Immersive Breath Training Course

This immersive breath and body relaxation training course is designed to help you stay calm not only in the water but in every day life. It develops the skills necessary for safe snorkeling, surfing, freediving and other water sports by helping you learn to restore your self control and confidence faster in stressful situations.

Through this introductory course to freediving, participants develop greater mindfulness and control of their breath and body for better stress management. You will learn to reach a deep level of relaxation in order to hold your breath for 1:30 minutes and also to swim 25m comfortably underwater.

The course will be facilitated by Daron Joseph, an experienced freediving instructor, and supported by Jason Prior. Content will be delivered through online self-paced learning, webinars and face-to-face water based immersive experiences in the pool.

Participants will have the option to extend their freediving experience to the ocean depth diving and receive full Level 1 Freediving Certification. This  allow you to participate in both ocean and pool diving

Importance of breathing well

We breath over 23,000 times per day and yet most of the time it goes unnoticed. Although breathing is an automatic processs we can consciously influence how fast, how deeply and how often we breath which can have profound effects our health and wellbeing. Fast-shallow chest breathing is associated with activation of our flight and fight system (sympathetic nervous system) and is associated with an anxious or highly aroused mental state. In contrast, slow-deep diaphragmatic (abdominal) breathing reflects the rest and digest (parasympathetic) state of the nervous system which occurs when we are relaxed and calm. While our unconscious breathing pattern is a automatic response to the state of nervous system, consciously slowing or speeding up shifts our nervous system into a relaxed or more energetically active state respectively. For people who are anxious or highly stress the control of their breathing provides an opportunity to shifting them towards more calm, relaxed and more focused mental state.

Why water-based breath training?

While significant relaxation can be achieve simply by altering our breathing, immersion in the water can have a more profound effect through activation of the mammalian dive response.  We share this response with dolphins, whales and other water based mammals and it consists of a number of physiological body based responses which allow us to stay under the water longer. When we enter the water and specifically when we immerse our face in the water our heart rate is slowed via parasympathetic (rest and digest) stimulation and blood is also shifted towards our vital organs making our heart work more efficiently.

As we are fully supported by the water it makes it easier to let go of our muscle tension and also easier for us to enter a more relaxed mental state. When this is combined with the pre-dive breathing exercises and the mammalian dive response we are able to reach deeper level of calm and can experience greater stress reduction, positive emotions, relaxation and less anxiety. This why snorkeling, scuba diving and ofcourse freediving can have such a power effect on our mental state.

What is freediving?

Freediving is a water based sport in which participants swim or float in the water while holding their breath. The goal is to relax as much as possible in order to stay under the water for longer periods of time. Unlike many other sports, athletes who participate are not in it for the adrenaline rush but rather completely the opposite, theye seek the a deep focused calm. This makes it an ideal sport for those that are experiences anxiety or frequent high levels or stress.

Who is this course for?

This course is designed to help people who experience anxiety, depression and high levels of stress as well as those seeking to improve their performance and mental focus.

What will you be doing?

Breathing exercises

Body relaxation exercises

Dive knowledge and skills training

Breath hold and underwater swimming

What are the benefits?

Breathing exercises, stretching and mindfulness can be helpful for

  • Learning to relax your body and mind
  • Improved coping
  • Reduced pain
  • Sports and work performance
  • Improved self-confidence

People who complete this course will have the opportunity to be welcomed into the supportive community of freedivers.

Experiences of freediving and breathing for mental health

Helena’s story

It took 17 years for me to get to the stage of being able to talk about my journey through depression. As with any mental illness, it has not been an easy journey.  My first memorable experience of depression was when I was 11 and it was the start of a chronic disease that by 2000, had me preparing to commit suicide. With help and support from my family, friends, the NHS and a great therapist, I now live a life that 18 years ago, I could not have dreamt possible. Today, I talk openly about my journey and how my daily freediving training further maintains my positive mental health. These wellness activities helped me to achieve 5th place overall at the Freediving Individual Depth World Championships, 2017 and there is more to come!

Extra from: Bourdillon, H. (2019). Helen Bourdillon. Retrieved from

Learn more from Helena here.

Freediving for Psoriatic Arthritis – Stig Pryds

“January 2013 was a turning point in my life! Upon spending 5 years in an inferno of pain and strong medication caused by psoriatic arthritis, I found that freediving was my path to a fighting and fantastic version of myself. I transformed from a damned cripple into a fantastic athlete who could show his kids and surroundings that where there is a will there is also a way. I found equanimity, self-worth and a positive outlook on life with my new sport. I never would have discovered my exceptional gift for freediving had it not been for my damn arthritic condition. That alone has changed my world view from a perspective of limitation to a view of endless potential!”

Learn more from Stig here.

Why I freedive – the experience of William Trubridge

“Have you ever wondered what it would be like to hold your breath for minutes on end, descending 300 feet and more under water? In this extraordinary talk — part meditation, part heart-stopping adventure — world champion freediver William Trubridge not only takes you there, but offers a profound answer to the question: “Why do you do it?” ”

Extra from:

Learn more from William Trubridge here.

Breath training for health and pain

Pranayama: Extend Your Life by Extending Your Breath

Change your breath, change your life.

What you will receive on completion.

Freediving Certification

Performance criteria for attainment of Level 1

The key focus in this course is demonstrating the skills necessary for freediving, not achieving a certain time or distance. We consider the process more important than the final numbers since these are the skills that you can take and benefit from in everyday life. For the purposes of certification, however, there are some minimum requirements that are generally easily obtainable for most participants and necessary for further advancement in freediving and serve as a positive motivation.

Pool certification

  • 1:30 minutes of breath hold
  • 25m horizontal underwater swim

Ocean certification

  • Completion of all the pool requirements
  • Dive down to 10m

Introduction to Freediving (pool)

  • Online self paced learning
  • Weekly Webinar
  • Pool immersion
  • Pool certification

Introduction to Freediving (Ocean add on)

  • Online self paced learning
  • Weekly webinar

Introduction to Freediving (Pool & Ocean)

  • Online self pace learning
  • Weekly webinar
  • Pool immersion
  • Pool and ocean freediving certification