Breathing Optimisation and Mammalian Dive Reflex Activation Class Testimonials
Read what some of our Breathing Optimisation Class students think of their experiences!
I had been planning to advance my freediving skills in 2020 but Covid brought a halt to all pool sessions and trips, so I was looking for other ways to try and keep up some of the relevant breathing, relaxation, stretching and breath-hold skills during lockdown. The breathing optimisation classes sounded just what I was after and I have been doing them twice a week since the end of April.
With the classes, I discovered I could hold my breath way longer than I’ve ever been able to before and stay calm. This was a massive step for me as I’ve always found static breath-holds, even in the water, really difficult and usually start to get panicky quite quickly. I found it really helped having Emma talk us through them and I could not believe it when we got up to 3 minutes – there’s no way that would have seemed possible a few months ago!
I specifically enjoyed being able to develop/progress skills that would help my freediving, even while it wasn’t possible to get in the water. Three benefits of doing the classes are that you will develop skills relevant to freediving, you learn how to do lots of different exercises to help improve flexibility, relaxation and breathing, and you feel a sense of achievement when you start to see improvements.
Physically, I noticed some of the exercises get easier the more I did them – at the start I found Udiyana Bandha really difficult as I’d never really done it before, but after doing a few weeks of classes I feel like I was getting the hang of it, so hopefully that will have increased my flexibility. Mentally, the classes made me feel positive as I felt like I was developing new skills. I also felt a lot calmer afterwards and felt a real sense of achievement when I started to improve. I haven’t yet been able to get back in the water, but I feel a bit more confident knowing that I’m capable of holding my breath for longer than I thought I could, so I should be able to do it in the water as well, and I now know that having someone talk me through breath-holds is really helpful.
I would definitely recommend the breathing optimisation classes as they were really enjoyable. The atmosphere is very welcoming and friendly and everyone could take things at their own pace. We were encouraged, but never pressured, to challenge ourselves and it always felt very safe and reassuring. It was good that they were suitable for a range of abilities – there were ways to make most of the exercises easier/harder if you wanted to. Each class was well structured with a mixture of exercises and no two classes were the same, so they never felt repetitive and you got to try loads of different exercises and develop different skills. Emma is an amazing teacher who really knows how to motivate people and get the best out of them.
The start of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in March unfortunately coincided with the planned freediving trip to Egypt with Go Freediving, so we didn’t get to go. It was very disheartening and it seemed unlikely for me to be able to freedive in 2020 or practice my newly acquired skills. I thought ‘what can I do to keep my freediving practice up?’ I first looked up all of Emma’s freediving videos on breathing. Then Emma began live breathing classes and they have helped enormously.
Not only have I been able to still stay connected with the freediving community and my freediving friends, but it also gave me a weekly discipline to practice my breathing in a safe environment and increase flexibility as well as learning new skills to help when eventually I could get back in the water. I’ve attended to date roughly 20 classes and have found them not only invaluable but something to look forward to each week to keep me motivated, connected and disciplined. Trust me, it’s not fun doing one of these classes on a hangover or full stomach – so it has kept me accountable during this lockdown!
I love the fact the classes can easily fit around my working day. They are challenging but it’s fun to be with a like-minded set of people with the same passion. The impact it has had on my health has been wonderful during this time, it’s exactly what I needed, to help with not being stagnant. The breathing classes have not only helped with keeping up my practice in freediving, but also my well-being. My mind is clearer, I am a lot more focused and far less anxious than when I began the classes.
I would definitely recommend anyone who is an avid freediver to attend these courses, if you want to improve breath holds, learn new techniques and enjoy practicing with a very lovely bunch of fellow freedivers – I always walk away from the class feeling great with a smile on my face!
I have done about 8 of Emma’s Breathing Optimisation classes. Because of lockdown, and as a man of 40ish getting very close to 50, I needed to keep my flexibility and breathing up to scratch. I needed something specifically designed for freediving rather than general yoga and found these classes ideal.
Although I do my own breath hold tables, these classes allowed me to focus on more targeted techniques I can practice anywhere. I find myself doing some of the exercises now subconsciously! I’ve found my breath hold contractions are now more controllable and comfortable……If they can ever be described as comfortable!!! I’d recommend the class to anyone who wants to improve their flexibility and breathing specifically for freediving.
