Go deep with SCUBA diving meditation
Go diving in Thailand and get your zen on
SCUBA diving offers the benefits of meditating without the frustration.
Have you ever tried meditating? It’s hard to sit still and do nothing. We struggle to find time in our busy lives to clear our minds and be alone with our thoughts. It’s difficult to avoid distraction and maintain focus for more than a few minutes.
But think about a typical scuba dive and you’ll realize that it’s very much like meditation, especially if you do it here in Thailand in warm, clear and calm water. Ok not all dives are meditative. Some are adrenaline filled, some can be stressful at times. But once you become comfortable as a diver it is easy to use a scuba dive as a form of active meditation.
SCUBA as meditation
Clear of distractions: On a scuba dive you don’t have distractions like TV, radio, smartphones, street noise, barking dogs, screaming kids or noisy neighbours.
All you have is the sound of your own breathing, deep and slow, as you blow bubbles up to the surface. It’s other worldly, a place where the stresses of work and family don’t seem so important.
A calming environment: The underwater environment is full of life but somehow incredibly calming at the same time. You will feel at one with nature, almost on an altered state of consciousness. You will feel insignificant to what goes on around you. All you can do is watch and see what comes to you. The ambient lighting is mellow, sunlight shines onto the reef creating beautiful patterns. Soft coral sways in the current. Fish just go about their daily lives.
Energizing: While feeling incredibly relaxing on one level scuba diving is also energizing all your senses and exercising your body. A scuba dive both refreshes and invigorates.
Weightlessness: No need for a cushion or zafu to sit on underwater, just establish neutral buoyancy and hover in whatever position is most comfortable. With physical weightlessness comes mental unburdening.
Slow and mindful movements: You don’t have to stay stationary, you can glide along slowly with smooth fin kicks, being mindful of your body’s movements and your breathing. One of the hardest things to do while meditating is to think about nothing, in fact it’s impossible, thoughts enter your head from all directions. Concentrating on your inhalations and exhalations through your regulator will help other distractions fall away.
Tips for meditating while SCUBA diving
A typical SCUBA dive lasts 40-60 minutes, that’s longer than most people can meditate for. In reality much of the dive will not resemble meditation. There is stuff to concentrate on while diving, you shouldn’t zone out to the extend that you ignore depth and time limits for example.
The more experienced you are as a diver the sooner you’ll be able to enter that zen like state, to the point where as soon as you are underwater all your worldly worries miraculously dissolve.
These are some things that any diver can do to help with sub sea meditation:
- Make sure your dive gear is comfortable and appropriate for the environment. You won’t be relaxed if you are fussing with unfamiliar or broken equipment. Make sure you are warm enough and your fins don’t give you blisters.
- Perfect your buoyancy. This is the key to good diving and being totally relaxed underwater.
- Choose you dive site carefully. A familiar dive site is best so you don’t have to think too much about navigation. Somewhere shallow and free of strong currents will allow you to relax without worrying about air depletion or deco times. Warm and clear water is more relaxing than cold and murky.
- Choose your dive buddy carefully. They need to be a good diver who isn’t constantly banging their tank to get your attention.
- Don’t over think it. Relax and enjoy the dive and at some point you’ll realize that you feel like a zen master, without having consciously done anything. This is similar to an athlete getting “in the zone,” it’s very hard to do to order.
Thailand diving liveaboard as a meditation retreat
Thailand is full of health spas and retreats. But how about instead of hiding away in a temple in Chiang Mai you join a dive boat and do four meditative dives per day in the Similan and Surin islands.
Meditation retreats talk about “going deeper”, or “fully immersing yourself.” Meditation is the act of moving from the outside world to a silent inner world. That sounds exactly like your average scuba dive. Throw in the restorative effects of a holiday and a liveaboard dive vacation ticks all the boxes.
On a four day liveaboard you’ll be cut off from the world, you’ll lose phone and internet coverage for about half the time. There are no bars or clubs at the islands.
On a liveaboard you get as much delicious and nutritious food as you can handle. You’ll be burning so many calories on the dives that you can eat as much as you want guilt free, no calorie counting here. Pretty much all dietary requirements can be catered for on these trips.
Between dives you can sunbathe on the upper deck or snooze in the shade with a cooling ocean breeze. Read a book on deck or relax in your cabin. Go for a swim or visit the beach. Climb a viewpoint and practice your yoga high above the Andaman sea. Some boats also have massage services available.
If all that isn’t enough to get you de-stressed then it’s probably time to crack open a beer while the sun sets.