Monday, June 8, 2015

Yoga Diving in Bali, Indonesia: My First Ever Dive

Zen Harmony Dive Bali

Carla, you’re so good. Is this really your first time to dive?  That was Jelena, our funky dive instructor in Bali. As we surfaced back, I felt a sense of triumph. It was my first ever dive and I got good remarks from my guru.

Water is my element and I’ve done crazy stints of cliff jumping, lake jumping, waterfalls jumping and winter swimming with no forms of persuasion. But what I really love is swimming; there’s a certain kind of freedom that I only experience when I’m out at the sea. And it’s always a shocker for everyone that I never tried diving. I would usually have the same baffled look from them as I think of the reason why I haven’t explored what’s underneath (check here for discounted tours, transportation and activities in Bali).

So when me and my buddies were chilling it out in Bali, I felt a sudden need to go beyond the surface and check out what’s really in there. Fortunately, Rama Beach Resort & Villas, our home in Kuta, directed us to the best dive resort in Bali – Rama Candidasa Dive & Spa Resort.

Rama Candidasa Dive and Spa Resort
Rama Candidasa Dive & Spa Resort
Located at the eastern part of Bali, Rama Candidasa Dive & Spa Resort is the perfect place for a peaceful retreat. Overlooking the Indian Ocean, it boasts 80 Balinese-themed rooms; all with private balconies with ocean, tropical lush garden or pool view (check room types and rates).

Rama Candidasa Dive and Spa Resort

Rama Candidasa Dive and Spa Resort

The scenic two-hour drive from Kuta to Candidasa was relaxing. My eyes were fixed on the everyday scenes of the Balinese people which were somewhat similar to the rural scenes in the Philippines.

We headed straight at Zen Dive Bali upon arrival for the pre-dive preparations. We were greeted by Jelena, our dive instructor, and went on with the individual health assessment and fitness status. Upon careful consideration, Jelena decided that among the three of us, I was the only one who’s fit to continue with the Zen Harmony Diving (Christian had an ear infection while Julius has zero knowledge in swimming).

Zen Harmony Dive Bali
Zen Dive Bali
After the initial screening we went on with a brief overview on what to expect on the unique concept of Zen Harmony Diving. To put it simply, the program is a holistic approach into scuba diving which incorporates the core principles of yoga, meditation, pranayama, and ayuverda.

Zen Harmony Dive Bali

At birth, we are naturally deep belly-breathers, which is the normal and healthiest way. As adults, we become more shallow-breathers mainly due to stress. The idea of Zen Harmony Breathing is to regain the natural ability of our bodies to breathe in slowly and deeper. Zen Harmony Diving Center has designed special breathing techniques for scuba divers for effective and efficient controlled breathing.

Zen Harmony Dive Bali
Pranayama breathing exercises
Yoga mats were unrolled and yoga blocks were laid. Jelena led us (I was with two other students) to the meditation area and we were asked to comfortably sit on the mats. The fundamental exercises of correct breathing followed and I was amazed on how easily I adapted into the breathing techniques. I believe that everyone (divers and non-divers) should try this out to effectively maximize the capacity of our lungs.

Zen Harmony Dive Bali
The breathing exercises felt really good
After the relaxing breathing exercises, we put on our wetsuits and handpicked our masks, snorkels and fins then headed straight to the pool for our scuba diving pool session. I was having a hard time with the gear especially the fins, it’s like I wanna take it all off and just swim. But with the help of my new friends, I safely plunged into the water.

Zen Harmony Dive Bali

Zen Harmony Dive Bali
We're so ready to hit the pool
We did some exercises on buoyancy, equalization, breathing and yoga. And guess what? I did great according to Jelena. After an hour of basic diving and yoga activities in the pool we rested a bit and moved on to the actual scuba diving into the sea. At this point, my excitement was on full blast.

Zen Harmony Dive Bali
This is it!
We headed to the boat which brought us to a diving site nearby. I kept on absorbing all the recent learnings during the 5-minute boat ride. And then it was time. One by one the guys backrolled into the ocean and went into the site swiftly. As for me, I was assisted by Jelena all throughout the 45-minute diving stint.