I decided to start using Emma’s breathing optimisation programme because I’ve always found static apnea really difficult and I thought that working with Emma would help me with this. I don’t attend Emma’s club (I live in another country!) although I had my first freediving experience with Go Freediving. My club coaches in Italy are largely volunteers, and while they do a great job they can’t get into the nitty gritty of how to improve. They use the exercises that help them, but I‘m not sure they really understand how these exercises work, so working with someone who really understands how to improve and train other people seemed like a golden opportunity. I generally attend one class a week and if I have time, two, because it’s easy to see that the more you do the greater the effect the lessons have. I think I’ve been to about 16 classes now.
I was amazed at how quickly I was able to improve my breath hold – but I did also discover I don’t have a great tolerance for CO2 so I still need to have a lot more practice. I really like doing the different exercises and how they develop over time, but also Emma’s explanation of how and why we’re doing them. My coaches tend to waffle on (in Italian) and very often, even though I am fluent, I don’t really understand what they are getting at. Emma is very clear and you know exactly what we’re aiming for.
The benefit of the classes are that I’ve already improved my breath hold, and I’ve proved to myself that I can improve my breath hold, and that I don’t need to panic – I’ve got to put it into practice underwater now. Following a similar pattern each week, with gradual changes also means that I can see the improvement myself rather than relying on someone else’s feedback. I think one of the most positive changes I’ve noticed is that I know I have to stay relaxed and keep calm, even when other people are trying to make me speed up – I can put what we’ve learnt in the classes into practise, and use the exercises and vocalisations that Emma uses to help me ignore the distractions around me! The calmer and more relaxed I feel the better my training in the pool.
I would definitely recommend these classes to anyone wanting to start or develop their breathing for diving, but I think they would also be useful to anyone who is in need of breathing physiotherapy (especially at the moment). They make you focus on what you are actually doing when you breathe, something most of us take for granted, and develop more control and understanding of the different processes. I also really like how you can develop at your own pace: we have some very experienced divers in the group and some beginners, like me, and there’s no pressure to ‘keep up’, you can work at your own level and improve at your own pace – which, of course, means, that because the pressure is off, we’re all developing really quickly!
I was motivated to do the breathing classes with Emma because I love freediving and really enjoy yoga. Breath work is an amazing connection point for both practises and can have exactly the same calming qualities. Mindful breathing is the essence of both practises and can have a really powerful effect on being more centred.
I have thoroughly enjoyed joining Emma and many other students from all over Great Britain and abroad for two sessions a week. I really like that Emma always makes the exercises scalable so everyone can work to their own level. Some days I felt amazing and could go longer into holds and others I felt tired and could reduce the holds. Emma always gives very clear instruction and makes everyone feel relaxed, comfortable and challenged to their level.
There are many benefits to the classes, for me personally they have been very powerful in relaxing my thoughts and helping me to find stillness. I have also been able to refine advanced techniques that will really help me dive deeper. I cannot recommend these classes highly enough, I can assure you they will be of significant benefit to anyone and everyone.
I did the breathing optimisation classes because I want to improve my breath-hold for when diving resumes, and improve my PB. I also miss seeing club members I hadn’t seen in over a year! I attend once to twice a week and have attended for over two months so far. I’ve discovered that my breath hold has gradually increased, I’ve lowered my anxiety, and have improved my concentration (my ability to be present). It took me 2 classes to start to see results.
The specific thing I like most about the classes is Emma’s methodical teaching method which challenges you to push yourself gently. For me, three benefits of the breathing optimisation classes are increased lung flexibility, breath-hold and improved mental state. It is also nice to see familiar faces on screen!
The classes have already improved my freediving by helping me improve my reactions to diaphragmatic contractions. I’d recommend the classes because they teach you to breathe efficiently and they have a restorative effect on the mind and body. Just try them for yourself!
Thank you Emma for this amazing opportunity to dive deeper into the breath through challenging but doable yogic breath exercises.It was a proper workout, and got me hot and sweaty just through using the breath!
The breathing optimisation classes are very cool. I learned a lot about my abilities but also my limitations, and how to work to improve. Again many thanks and it’s something I will continue to do.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️