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Psychology in teaching scuba diving for a child-Part2

If you missed the previous part please read psychology in teaching scuba diving for a child part1.



Being in water, it is to be a body aware of itself, it means aware of:

- its envelope which defines an inside and an outside,

- gravity which is not obvious any more here and must be tested in the inner side of the body (lung ballast),

- a balance to be maintained around a centre of gravity that almost disappeared,

- a motor skill requiring a very different sensitivity,

- a breathing which is not automatic anymore but finds back its place of first vital function so that it is not forgotten anymore. 


This new body has to be built or find again, which is not simple. It is a question of moving from the awareness of having a body to a mental picture of “being this body”.  To establish an intimate link with water, it is also to have intimate links with our body. 


Aquaticity or fluidity? 


In diving we speak about aquaticity (all about the ease in the aquatic environment) and in hydrotherapy about fluidity.

Signs of non fluidity are the set of the parasitic gestures or useless, rude, even violent one that can be regularly observed such as frantic moves of the legs – might be dangerous for the surrounding people - out of water at the time of diving, splashes, etc. It can be funny, seldom aesthetic, and always ineffective. On the other hand, somebody moving under water harmoniously brings us a feeling of “beautiful”. Human beings, whatever their external features and our aesthetic criteria, become beautiful in water when they cease fighting it. 

This fluidity can be found by focusing on five main topics: balance (buoyancy), propulsion, breathing, depth exploration, water entry.


* The balance is immediately requested as soon as we dive. Water pushes us, carries us, and relieves us of the 9/10th of our body mass. The gravity disappears and, with it, the effectiveness of all our rebalancing automatisms. In addition, the balance process is in three dimensions, with uncertain reference.  Controlling the balance in water pushes us to work with all our proprioception, which requires attention, activation of all the joints simultaneously.


* The propulsion encounters a resistance to the progression with the consequence of the deceleration of the body movement. In addition, each propelling action, if it drives us, drives also the water: currents and counter-currents. Each one of our moves causes an effect that reacts on our moves…  


* Breathing is the access key function to aquatic ease. It is the core center of the emotion, related to our ability to control, and its neurovegetative consequences. To reduce its breathing causes to decrease the mobility of all the body. It is also the most effective way to control the feelings. Any meditation practice gives a paramount importance to breathing. Thus, we can say that our way of breathing - amplitude, rate/rhythm, awareness - is highly correlated to our way of being in the world. The fear of water is generally the fear of suffocation, of asphyxiation. To reconquer this medium, it is to make peace with its breathing, which can be long but in a way surprising, much faster than on land.


* The exploration of depth means to immerse the head, which is huge in symbolic meaning: to leave the interface of surface to give up itself with the descent! Still there, we can use force to descent, whereas it is so much easier to sink gently towards the bottom.  

*The entry in water: when the four dynamic points, above mentioned, are under control, it is possible to try out entries in water in many different ways: from the slow immersion, progressive, until the jump in the "blue" from a boat - ground, air, water, ground.   Ease in water is acquired gradually.  To scuba dive, it is first to give to yourself all the possible means of going back to the surface to breath air.

You can read directly the last part of this article by reading Psychology in teaching scuba diving for a child Part3.


Docteur Christine BONNAT pour WorldDivingReview.
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