I have recently had some inquiries as to what type of yogic exercise can be done for preparation specific to freediving, so I brought a pad of paper and pencil along with me to William’s morning session and documented his sequence. We later went over its strengths and weaknesses and together formulated something more effective, which he has been using since we got to Tenerife and says he finds to be much more organized and enjoyable. What is lovely about this particular warm up is that it is also quite effective in preparing for meditation. The sequence is a bottom to top flow meaning that it starts by working muladhara chakra and finishes at ajna, giving the practitioner the desired meditative state for diving. However, we have left out the headstand for this particular practice, as the headstand is a bit too strenuous to do before a max attempt. The sequence is intended to be practiced quite gently, holding each pose for 5-10 deep abdominal breaths, but beginning first with some sun salutations to warm the body.
Models used: William and Brittany Trubridge and Carlos Coste.
Do 5-10 of these. After warming up a bit (doing at least 5) and if you are stable in the downward dog position, you can add in some hip openers by kicking up one leg at a time and allowing the foot to fall over as if you were to touch your head with your toe.
Steady yourself by holding onto the back of a chair or a rail. Come up onto the tops of the toes very carefully and with control. This will stretch out the top of your foot, and for a deeper stretch squat into it a bit more.
Sitting up straight, place the left leg out in front of you, foot flexed. Bring the right leg up so the knee is pointing toward the ceiling. Thread the left arm under the right leg and reach around and grab the toes. Gently pull the top of the foot back away from the body. Hold and switch. This is a great stretch for the no-fins leg kick
Legs kicks (forward and back)
Standing up straight, hold on to the back of a chair or anything steady with the right hand. Place the left hand on the hip and swing the left leg forward as high as you can and then back as far as you can with momentum. Be sure that the body is as stationary as possible, and only the leg is moving. Do this 10 times then switch legs.
Leg kicks (to the side)
Again stabilize yourself with something sturdy with the right hand and place the left hand on your hip. Kick the left leg out to the side so that the leg is a little beyond being parallel to the ground, and bring it back down. Again, be sure that the body is as stationary as possible, and only the leg in moving. Do this 10 times then switch legs.
Basic Arms stretches
Place the right hand out in front of you on a wall, rail or some sort of hard flat surface. Fingers are pointed towards the body and palm is facing away. Lean into the hand to open up the wrist. You can also gently pull back on the thumb with the opposite hand to maximize this stretch. Hold and switch.
Place the right hand on the hip, thumb in the front and fingers on the back. With the left hand gently pull the elbow forward. You should feel a strong stretch in the shoulder. Hold for a count of 10 and switch.
With your right hand, hold onto a pole or place your hand on a wall behind your body and above your head. Gently twist to the right to open up the armpit. Hold and switch.
*Tones spinal nerves and abdominal organs, relaxes, expands and opens chest, massages liver and allows it to secrete more abundantly –good for clearing toxins in body, promotes hips and leg flexibility, warms up extremities, massages liver and spleen so that abundant secretion is stimulated.
*Helps retain side-to-side mobility, synovial fluid of joints increases which allows them to become more active (important for dynamic), releases toxins in digestive system.
*Stretches the wrists, regulates liver and spleen helping to digest fats, deactivate hormones and toxins, manufacture proteins of blood plasma, store and produce glucose, regulate homeostasis of blood sugar, produce and store red blood cells efficiently.
*Massages and stimulates abdomen liver and spleen, improves digestion, regulate pancreatic functions (carbohydrate metabolism, blood sugar levels) Invigorates nervous system, mobilizes joints, stretches spine and releases sciatica, and calms the mind.
*Allows for deep breathing, increases lung capacity, regulates moods emotions and stress, increased prana is brought to neck and shoulder area.
*Not for those with neck problems, not for pregnant women.
*Strengthens and balances thyroid function (also stimulates parathyroid) promoting protein synthesis and helping to control heart rate and blood pressure, Naturally produces Jalandhara Banda which regulates heart, reduces high blood pressure, and slows breathing, Larynx & pharynx derive increased blood supply and hence maximum nutrition strengthening immunity to various respiratory disease, throat ailments etc. Keeps spine strong and elastic, encourages blood recirculation due to inversion, encourages deep abdominal breathing by limiting usage of top proportion of lungs, gently massages heart and lung region, Strengthens throat and thoracic regions, stretches cervical and shoulder muscles, relieves mental sluggishness and lethargy, pranic flow is stimulated in the stomach, small intestines, urinary bladder, gall bladder, pericardium and kidney meridians. Helps to develop a greater resistance to climatic extremes.
*Nourishes spinal nerves, increases neck and spine flexibility, releases tension from cervical region, strengthens muscles of back shoulders and arms, massages internal organs and relieves indigestion and constipation, strengthens kidney and bladder.
*Never do kapalabhati immediately before a dive. As it is essentially hyperventilation in that it purges CO2 from the body giving the practitioner the illusion of being more oxygenated than they actually are. This is a recipe for a blackout! The reason it has been inserted here in the practice is so that the practitioner can purge any stale air from the lungs before commencing with the rest of the pranayama practice.
Kapalabhati is practiced by sitting in a seated upright position and forcefully exhaling all of the air from the lungs and following up with a passive inhale and then immediately exhaling again. The exhales should be forceful and are done a bit slower than the breath of fire. A total of 2 sets of 25 purges with natural breathing for about 45 seconds in between each set should suffice for this sequence.
Twists: Sitting in the seated position, straighten and lengthen the spine. Place the hands on the shoulders, fingers in the front and thumb in the back. Twist the body to the right and inhale strongly through the nose. Forcefully twist the body to the left and exhale through the nose. The head follows the shoulders. Continue with 20 twists total.
Forward & Back: In the seated position, place the hands on the knees. Push the belly forward and arch the back flexing the spine inward, inhale through the nose. Follow by concaving the stomach and hunching the back, flexing the spine out and exhaling through the nose. Repeat 20 times.
Round in circles: Same position, but this time imagine that you are “jump-roping” the spine around the belly button. Leading with the navel, arch the back, push the belly forward and inhale through the nose. Continue to lead with the belly button, as if you are making a big circle with it, by rolling it around to the left, then to the back where the spine with be in? and the back hunched, exhaling through the nose, continue in your circle and e you reach the front again inhale. Do 5 in one direction and then 5 in the opposite direction. Always inhaling when the belly is out and exhaling when the belly is in.
I previously wrote a blog post about the full three part yogic breath and it is from this foundation that we can implement several more manual movement to help “pack” a little more air into the lungs as well “pull” a little more out. However, I will not write the details of the techniques here as they can be extremely dangerous and should only be taught and practiced under the strict guidance of a teacher. Please consider joining one of our freediving courses if you are interested in furthering your knowledge in this area.
Practice for at least 15 minutes
Lie down in Savasana. Arms and legs are 45 degrees apart. Breathing through the nose. Use this time to allow your meditation to absorb your body, while your body absorbs any lactic acid built from the practice and resets itself in preparation of the dive. You want to almost drift into sleep here. Be sure to use diaphragmatic abdominal breathing and move as little as possible in order to conserve oxygen for the dive. You can mentally go through the process of autosuggestion here to help you relax, or you can download my free autosuggestion mp3 and listen to it on your headphones
From here, you can slowly move into the water to prepare for your max dive. No warm up in the water is necessary from this point.
The exercise instructions and advice presented on this site are designed for people who are in good health and physically fit. They are not intended to substitute for medical consult. The creator, distributor and participants of this sequence and BrittanyTrubridge.com disclaim any liability for loss or injury in connection with the exercises, advice and instruction created, shown or expressed in anyway herein.