Competitive freediving is a ridiculous sport. Top divers submerge for more than three minutes and reach depths below 300 feet. The pressure at this depth causes human lungs to “shrink to the size of two baseballs,” writes James Nestor. In the reckless chasing of depth records, diver after diver surfaces with blood pouring from their noses, or dragged unconscious by rescue divers, or in cardiac arrest.
When freediving is practiced outside the structure of competition, we discover startling facets of human physiology, most prominently the life-preserving reflexes known as the Master Switch of Life. Because of a reflexive retreat of blood from the extremities to the vital organs, the brain and heart remain flush with oxygen and the lungs engorged with enough blood to prevent collapse at theoretically fatal pressures. When humans experience high pressure on land, we are unable to flip this Master Switch.
Divers can cultivate this purely submarine aspect of our biology and stay submerged for several minutes.
All to say, life is one breath. My purpose here is singular: I aim to help you flip the Master Switch of Life and maximize your one breath.