Get ready for your Aida2/ Wave1 course!

AIDA 2, Molchanivs Wave 1 course at VD Freediving Taiwan

Medical Questionaire and Liability Form

Download and read through the medical and liability form. If you have any of the medical conditions, please consult a doctor and have your doctor signing the paper before starting the course.

Medical questionnaire and liability form for Freediving course

Relaxation Phase, Final Breath, and Recovery breathing

Introduction

Before my first freediving course, all I knew was that I’d be descending using a line and that a professional instructor would ensure my safety.

I was unfamiliar with free immersion. Names like Alexey Molchanov, Guillaume Nery, and Umberto Pellizari meant nothing to me. I was clueless about fins, low-volume masks, or wetsuits. I was a blank slate, untouched by the internet and the buzz this sport would generate in the coming years.

Back then, freediving wasn’t a big deal. Sure, I’d watched The Big Blue. Like many Frenchmen over 30, I recognized Jacques Mayol. But that was the extent of it. Joining a Facebook group for info or training a month before my first dive never occurred to me. I saw the course as a one-time experience. Little did I know those few hours trying to dive would change my life forever.

I wasn’t focused on certification; it was the least of my concerns. I only learned about the different levels during my initial theory class. This lack of pressure was a blessing. My first course was daunting enough; added stress about meeting requirements would’ve been overwhelming. Initially, my goal was simple: dive to ten meters without ear pain. But soon, it became about depth.

Times have changed, but the ocean’s allure remains.

Now, freediving is all the rage. A wealth of information, advice, and tips are just a Google search away. Many start training with buddies, following online programs from freediving celebrities.

This shift has transformed the first freediving course into more of a test than a learning experience. I’ve even seen beginners show up with high-end gear, sometimes better than my own.

This new mindset towards the initial freediving course has its drawbacks. Practicing without expert guidance can reinforce bad habits. Correcting these during the course can be challenging. It’s always harder to unlearn and relearn.

Remember, the goal is to learn, not just to achieve. You’re here for the experience and guidance. You don’t need to master a four-minute breath-hold before your AIDA 2/WAVE 1 course. Just bring your enthusiasm, passion, and, of course, your lungs.

Rest assured, we’ll equip you with all the knowledge you need at VD Freediving. And we’ll be here for any follow-up questions.

However, we get that you might want some prep before diving in. So, we’ve curated three things to practice before your first deep dive. Let’s dive in!

Swimming

VD Freediving 's Student practicing swimming

It’s surprising how often we’re asked if knowing how to swim is essential before starting freediving. It might seem like a no-brainer, but many seem eager to sprint before they can even walk.

Let’s set the record straight: venturing into the ocean without swimming skills is not only risky for you but also for those diving with you. Imagine facing a leg cramp without the aid of those sleek new carbon fins you’ve just acquired. Or what if waves intensify, causing panic? What happens if the current sweeps away the buoy with your snorkel and all this unfolds 200m from the shore?

Accidents often stem from avoidable mistakes. Trying to freedive without swimming skills? That’s a glaring error.

For your initial course, whether you prefer the frog style or freestyle doesn’t matter. However, you should comfortably swim at least 200m nonstop without fins or a snorkel.

Here’s why:

  • Body Awareness: Proficient swimmers have heightened body awareness, aiding in technique refinement and speeding up your freediving progression.
  • Muscle Development: Swimming cultivates the specific muscles essential for effective finning in freediving.
  • Confidence in Deep Water: The ocean isn’t always crystal clear. Being comfortable in deeper, murkier waters where the seabed isn’t visible is crucial.
  • Pool Training: Many pool-based freediving exercises require freestyle swimming. If you’re unfamiliar with this style, consider taking a few lessons.
  • Readiness: Simply put, swimmers are primed for freediving; non-swimmers aren’t. The weightless, floating sensation in water is unparalleled. Swimmers can more quickly adapt and relish the freediving experience.

Preparing for Your First Freediving Course with Swimming

A month before your course, hit the pool at least weekly. Just focus on swimming, covering distances of 25m or 50m.

