
Emma is a qualified yoga teacher, specialist pregnancy and post-natal yoga teacher, hypnobirthing practitioner, reflexologist and EFR CPR and First Aid Instructor Trainer. She also works with top-level Olympic athletes to improve their performance using a unique mix of freediving and yoga techniques and people confronting physical or psychological challenges to their breathing.
Emma regularly gives talks and presentations about freediving, including at the Royal Society on Exercise at Extremes, The UK Diving Trade Show, and presentations in Dubai and Abu-Dhabi.
She has appeared many times on television and in print media as well as acting as a consultant on short and feature films that feature freediving, her background as an multi-award-winning film maker in her own right helping with this. She has also body-doubled for the Umobase TV commercial.
Television appearances include Hidden Talent, River Cottage and Chicken Run for Channel 4 and Britain’s Secret Seas and The Indestructibles for BBC 2 and 3.
Print media appearances include Aston Martin Magazine, BBC Focus Magazine, EDA Magazine, Diver Magazine (UK and US), Gulf News, Health and Fitness Magazine, Look Magazine, Men’s Fitness Magazine, Sport Diver Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, The Evening Standard, The Evening Standard Travel Magazine, The Observer, The Observer Sport Monthly Magazine, The Times, Weleda Revue Magazine and Wired Magazine. She has also written for The Holland Herald Magazine and is a staff writer for Deeperblue.com.