After completing our Advanced Open Water certifications, I felt satisfied with the certifications I earned and had no desire to pursue any additional certifications. I had learned so many skills throughout the journey that I really just wanted to take time on practicing and becoming more comfortable and proficient. Then I got a notification from West Shore Scuba’s Facebook page…
“Come and enjoy a weekend of mind-body wellness and bubble therapy in the tranquil countryside of Central Pennsylvania!
Yoga and Scuba are a match made in heaven. Meditation, breathing practices, and the gentle, yet powerful exercises practiced in Yoga can really inspire and transform your experience underwater. Don’t miss out on this unique experience uniting the two in this outdoor weekend retreat dedicated to relaxation, wellness, skill development, and fun.
Well now…let’s push pause on that whole “I had no desire to pursue any additional certifications” thing…I had heard great things about the Yoga Diver course (and the instructor!) from some other dive buddies that had previously taken the course. I also got a tip months ago that the Yoga Diver course might be able to teach me some methods for decreasing my air consumption while diving. But, I don’t have a lot of experience diving and I have even less experience with yoga, so, despite my interest, I wasn’t sure that signing up for the course was a great idea. But then this came along…
Insecurities set aside, I committed to the course. And, even though Josh wasn’t nearly as excited about registering for the course as I was, he agreed to take the course with me. At $195 per person for the certification, we figured we had spent more money on much poorer ideas and were hopeful that we would both learn at least something that would help to enhance our diving experiences.
“In the PADI Yoga Diver Course, participants learn how to integrate fundamental Yoga concepts and practices into their scuba diving experience. Through knowledge development and discussion, land-based Yoga classes, and open water dives, we will address anxiety and buoyancy issues using breath control and meditation, encourage a heightened state of awareness and safety by applying mindfulness techniques to the entire dive experience, and even participate in an underwater Yoga class! Both new and seasoned divers have benefited from this course, enhancing their focus, relaxation, buoyancy, air consumption, and sense of oneness with the underwater world.”
We arrived at Dutch Springs early the last Saturday morning of September for the Yoga Diver course. The plan for the day was pretty simple: land-based introduction to yoga class followed by a knowledge review of the course’s reading material and then two dives to practice the skills that we had learned. We broke out the yoga mats and got busy while the morning sun burned off the last whisps of fog off the quarry.
Despite our initial reservations, we both really enjoyed the land-based yoga class. We worked with breathing control, mindfulness and meditation throughout the land-based class, as well as practicing some basic yoga poses. And I would definitely be lying if I said I wasn’t sore the next morning! The whole land-based class was really informative and well-suited to be held in the natural, outside environment. Hearing the ducks laugh, the crickets chirp and the birds sing while stretching it out in downward facing dog was really pretty incredible! I’d also be lying if I didn’t come out of the land-based class with an interest in pursuing more experience with yoga in my everyday life.
After a lunch break, we geared up and headed into the water for two dives in order to practice the skills we learned during the land-based class. Despite terrible visibility, we completed both dives with success and had a really great time with our yogi buddies! The skills we worked on during the dives left me with some ideas about areas to continue practicing with, mostly surrounding improving my air consumption via enhanced breathing control and practicing the “kiss the weight” exercise as I ascend and descend using breathing control. It was really fun to practice some underwater yoga poses, too!
Looking back, I am really thankful that I challenged myself to move past the “I’m not interested in taking anymore scuba classes” mindset because the Yoga Diver course was a fantastic experience for me. Josh and I both found Amanda Parr to be a phenomenal instructor of both land-based and underwater yoga skills and am probably going to end up repeating the class in the future because I enjoyed it that much. (I’m hopeful that the next time around, it’ll be somewhere tropical, though!) I would highly recommend PADI’s Yoga Diver Specialty course (with Amanda Parr as the instructor!) for anyone who’s even remotely interested in enhancing their experience underwater.