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Yoga for Divers

Diving is one of the most fun and intimidating practices that are gaining more popularity these days. Whether you are a newbie in this field or an experienced diver, it is unavoidable and unquestionable that fear still exists. Knowing that our anatomical system isn’t designed to survive underwater, and the thought of all of the deathly creatures that might be wandering around the diving spot, you will surely be swallowed by fear and doubts. However, overcoming these negative thoughts will be rewarded by the underwater world’s magnificent beauty once you conquer them.

Dive into Strength and Consciousness!   
Yoga is well-known for its enormous benefits to the body and mind. The physical practice, combined with breathing exercises and meditation, will definitely promote better focus and awareness, a strong physique and a calm mind. All these aspects are very beneficial to divers whose awareness must be heightened all the time to ensure safety.

Breathing Exercises/Pranayama(s)

Breathing exercises are very effective ways to help divers achieve their maximum breathing capacity. When practicing pranayama(s), the slow and controlled breathing does not only relax the mind but also improves the lungs’ oxygen absorption and consumption.

Conscious Breathing. 

When diving deeper into the water, the pressure of the surroundings change. Air compression inside the body occurs and is decompressed as you approach back to the surface. This is where conscious breathing plays a vital role. If you hold breath as you reach the surface, air decompression inside the body can damage your sinuses, lungs and ears. Consciously breathing during dives means less air consumption, and less air consumption means deeper dives.

To practice breathing fully: Begin by sitting in a comfortable position while lengthening your spine. Close your eyes and inhale through the nose. Fill your lungs with air, then, your diaphragm. Exhale as you release the air in your lungs and notice how your chest deflates. Then, release the air in your diaphragm and notice how your belly sinks down. Keep a ratio of 3:3 for a full breath. This means taking 3 seconds to inhale and 3 seconds to release. Practice breathing fully as much as you desire.


Physical Practice/Asana(s)

Like other activities, diving is very physically demanding. This field requires that a person must be physically fit before getting into the waters. Yoga asana(s) or Yoga postures are very effective in increasing the body’s overall strength and well-being, making diving a lot less risky and creating a more fun experience without neglecting safety.

Heart Openers

Camel, Cobra and Sphinx Pose helps to stretch and counter the compression on your back due to the heavy 15-kilogram cylinder you carry around.

To do Sphinx Pose: Lie on your stomach and place your hands near your ribs. Slide back, allowing your forearms to rest on the ground. Remember to keep your spine long and keep your feet together.

Strong quads are a must. Whether it be walking to your boat in full gear or lifting yourself up back to the boat from a dive, strong quads and legs will help distribute the heavyweight throughout the lower extremities to avoid any back injury. Warrior I, Chair Pose and bridge variations will surely improve your quads’ overall strength.

To do Warrior I: Begin in a plank position. Inhale, then, bring your right foot between your hands and turn your left foot out on a 45-degree angle. Stabilize yourself by sending your hips forward, placing your weight on your right foot. Place your hands in prayer and inhale as you reach your arms up, palms pressing against each other. Stay in this pose for 3-5 breaths.

Meditation

Being at the present moment is vital to both Yoga and scuba diving, to fully absorb the magnificent experience and be consciously elevated. The unification between you and the experience can be achieved through meditation. Heightened awareness, composure under pressure and appreciation of your existence and the wonders in front of you will surely elevate your soul’s emotions and perspectives. Disassociation to the world’s stress and chaos through yoga or diving is a very effective medium of self-realization.
Composure Under Pressure. When experiencing trouble while underwater, remaining calm will surely save you. Panicking will only cause more trouble, injuries, or worst, death. Being composed during these moments and knowing the procedure will keep you safe from any harm. Meditation cultivates calmness which will surely make your diving experience less scary and more fun!

Adding Yoga as a part of your routine is an effective way of boosting your overall health. Practicing Yoga also makes anything a lot less scary and more fun. If you feel any doubt or fear or want to increase your mind and body’s capabilities to improve your diving experience, hop onto the mat and let the transformation begin!

How Tight Hip Flexors Affect Your Backbend

 

It seems like backbends are one of those things in yoga that people either love or absolutely hate. They seem to be so much fun for people who have naturally bendy spines and are painful and stressful for people who really need to work on them. There are a few factors that contribute to how much “success” you find in your backbends. A lot of people focus solely on their back, but that is not where you should be feeling it if you are doing it in a healthy and sustainable way. In today’s article; we are going to chat about your hip flexors and the role they play in developing an aesthetically pleasing and luxurious backbend.

