This is definitely not a pleasant
experience. Instead of holding your breath and relying on the
weights and regulator to adjust buoyancy, breathing properly can
cause subtle shifts in your floatation.
proper breathing on a dive extends your airtime. The
breathing technique given here helps the body process more oxygen,
sending it to the body with greater efficiency and maximizing the
amount of oxygen that gets introduced into the blood stream. You
won't use your air up as quickly, and can extend your time
Lastly, proper breathing combined with
good control over your descent and ascent rate helps to minimize
decompression sickness, which is a problem that hits divers when the
sudden changes in external pressure on the body trigger collections
of air pockets in the blood stream, heart, and sinuses. Those little
air pockets cause a condition that divers refer to as The Bends,
which can be anything from merely painful and annoying, to outright
fatal by leading to a stroke or brain damage.
That said and done, let's get
into the actual breathing method to use.
The breathing techniques that should be
employed in diving are related to that used by martial artists,
singers, yoga practitioners, and gymnasts. This is a method called
diaphragm breathing, and goes by many different fancy names
depending on which discipline is using it, like in martial arts
where it is referred to as Ki or Chi Breathing.
To practice diaphragm breathing, either
stand or sit up straight (your choice), and just breathe in. Don't
slouch. Observe how you take the air in. Most people will have their
chests expand when they take a breath. This is normal, regular lung
breathing. In diaphragm breathing, the lower stomach expands instead
of the chest.
To do this properly, the
biggest key is to relax. Your abdominal muscles will
actually instinctively tighten up when you take a breath and try to
focus on your gut. Don't focus on your gut, just relax and breath
in, but make a point of actually relaxing your navel area when you
inhale. Most people get diaphragm breathing wrong because they tense
up the muscles in their gut in an effort to send their breath there.
Tensing up these muscles actually causes them to contract, which
keeps air from going that deeply. That's all there is to this form
of breathing, really. It's simple, once you get the hang of
It's also important to keep your
breathing rhythm deep, slow, and even when you're practicing this
method, inhaling as far as you can go, holding the air in your lungs
for just a few seconds, then exhaling the air slowly and evenly.
Shallow, rapid breathing, as most medical practitioners know, is a
very, very bad thing, which leads to asphyxiation, a state where not
enough oxygen gets cycled through the body.
By the way, the air, of course,
isn't really going into your stomach. It just expands
because the diaphragm is positioned right above it in the body.
Basic anatomy lesson here: the diaphragm is a membrane which
controls the expansion of the lungs, which causes the inhalation and
exhalation of air. Basically, what this form of breathing achieves
is to strengthen your diaphragm itself, as well as increasing the
capacity of your lungs. Keep practicing this method until it becomes
automatic and natural, and you'll be surprised at the results. Not
just in your scuba diving, but in your overall physical