HOLISTIC FREEDIVING FOR BEGINNERS
The Discover Your Depths Sea-Inside Retreat is a unique concept in freediving education offering two distinct paths for connecting with the ocean; the Joy of Water Retreat specifically designed for absolute beginners feel the ocean calling them and who wish to learn in a supportive and stress-free way; and the Water-Healing Retreat, which is ideal for anyone who wishes to overcome a fear of diving, or build their confidence in water. Both retreats combine yoga, meditation and self-awareness as an essential and integral part of learning how to deeply relax in the ocean, and dive on breathhold.
We are interested in your experience of learning how to let go, helping you expand beyond the negative thoughts that hold you back, and enjoy greater freedom in the water. Using freediving as a metaphor for life, we ultimately help you live a life filled with greater happiness, success and ease.
The ocean is our true teacher, we are your facilitators to guide you gently back to a state of authentic being, beyond fears, projections and limiting beliefs. In silence you see yourself more clearly. On breathhold in the arms of the ocean, you strip away all ability to hide from yourself - it is the purest, most gentle, most honest form of self-enquiry and re-connection. The ocean shows you the absolute truth within.
Which Retreat is right for me?
JOY OF WATER
If you wish to freedive for the pure joy of feeling free in the water, if you want to immerse in the absolute silence of underwater breathhold, if you know deep inside yourself that the ocean is your home, then our Sea-Inside Joy of Water retreat is the perfect place for you to begin this remarkable beautiful journey to reconnect with the sea and yourself.
You will learn all essential skills including breathholding, duck-diving, body position and finning techniques, as well as studying the physiology behind freediving. You may be amazed to find out that your body already knows how to do this, even though you’ve never done it before!
Our aim by the end of the retreat is for you to feel safe and confident in the water and have glimpsed the joy and freedom freediving can bring. We are not interested in the numbers of your performance, either time or depth, but are passionately committed to your physical and emotional experience. Freediving is about returning home to a state of deep trust, surrender and relaxation, in the ocean, in nature, and in life.
Maximum three people per retreat
While many choose to freedive for their love of the ocean, others are looking for a way to resolve deep-seated fears of water, which may come directly from water-related trauma, or may be less clear. What is clear is that your body consists of 70 percent water, and you spent the first nine months of your life floating in the salty amniotic fluid of your mother’s womb. Also your deep biology retains the memory of your distant ancestors who once lived, and evolved from the ocean. Immersing yourself in the ocean is a deep healing journey, a way of coming home.
To heal your relationship with water, you need to heal your story; near-drowning, difficult birth experiences, even unspecific anxiety. If this speaks to you, and you feel a calling to resolve your fears in a genuinely caring, professional and supportive environment, we hope to guide you on this Water-Healing journey. You may wish to work with us privately, or to bring a friend or partner with you. We hold space for whatever may arise, to hear your story and understand your needs to tailor the retreat so you feel safe and cared for every step, every breath of the journey.
Maximum two people per retreat
MORE ABOUT JOY OF WATER
Too often freedivers get stuck in their heads about numbers and lose the connection to the original joy of freediving without expectations. We use our experience and expertise in yoga, meditation and other spiritual practices, as well as having confronted our own fears and limiting beliefs in the water, to focus on relaxation, mental training and self-awareness through developing the body-mind-heart connection. Our aim is to help you experience the original joy of freediving and forget about the numbers as a benchmark of your diving experience, or your own self-esteem.
The Joy of Water holistic approach addresses each student as a unique individual. We expand the regular five-day Holistic Freediving programme, with coaching to help you look beyond technique to unravel the unique emotional and mental backdrop against which you enter the water. We ensure that all factors - body, mind, and spirit - are explored through the journey of the retreat. We take time to truly understand you, and to help you understand yourself. Through breathwork, meditation, and awareness, we invite you to explore your inner landscape of beliefs and fears, motivations and self-sabotage behaviour.