How to Backbend Safely

Before we get into how to deepen your backbend, it is important to point out a few health-related things. First off, not everyone has the skeletal structure to do dramatic backbends. For some people, it does not matter how much you stretch your stomach muscles, because you will just end up causing compression in your spine. Secondly, I already hinted on this, but be sure that your backbends are stretching your stomach, because that is the main area you should feel it. If you feel it in your back, you should stop. Thirdly, be cautious with your backbends, because an injured back can be very difficult and sometimes impossible to heal.

 

Tight Hip Flexors Versus Your Backbend

Although a backbend itself is involving the core only, a lot of yoga poses with backbends in them extend all the way through the front of your body. Think about upward facing dog, cobra, camel, and wheel pose; they all extend all the way through the front of your body. Your hip flexors obviously don’t apply to any bends that are solely concerning your back/stomach.

A lot of people forget about the connection between backbends and the entire front part of their body. Some of the yoga backbend poses extend to stretching the front of your foot. If you have tight hip flexors it will be extremely difficult for you to ever get into the more dramatic poses without injuring yourself and pulling yourself out of alignment to get in and out of the pose. Working out the tension in your hips will allow you to really sink even deeper into your backbends and press into your hips a little more. It means that you can get deeper into a backbend without having to put any extra stress on your back.

How to Loosen Tight Hip Flexors

Make sure you really focus on yoga poses concerning your hip flexors. Poses like warrior 1 and dragon pose are all amazing at targeting your hip flexors. Yoga is all about connecting with yourself and functioning as a single being. If you move through your practice with this in mind, it will become natural to want to stretch your hip flexors when performing a backbend. The body is a singular unit. Happy back bending!

My Spring New Moon Detox

It is said that the new moon, as well as the days leading up to the new moon (the waning moon) are the best times to detoxify the body because that is when your body has the highest capacity for ridding of toxins.

That being said, I decided I was going to do a light eating/detox on the coming new moon. My goals were to eat according to the yoga Sattvic diet, while eating less in general.

I marked the date on my calendar, which helped me mentally prepare. It is amazing how much your mental state effects whether you binge on food or not.

The new moon came. My boyfriend was off that day so we decided to do some morning Vinyasa Flow Yoga and Japa meditation (using mala beads). I realized that unless I was calm and centered (through meditation) I wouldn’t be able to maintain my will and sense of peace.

Morning Yoga Session

We set out our mats in our room, grabbed our meditation pillow, mala beads, yoga capris, and our new Tibetan Singing Bowl.

We started and ended the yoga/meditation session with three rings of the Tibetan Singing Bowl, Followed by an Om Chant, said out loud together. As I expected, we felt in the moment and much calmer than when we started.

We chose to do the Sun Salutation yoga sequence, breathing deep and using the Ujjayi breath. We chose a few standing yoga poses, twisting poses, and core focused poses and sequences, ending on the floor in a few stretching poses.

I felt good about treating my body to challenging poses and poses designed to detox such as the twisting poses.

Breakfast

I was on my own with the daily diet plan, because my boyfriend decided that he would “participate next time”…Which, funny enough, by the next day he told me “ya’ know I think I’m going to start eating healthier too”.

For breakfast, I had a Multigrain Blueberry Oatmeal from Trader Joes that I had stuffed away in my kitchen cupboard. I savored some Hot Coffee this time, but if I wanted to challenge my self next time I will probably opt for green tea or hot ginger lemon tea.

I made a point to eat slower and really notice all the qualities of my food. This was a very satisfying way to eat as I noticed certain grains I had literally never saw before, even though I have eaten this oatmeal many times.

Lunch

I researched smoothie options on Jamba Juices website and figured we could have a smoothie date. The sun was out so we were able to drink our smoothies, get some sun, and spend quality time together. Springtime and smoothies are like a match made in heaven!

My Drink: Apples and Greens Smoothie

Dinner

For dinner, I wanted to stick to the yoga food guidelines, so I made a small bowl of white basmati rice and some sautéed veggies. We had some curry powder so I threw that in there.

We loved the curry taste so much that we decide to make a curry dish next week! Curry can be great because it doesn’t have a lot of salt and it doesn’t contain garlic and onion, which are both ingredients that agitate your mind according to the yoga diet. I was vegetarian too, a plus for the environment, animals, and mental state!

We ate slowly and savored our meal. We drank mint tea after dinner and went to bed early; perfect new moon detox!

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