The last time I went snorkeling was in 2009. I used to love to snorkel, but on that day I had to force myself into the water and make myself submerge my head. I was frustrated that an accident that had left me trapped underwater a year earlier was still affecting me.
Luckily the fish were pretty and the day was pleasant and there were no incidents. I got back into the boat with a “There, I did it!” feeling of victory. No freak accident was going to keep me out of the water. Time passed and vacations were elsewhere and I didn’t think much about snorkeling for years.
About a year ago I started practicing qigong, a sort of moving meditation with an emphasis on slow deliberate breathing. A week ago I attended a seminar designed to recharge my personal practice, and I enjoyed it immensely.
So here I am today, back in the ocean with snorkeling gear, wondering how this is going to go. I put on the mask and duck my head under. To my surprise, a year of deep breathing has had an effect.
You can’t breathe in through the nose in a snorkle mask, but my body figures it out without any instructions from my mind. Slow breath in, slow breath out through the mouth. Again. And again. Aren’t those fish gorgeous? Breathe. Look at the rock formation over there. Breathe. Oh my, a whole school of tiny fish swim around me. Wow, I’ve never seen the black and orange one before. Breathe.
After awhile I recognize that a good bit of time has passed and I look up. I’m far from the boat and half of the folks have headed back all ready. Time to go. I happily paddle my way back.
Today, I went snorkeling for the second time since 2008. The amazing thing is that this time, I didn’t just do it. I enjoyed it. And that’s a whole ‘nother thing.
For more on my own personal story of my Costa Rica qigong experiences please see
1. Embracing the Yin in Costa Rica,
2. Finding Forgiveness in Costa Rica
3. Many Paths in Costa Rica and
4. Animal play in Costa Rica