In the first week, aim for 500m (20 x 25m or 10 x 50m), taking breaks as needed. Increase to 750m in the second week, and by the third and fourth weeks, target 1000m. This isn’t a race to professional freestyling; it’s about honing technique, familiarizing yourself with water, and mastering movements.

If swimming is entirely foreign to you, enroll in a class. Take the time to practice and gain confidence. It’s non-negotiable.

Breathing

How to Get ready for the VD Freediving Taiwan beginner course

Every freediving instructor seems to have “Relax” on repeat. I remember mine saying it over and over before each dive. With a head full of instructions and a heart full of nerves, relaxation felt like a distant dream. How do you just “relax” when diving into the unknown? At times, the word almost felt mocking. If it was that easy, wouldn’t I already be doing it?

But here’s the thing: relaxation isn’t a button you press. It’s a journey. It comes with experience, practice, and a growing trust in oneself. Feeling stressed? That’s part of the freediving package. It’s okay. Embrace it, don’t battle it.

Being anxious? Totally normal.

But here’s the kicker: while we can’t just decide to be relaxed, we can certainly steer ourselves towards feeling less tense. It’s not magic, but it’s pretty close.

It’s all in the breath. The way we breathe can either rev us up or calm us down, thanks to our autonomic nervous system (ANS). This system, which takes care of things like our heart rate and digestion, has two sides:

  • The “Let’s Go!” side or the sympathetic nervous system.
  • The “Let’s Chill” side or the parasympathetic nervous system. And that’s where we want to be.

Enter tidal breathing. This style of breathing is our ticket to the chill zone.

Why tidal breathing? Two reasons:

  1. Safety First: It keeps hyperventilation at bay. We’ll dive deeper into this during the course.
  2. Relaxation: It kicks the parasympathetic nervous system into gear, helping us inch closer to that elusive relaxed state.

How to Practice Tidal Breathing

How to tidal breathing?
  1. Position Yourself: Lie flat on your back with your legs fully extended.
  2. Head Alignment: Ensure your head remains centered, avoiding any tilt to either side.
  3. Arm Placement: Stretch your arms out to your sides.
  4. Facial Relaxation: Close your eyes and begin by relaxing the muscles in your forehead and eyelids. Progressively relax your cheeks, lips, and tongue. By relaxing your tongue, you’ll alleviate tension in the face, which positively impacts your brain and overall mindset.
  5. Neck and Beyond Relax the muscles in your throat and neck. Gradually shift your focus to each body part, methodically relaxing from the top of your head down to your toes.
  6. Breathing Technique: Take gentle breaths through your nose. If you are Curious about the benefits of nasal breathing? Check here.
  7. Mindful Breathing: Concentrate solely on your breathing. Feel the cold air as you inhale and the warmth as you exhale.
  8. Diaphragmatic Breathing: As you inhale, let your belly rise. On exhaling, allow it to fall. This method is known as diaphragmatic breathing. To ensure you’re doing it right, place one hand just below your ribs on your belly and the other on your chest. This will help you discern the movement of your breathing muscles.
  9. Duration: Maintain this breathing pattern for a duration of your choice, but aim for at least five minutes.
  10. Restful Outcome: It’s possible you might drift off to sleep, and that’s perfectly okay.

Equalization

Anatony or the oral cavity

Starting out in freediving, I found equalizing my ears to be the most challenging hurdle.

In your initial course, the key is mastering the ability to direct air into your nasal passages while facing downward. The soft palate, which acts as a gateway between the nasal and oral cavities, is pivotal for successful equalization. If it remains shut, air can’t flow through. And if air can’t flow, you can’t equalize your ears. It’s as straightforward as that. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with this part of your anatomy and train it accordingly.

When you join our course, we’ll delve deep into the Frenzel equalization technique, setting you on the path to mastering it.

But for the time being, here’s an exercise to get you started:

The soft palate awareness exercise

how to control your soft palate?

Conclusion

Freediving is an incredible experience and can be life-changing. It changed mine, and I hope you will come and practice with us. Do not overthink your first course. We are here to teach you everything you need to know to get maximum enjoyment and always stay safe.

Let us take your breath away.