Zen Harmony Dive Bali
My first ever
And it was pure bliss; it felt like déjà vu, like I’ve been doing this thing all my life. I quickly adapted into the underwater world and Jelena was always there to guide me. The joy was unexplainable and all that was happening felt like a dream. Everything was so close that I could feel them, I was with them. And as they say, it’s really a different world down there.

Zen Harmony Dive Bali
Pure bliss
I could’ve brought my underwater camera while diving but I really wanna concentrate on my breathing and yoga exercises underwater. I only have one shot from my new friend of this momentous event, thanks Rufina.

A quick group hug followed afterwards and Jelena handed me a Certificate for finishing the Introductory Zen Harmony Diving Course with a promise that I would continue this new endeavor of mine, hello Philippine diving spots!

Zen Harmony Dive Bali
My new Balinese friend, Rufina
The group went to Garpu Restaurant inside Rama Candidasa Resort afterwards where I was reunited with my buddies. I shared with them my first ever diving experience and they seemed envious excited as I narrated the whole event. And then our late lunch arrived.

Rama Candidasa Dive and Spa Resort Garpu Restaurant
The view of Indian Ocean from Garpu Restaurant
Rama Candidasa Dive and Spa Resort Garpu Restaurant

Thai Green Salad was first on the prepared set meal. The texture from the fresh greens complemented the sweet and sour dressing. Next was the Nasi Ayam Maharaja which literally translates to Rice, Chicken and great ruler


Rama Candidasa Dive and Spa Resort Garpu Restaurant
Thai Green Salad
Nasi Ayam Maharaja
Nasi Ayam Maharaja
The huge tray contained some pickled cucumber and carrots, vegetable broth, krupuk (prawn crackers), steamed rice, fried chicken glazed with special sauce and some dips. And it was superb. The perfect blend of the spicy dips and the flavor of chicken were impeccable. The meal is truly fit for royalties.

Nasi Ayam Maharaja
Super spicy yummy
The dessert followed after the yummy main course. Mille Feuille is similar to Napoleones and Garpu Restaurant’s version includes a vanilla ice cream and some fresh strawberries. I finished everything on my plate in no time (I ain’t a dessert person at all).

Rama Candidasa Dive and Spa Resort Garpu Restaurant
Mille Feuille
To cap it off, I requested for the traditional Balinese liquor, Arak (or Arrack). I heard numerous rumors about certain deaths connecting to this liquor in some bars in Bali. Apparently, some people are mixing this local drink with methanol and selling it on cheap bars, just be careful where you get yours. Moving on, I was asked on how I want my alcohol to be served. I wanted it as pure as it can be so I went on with Arak on the rocks.

Bali Arak
Arak, traditional Balinese liquor
The liquor was legit. It is somewhat similar to the local gin we have in the Philippines and you surely have to be prepared for this booze; the alcohol content can go over 50%, whew. The group chatted for a while as we lounged on the restaurant with a nice view of the ocean. We were laughing as we discover how similar Tagalog and Bahasa Bali (also Baha Indonesian) are, like the word sick is both sakit in Tagalog and Bahasa. We couldn’t stop laughing as we try to decode all the similar words we have.

The laughter went on still while we’re navigating back to Kuta. I couldn’t believe that I just had my first ever diving experience and I did great. This will never be the last one, I’m sure of that.


Rama Candidasa Dive & Spa Resort (book online)
Jalan Raya Sengkidu Candidasa, Karangasem,
Bali, Indonesia
Contact Number: (+62) 363.41974
Website: http://www.ramacandidasahotel.com/

Zen Harmony Diving - Dive East Bali
Zen Dive Bali
PADI 5* Dive Resort S-22049
Jalan Sengkidu Candidasa, Karangasem,
Bali, Indonesia
Contact Number: (+62) 363.41411
Email Address: touch@zendivebali.com
Website: http://www.zenharmonydiving.com/ 
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