Iru Balic
Iru Balic

Sep 15. 2 mins


Photo by @elem

It is 5 am, and the alarm wakes you up. The routine begins one more time, step by step you start preparing yourself for a new day at work. Then all of a sudden you don’t even need to think of what to do next in your routing. You go into automatic pilot, brushing your teeth, showering and eating breakfast. You are all ready to go and face the traffic. There are all sorts of people, and you see all the humor in the streets.

Of course, we have all heard of meditation and the benefits for the mind and body, but how on earth can someone enjoy meditation in the same place where all of our daily problems are happening. To be able to control time, noises, temperature and all of our surroundings becomes very difficult

According to Daniel Goldman who has reported on the brain and behavioral sciences for many years, spoke in an interview for Forbes magazine:

 “Leaders need an inner focus to be aware of their own feelings, values and intuitions, and to manage themselves well. A focus on others allows a leader to read people well, which is key to managing relationships – the art of leading itself. And an outer focus lets a leader understand the larger forces and systems that she must navigate and to determine the best strategy going forward.”

To not make this article only from my perspective I choose to interview one of my students, President of Alternative Holdings, Rafael Quinn. I asked him to tell me how freediving influences his daily life, and this is what he said:

“My life has always revolved around my work. When I had a child, my life began to revolve around my son and work. However, I never had an outlet, a hobby, which was mine.

When freediving found me, I initially viewed it as an extreme sport, much like skydiving, and that is what drew me to try it. As my training has evolved over the last two years, I now experience freediving as a much more complete discipline. To me, it is the most complete discipline.

It is a time for me to train my mind, body, and spirit. If any one of the three is not aligned, my performance will suffer. Outside of training, I find myself making healthier choices in my life in order to maximize the probability that my mind, body, and spirit will be aligned when I enter the pool or ocean. It is an escape from my daily responsibilities, where I have to let go of what is happening outside of the water in order to achieve my goals inside the water.”

Rafael achieving his First National Record for Panama. Photo by @alexstjeanphoto

This, my friend, is what is known as ontological coaching as ‘transparency‘ defined as the ability to live without thinking why? Like when we walk and all the sudden We bump in to a rock and it hurts, in that moment the transparency of walking without thinking stops. Something awakes us from this zombie land and generates a ‘break down.’ It doesn’t necessarily need to be a traumatic event, although in some cases it is. What happens when we are diagnosed with a medical condition, an accident or the loss of a loved one? It is what makes us re-think our lives and what we are doing with it.

In the last two years, I dedicated myself to study Personal Coaching and Leadership at the University of Barcelona, and that is when it hit me. Two completely different worlds can be the perfect match, give people the tools to be more aware of themselves underwater, and it can provide them with an excellent ability to handle daily problems in real life. Freediving creates a valve to allow the pressure of ‘transparency’ to escape and to give people the superpower of empathy, connection and awareness of the environment that can change their lives.

During my career as a freediving instructor, most of the students that come to me to learn about freediving are looking for a change, try something new or looking for a new adventure. However, they have no clue that freediving will bring them much more than that.
Living in Panama City for the last few years, a crazy modern city, full of people that live in “transparency,”made me realize the power that freediving had on these individuals. It is not only about the ‘ocean connection,’ as many people see freediving (including myself). Don’t get me wrong, freediving in the ocean is amazing. When we share with marine life it is a life-changing experience, but the real essence of freediving lies in diving into ourselves, getting in contact with our feelings, emotions and our fears. There is this secret of freediving, the sensation of not being afraid and seeing what lies inside of us.


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