MORE ABOUT WATER-HEALING
Water is the source of all life and is fundamental to our survival, wellbeing and happiness. It is one of the five elements that makes up Nature, and is the major element within your own body. Water is said to reflect your emotions, and in mythology deep water is where our subconscious fears lie submerged. Fear of water can come both from actual experiences such as near-drowning, or from more subtle, hard-to-identify sources. Whatever the cause, fear of water indicates that there is something deeper that drastically reduces your capacity to enjoy life, to relax and let go. It is in and through water that you will resolve these deeper fears and learn to truly surrender and trust.
We understand that even reading these words might trigger a huge fear response in some people - if this is you, then please take a deep breath, and read on. The fear that you feel by simply considering the idea of facing these feelings, is your message that it is time. These feelings are keeping you stuck, are holding you back. Your fears, whether from a direct experience, or from an energetic inheritance, a distant memory, or completely unknown, control you, and prevent you from experiencing true joy through freedom.
Our Water-Healing Retreat is designed to work with you, at your own pace. We will never push you as we understand how deeply vulnerable you may feel at many points along the journey. But it is through your vulnerability that you will discover your courage, and your natural destiny to expand beyond your fears. Water-Healing will help you understand your fears, and the dynamic of their power over you - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually - and will help to set you free.
WATER-HEALING : If you are coming specifically to work on a fear of water or trauma, please let us know before booking. It is important for two reasons; firstly that we fully tailor the teachings to ensure you feel fully supported and safe throughout; and also set aside exclusive dates for your programme, either for a private retreat, or to open it up only to other Water-Healing students. We limit the numbers on the Water-Healing Retreat to a maximum of two to ensure a one-to-one ratio with a coach for all students, at all times. If you need to discuss this, or have any questions, please contact us directly for a confidential chat about how we can support you in this process.
MORE ABOUT YOUR SEA-INSIDE RETREAT
The retreat begins with a three-day process covering freediving theory, anatomy, physiology and in-depth practical teaching of correct breathing and breathhold, yoga, pranayama and meditation. Our objective is to get you feeling comfortable and relaxed in water before we go ‘deeper’ with the core Holistic Freediving teachings of Body-Mind-Spirit which take place over the next three days. The retreat is closed with a two-day integration process in the sacred space of the Sinai desert, to give you time to reflect on your journey, and to ensure you leave with a deep understanding of all you have learned.
You will be accompanied the entire way by Sara and Jean Philippe, who have a combined experience of over 40 years of teaching yoga, meditation and spirituality. Sara has been coaching freediving as a spiritual path for the past ten years, and Jean Philippe supports her in the water as co-coach and head of safety.
The Sea-Inside Retreat is made up of three main components, each separated by a rest day, to relax, integrate, enjoy the beach and maybe a massage:
Understanding Ourselves in Water - three days
- includes essential theory, anatomy, physiology of both freediving and fight-or-flight response
- water-relaxation, breathing and breathhold practical
- daily yoga, pranayama and meditation practice
Holistic Freediving - three days
- a complete process to unfold your understanding of yourself as a human being within, and as a part of, Nature
- morning lectures, philosophy, sharing and meditation
- afternoon practical water sessions, focusing on relaxation, sensations and awareness
Integration - two days
- time to ground, reflect and integrate the experience in the desert
- silent trek, and meditation practices
- sleep beneath the stars and celebrate yourself
YOUR RETREAT SCHEDULE
Part One : Understanding Ourselves in Water
- Monday : Breathing and Breathholding
- Tuesday : Fight or Flight, and Deep Biology
- Wednesday : Deep Relaxation
Thursday : Rest
Part Two : Holistic Freediving
- Friday : Wisdom of Your Body
- Saturday : Peace of Your Mind
- Sunday : Vastness of Your Spirit
Monday : Rest
Part Three : Integration
- Tuesday : Desert Integration
- Wednesday : Desert Celebration
Parts One and Two:
09:00-13.00 : Theory, yoga, meditation and pranayama
14:00-16:00 : Water work, followed by feedback and sharing
We will leave Dahab around 11am on Tuesday and return early afternoon on Wednesday
Sea-Inside is the first step in our unique approach that shares our philosophy of ‘freediving as a spiritual path’. It developed organically from Sara’s intuitive healing from trauma and grief, unfolding ultimately in a joyful dive to 104m on one breath. By using freediving as a process of self-enquiry and reflection, Sara learned deep, ultimate truths about herself, life, nature, the universe and her place in it as a human being, and part of creation. It is this re-connection with yourself, through the ocean, returning to Nature as your home, that we have the honour and joy to share with an ever-increasing of seekers, our Holistic Freediving family.
