There are a lot of things the human body was not designed to do. Fly, for example. Or repel fire. Or sink into the depths of the ocean without a breathing apparatus. But we’re human beings. We don’t like being told we can’t do something. So we build wing suits, and flame-retardant clothing, and we train ourselves to hold our breath for a really, really long time.

And that's where competitive free diving comes in. Divers attach weights to their bodies and compete to see who can dive the deepest, hold their breath the longest, and plunge the fastest.

Aharon Solomons has been diving for a long time. The British-born athlete taught SCUBA diving to military, research, and recreational divers for 35 years before discovering free diving. He now holds records in the constant weight and free immersion categories, and, at seventy-six, has the distinction of being the world’s oldest active master-level free diver.

Solomons takes a metaphysical, mind/body approach to his work. He spent a year in India studying yoga in order to better connect with his breath, and the front page of his website contains this very telling statement: “We have long ago surpassed the limits attainable by purely physical excellence and are now venturing into the terra incognita of our mental potential.”

In this new video from Great Big Story, armchair divers can ride along with a very mellow Solomons as he drops deep into the blue waters off the coast of Israel.

Header image from YouTube // Great Big Story.