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Padi Freediver- Level 1

• E-learning
• Classroom session
• Intro to Yoga, mindfulness meditation, and visualization techniques tailored to help give you tools to relax in and out of the water.
• Confined water session including a static apnea of 90 seconds, dynamic apnea of 25 meters (80 ft), and diver rescue training. (Loss Motor Control and Blackout rescues)
• Pre-Dive stretching
• Open water session including but not limited to learning free immersion, constant weight dives to 10 meters (33 feet) and learning how to safety your dive partner.
• Certification card will be issued upon completion of Padi Level 1 requirements.

-Class size is limited to 4 students or less.




2 days

Central FL Freedivers

Padi Freediver Level 1 & more

Your Instructor

Donia Kitsmiller

Donia Kitsmiller

From early childhood Donia was instilled with a spiritual connection to water and nature. After practicing yoga for over 20 years and completing her YTT certification, she discovered the beauty of what lies beneath the surface in freediving in 2017. Fascinated with the similarities between freediving and yoga-- the centrality of the breath and the joining of mind and body with the world-- Donia wanted to share her passion and become a freediving instructor. Her awareness of this gift of self-discovery by being in contact with the inner and outer worlds at same time, which yoga and freediving offer, is what sets Donia apart from other instructors.

Her love of freediving has lead Donia around the world for training, including trips to Mexico, Bonaire, Greece, and the Bahamas. In 2022 she completed her PADI instructor training with world record holder, Carlos Coste. She is currently working on her Wave 3 in Molchonovs with Matt Duvault in order to complete her Molchonovs instructor certification as well. Taking a more spirit-based approach to the water, Donia teaches her students to focus and practice self-love, along with the benefits of yoga and pranayama, that instills a sense of calm and peace in their total immersion in nature, and subsequent self-discovery.

When she’s not in the water, Donia is a kind, devoted mother and friend who loves to dance and paint. She also runs her own business, Hair by Donia, in Orlando, where she makes people feel as beautiful on the outside as they do on the inside.

What makes you love freediving?
"𝘐 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘮𝘺 𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘭𝘺 𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘮𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘦𝘵𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘐 𝘥𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘧𝘢𝘤𝘦. 𝘋𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘥𝘦𝘦𝘱 𝘧𝘦𝘦𝘭𝘴 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘢 𝘩𝘶𝘨 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘔𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘌𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘩. 𝘐 𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘰 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘪𝘵 𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘴. 𝘐'𝘷𝘦 𝘮𝘦𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘐'𝘷𝘦 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘧𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨."

How has yoga strengthened my free diving?
In general, my yoga practice reminds me that discomfort is temporary, and it has taught me how to breathe through discomfort using “pranayama” – the practice of breath regulation. In Sanskrit, “prana” means life energy and “yama” means “control.”

For me, free diving itself is like pranayama, and as the energy travels through my body, it’s a beautiful feeling.

Specifically, I practice Mysore-style Ashtanga yoga, which focuses on strength, alignment and flexibility. Proper alignment allows your Kundalini energy -- the life force that lies like a coiled snake at the base of the spine -- to move along your spine to your head. The moving of that vital energy not only corrects posture (I no longer have a “swayback”), but it also can remove emotional blockages. When a free diver wants to reach deeper depths, optimal alignment of their spine is very important, helping to protect the lungs and neck from pressure.

Understanding and working with the “bandhas” – or energy locks within the body -- also will come natural to divers, especially the “uddiyana bandha” – which stretches the diaphragm. We also practice “drishti” or “focused gaze,” which is a means for developing concentrated intention in every pose to quiet the mind and the breath, and keep you present in the moment.

Ashtanga yoga also embraces mantras. Mantras are amazing because like singing, you can practice a mantra to gain more lung capacity and longer breathhold. There are so many other benefits of yoga to divers, such as lowering your heart rate, warming the body and thinning the blood.

Yoga and diving are naturally supportive of each other, and there’s so much more for me to share with interested divers to achieve their goals.

Book your course directly with Donia!

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