The retreat runs from a Monday to the following Wednesday and we recommend arriving the Saturday before we start, with your departure flight earliest the night of the final Wednesday. You might want to take a few days to just relax and truly ‘be’ before you fly home, turning it into a two-week break.
MORE About Holistic Freediving
Holistic Freediving is our unique all-level approach to freediving, teaching about our deeper relationship with water, and hence with Nature and ourselves. It is a process of awareness and personal growth, through which we can release dysfunctional or unsupportive belief patterns and start to live more freely by discovering who we really are.
Our Holistic Freediving programme is specially designed to allow all freedivers to learn in a non-pressured, totally supportive environment, with two caring, experienced coaches. We believe that your experience is important, rather than the numbers, and our focus is on relaxation and happiness. Our Holistic Freediving programmes are about learning, awareness and personal development, and therefore there are no requirements to be fulfilled in order to complete the programme, no benchmark of whether you have 'succeeded' or not. It's about growth - at your own pace. For more information on Holistic Freediving, please click here.
There are two options for accommodation on the Sea-Inside Retreats, depending on whether you want a classical ‘beach holiday’ or more of a ‘deep retreat atmosphere’. Your retreat package includes up to two weeks stay at Villa Prana; if you prefer to stay at the hotel there is a small surcharge:
VILLA PRANA - DEEP RETREAT
We invite you to stay in Villa Prana, our luxury self-catering villa, which adjoins our house. This option is perfect for people travelling alone or with a friend or partner, who want to have private space to really go deep into an inner process. It comprises two generous double bedrooms, each with their own private bathroom, and shared spaces of an open-plan kitchen-living room, a shaded courtyard, and roof terrace. Sara and Jean Philippe live next-door, with their three dogs and three cats, and will be on hand for any questions, or support you need throughout the process.
CORAL COAST HOTEL - BEACH HOLIDAY
Our partner hotel is where we hold many of the theory sessions, and is where we recommend you go for body treatments and massage throughout your stay. Some of our guests prefer to stay here in order to wake up every morning to a seaview, and have direct access to the beach. Coral Coast is a beautiful, local family-run hotel which has lovely, bright rooms overlooking the Red Sea, as well as shared spaces of the Arisha beach restaurant, the pool and sunloungers, two beautiful yoga spaces, and a wonderful massage room.
For more information on each option, and photos, please have a look at our accommodation page here.
About Sara and Jean Philippe
Sara has been guiding people to ‘discover their depths’ since long before becoming a world champion freediver. Her journey of self-healing from ulcerative colitis led her to become a Kundalini yoga teacher and ultimately brought her to a new life in Dahab. Here she truly began exploring the concepts of life, happiness, success and failure, and how to reach our human potential, both in and out of the water, on and off the mat. Her journey has forced her to confront some of life’s greatest challenges; death and trauma, as well as the ego-traps of success and (minor) fame. She has lived the teachings of her spiritual path to help her move through grief, isolation, deep vulnerability and fear, and take her practice off the mat and into her daily life.
Her teaching is deeply intuitive and sensitive, and she helps all of her students - whether they come for emotional and spiritual healing or guidance, or to bring a gentler, more healthy and supportive approach to their freediving - to reach beyond what they previously believed was possible and leave with a sense of space, possibility and new potential in their life.
Sara teaches yoga, meditation and freediving internationally, and also provides spiritual coaching for athletes, and anyone at a crossroads in their life. She has been involved in several TV documentaries on freediving and human potential, is the founder of Discover Your Depths, and has created her own online training programme, Yoga for Freediving.
ABOUT JEAN PHILIPPE
Jean Philippe has been practicing yoga for more than 20 years. A difficult, abusive childhood brought him instinctively to sit in deep meditation on the fundamental questions of existence; the meaning of life and death, the nature of being and our deeper identity, happiness and suffering, the search for meaning and freedom.
