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Mermaid's Splash - Touch your toes, Pretzels

Dive Article written by Compass' mermaid Restuning Sandini as published in GuidePost Magazine.

Previous Mermaid’s splash addressed the need of swimming ability in scuba diving; In this one we will discuss an often under appreciated fitness element: flexibility.

The word flexibility related much to yoga. Many of us hesitate to join a yoga class, out of the believe that we suck at it, because we have seen in social media those strange yoga poses that make human looks like pretzel (hence I humorously call my yoga students “the pretzels-wannabes”). But we must remember that each person has its own flexibility capability and you cannot double your capability just by joining a single session of yoga. It takes time and repetition. There is no instant way. Even to start, you should take your time and do a warm-up before stretching. And cool down your ego, it is very important to never force yourself. All of these aspects are undertook in a simple yoga class. This is one of the reasons I conduct yoga sessions before and after our dives during our adventures.

Now that you’ve heard why I started yoga and dive adventure retreat, you might wonder, what advantages does flexibility actually give us in scuba diving?

Those who have dived with me, often wonder how I could easily reach my cylinder valve behind my back when I need to. Although it’s handy, you probably won’t need this kind of flexibility with a help of your buddy. But think of getting in and out of your gear, climbing up boat ladder, reaching down to pick up a dive gear, or standing up donning your fins with your cylinder on before a giant stride entry. In leg/calves cramping emergency, you would need to be able to reach your fins to release the cramps. With more flexibility, it is also easier for you to maintain proper trim while swimming underwater. It also helps with more advanced technique such as executing a helicopter turns with your fins. Even a simple thing as turning your torso around to look at your buddy needs some degree of flexibility. Flexibility decreases with age, making it more difficult as you get older to work with dive gears. Flexibility helps with injury prevention, reduces mild chronic aches and post exercise muscle soreness and improves relaxation which we need in our dives. So yes, beside strength and agility, flexibility is essential to scuba diving.

What kind of stretch should we do for scuba diving? Some easy stretching applicable for diving for example are stretching your legs and hamstring, shoulders, hip and back. I do a specially designed yoga sequence for scuba diving, but most of yoga classes would be beneficial to your scuba diving related stretch. I also do a lot of active stretching, which is stretching a muscle by contracting the opposing muscle.

To start adding stretching into your fitness rituals for safer diving, you can start by making a goal of having 2 or 3 stretching sessions each week. Remember to start slowly. Then apply it onto your dives – spending some minutes stretching before you start your dive. Also stretch after your dive. Be patient. As mentioned above, it takes time to be a pretzel.

Enjoy your journey to reach your toes.

Love and peace,
The Mermaid
Unieng - Restuning Sandini
In courtesy of Compass Charters and Blueflo Yoga.

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