Whether you are an experienced yoga practitioner or can barely touch your toes, there are a few key yoga poses that can help improve your diving game when included as part of your general fitness regime.
Brittny Wilson, yoga instructor and PADI Pro, recommends practicing yoga to help you prepare for your next dive trip, “I make sure I practice these poses both before and after a dive to keep my muscles stretched and relaxed to avoid injury.”
Use the following poses to help you train before your next dive trip to keep your body strong and relaxed.
#1 – Heart openers: Typically, when you’re scuba diving, you spend part of your day with a cylinder on your back. Most of us deal with this added weight by tilting forward in an attempt to distribute the load across our back. Heart-opening yoga stretches are an excellent way to counteract this motion and release the thoracic spine. Recommended poses: Cobra, Sphinx, Camel, Locus
Sphinx pose: Reach through toes, draw lower belly away from floor and open through chest
#2 – Quad strengtheners: Depending on where you’re diving, you might have to carry tanks to your dive boat or along the beach for a shore dive. Or you may have to lift yourself in full gear up a bobbing ladder. To avoid back injuries and to stay faithful to the standard advice of “lift with your legs”, yoga poses that strengthen your quadriceps will help prepare you for the added workout. Recommended poses: Warrior I, Warrior II, Chair, Bridge, Crescent Moon
Chair pose: Squeeze thighs together, shift weight back onto heels and drop shoulders away from ears.
#3 – Arm strengtheners: Depending on the type, scuba tanks can weigh anywhere from 28-34 pounds/12-15 kilograms each, and strong arms will help lift the weight whether you’re loading them onto a boat or carrying them from the car to the water’s edge. Practice these poses at home before your trip to help strengthen your arms (as well as other core muscles). For maximum effect, try working these in combination: Recommended poses: Plank, Pushup, Downward-facing dog, Side plank
Plank pose: Push through heels, engage core, lengthen through neck and roll shoulders down spine.
#4 – Breathing: Yoga links breath with movement, and takes the act of breathing from being an unconscious act to a conscious one. Practicing yogic breathing techniques – or pranayama – on land will help slow down your breathing rate underwater, resulting in a longer bottom time and a more meditative dive. Recommended breathing techniques: Ujjayi (Victorious) Breathing, Alternate Nostril Breathing
Many divers have already discovered the benefits of combining their favorite sport with yoga practice. Add these moves to your routine to help prepare your body and mind for your next dive. If you’re looking for advice and tips on the different poses, try the Yoga Journal.
Ready to see how your new yoga skills have helped? Book a trip with your local PADI Dive Center or Resort.