Scuba diving unlocks a superpower by allowing us to breathe underwater. This opens up opportunities for us to explore the other 70% of our planet which is covered in water. When diving, the conditions we encounter are different from what we might find during training. Out in the field, you’ll encounter a variety of environments and conditions like currents. Yet in the middle of adventure, it’s important to remember the key scuba diving, which is controlled breathing.
Mastering your breathing is the single most effective way to make your air last longer while diving. The golden rule is to breathe slowly. Practitioners of yoga and meditation have practiced this style of breathing where you take a slow breath in and exhale with a slow breath out. Similar to meditation and yoga, we want to maintain this pace of breathing no matter what is happening around us. While diving, your goal is to maintain breath control. Make sure you practice breathing even before you hit the water.
There are a few things that can help you with your breathing. Your choice of equipment plays a significant role in your safety and comfort on a dive. Choosing the right regulator for your diving needs can help with your breathing. It’s worth venturing to your local dive store to test a variety of regulators for the conditions in which you will be diving. This is a highly personalized decision but is one that is worth your investment in time. Make sure that the regulator allows you to breathe easily and feels comfortable when doing so.
Our breathing is also affected by how we move. When we move fast, we breathe fast, and likewise, when we breathe slowly, we move slowly. Fins are a crucial piece of gear for diving since they are what propels us through the water. Just like finding a regulator that fits well, it’s worth your while to spend your time looking for the right fins. The perfect pair should allow you to turn, pivot, slow down, speed up, and stop, all without using your hands. Your fins should match your leg strength.
As a scuba diver, you should understand how your breath, equipment, and breathing affect every aspect of your dive. If you are comfortable with your equipment and understand changing dive conditions, you will conserve air, maintain buoyancy, and achieve longer, more comfortable dives.