Certified to teach since 1999 he has followed various lineages including Sampoorna Yoga with Sri Yogi Hari (USA), and Sivananda (Chennai and Neyardam, India; and Paris, France). He is also a highly experienced meditation practitioner and teacher, having spent many years studying traditional Buddhist techniques with reknowned masters.
Through structured and flowing classes, Jean Philippe invites his students to connect actively with their body, their breath and their awareness by accepting and respecting the limitations we may experience moment to moment. He reminds his students to return to and nurture a sense of deep peace, balance and oneness that is the core purpose and focus of yoga. He brings his yogic and life experiences (including near-drowning as a child) into the water with students, helping them to relax through greater body-mind awareness, and his intuitive, supportive coaching.
Recently Jean Philippe created and delivered a three-year programme of stress management and wellbeing in the workplace for the senior management for the investigative branch of the technical and scientific federal police of Belgium.
SEA-INSIDE Joy of Water ten-day retreat
£1850 per person (£200 deposit)
maximum three people per group
SEA-INSIDE Water-Healing ten-day retreat
£2050 per person (£200 deposit)
maximum two people per group
exclusive private programme
£2500 per person
HOTEL SURCHARGE : £180 extra per person for B&B hotel accommodation (11 nights)
- nine full days of personalised coaching
- up to 14 nights accommodation in Villa Prana
- welcome dinner and closing dinner
- all desert meals and activities
- Villa Prana welcome basket of fresh fruits
- all airport and dive-site transfers
- freediving equipment - rental €12/day
- All Egypt visa - €25
- international flights to Sharm el Sheikh
- meals and drinks
- NOTE: HOTEL SURCHARGE of £180 per person for 12 nights B&B
We are offering this unique Sea-Inside Retreat format twice per year. Here are our dates for 2020:
SPRING/SUMMER : 1-14 June
AUTUMN : 28 September-11 October
If these dates don’t work for you, our calendar is flexible and we will do our best to accommodate you at times which are convenient. Please drop us an email if you wish to discuss alternative dates.
How to Book
In the drop-down menu to the right, you will see these two course dates. Until we receive a booking from a student, they are both listed as ‘Sea-Inside’ and can be run as either a Joy of Water or a Water-Healing Retreat. If you are ready to book, please email us to let us know which of the two retreat formats is right for you; we will then list your chosen dates as either ‘Joy of Water’ or ‘Water-Healing’ and will then only accept students suitable for that programme on to the retreat.
If you wish to work with us privately, please also let us know so we can block the entire retreat for you. Please email us if you have any questions regarding the booking process, your requirements or need other dates.
How to PAY
Once you have selected your preferred dates, we ask you to make your deposit of £200 directly online to confirm your place. We can schedule your balance payments to suit you, either in two or more instalments, or a single payment due at least one month prior to arrival.
We suggest that you read our Holistic Freediving Agreement, which we will ask you to sign and bring with you to the course, in which we outline the terms and conditions of this booking.
Once all places are booked on any of our Sea-Inside Retreats, you will be unable to book for those specific dates, and we ask that you look at other dates, or contact us by email to discuss your requirements.
You are responsible for booking your international flights and ensuring you arrive in good time in order to be rested before we start. We recommend arrival by the latest on Saturday night to begin the retreat on Monday morning. Your return should not be before Wednesday night, and as your retreat package includes up to 14 nights at Villa Prana you might want to extend your return journey to the following weekend for a two-week break to make sure you’re fully recharged, rested and relaxed when you get home.
You should book your flights to Sharm el Sheikh, and send us your e-ticket as soon as possible so we can book the Villa for you. We will send our trusted driver to collect you, even if you arrive in the middle of the night. This is included in your retreat package. You will need to get an All Egypt visa, either before departure, or on arrival at Sharm, for €25.
We look forward to welcoming you to your SEA-INSIDE RETREAT
For any questions or enquiries, please do not hesitate to email us to discuss your specific requirements. We are always happy to design bespoke programmes if you feel that our ten-day Sea-Inside Retreat isn't quite right for you.