Is Amed safe?

Is Amed safe?

Again today the Volcano is silent, and no steam or ash is spewing.

The sun is shining and the water is flat, but there are almost no tourists. Just some intrepid travelllers and volunteers helping out with camps.

There are many opinions online regarding the safety of tourists coming to Amed, some working from tabloid sources, such as the (blatant fear-mongering)

According to the Volcanologist Devy Kamil Syahbana from Indonesia’s volcanology center, volcanologists are working on a model that predicts a potential eruption VEI 3 compared to one of 5 in 63. (VEI= Volcanic explosivity index)Doctor Syahbana is at the Rendang post working on this every day. There are other possible projection models but so far none of them in Bali are predicting a larger eruption than 63.

To clarify, Amed was considered safe in 63, according to people who lived through it and are quite calm at the moment. ’63 was a VEI 5 eruption and the present potential is projected on the ground as being VEI 3.
No-one is pretending that a large eruption will be pretty, including outside of the redzone. There might be significant ashfall and definitely more evacuees, at least. That said we have made a decision to stay open based on various factors-

  • Talking to people who lived through the 1963 eruption, they had minimal ash in Amed area.
  • Looking at the topography of the land between the Amed coast and mount Agung, protecting us from lava and pyroclastic flows.
  • Taking into account prevailing winds in this area, winds coming due east from Agung are very rare.
  • Listening to the voices of the experts, none of whom are predicting and eruption as big as 63.

That said, if the eruption happens there is a small chance the road around Tulamben and Amlapura will be blocked, in this situation the only course of action is to wait till they are cleared or for evacuation by sea. For this reason we don’t recommend package tourists or people on a very tight schedule in and out of Bali.

We invite independent travellers to visit this beautiful area at this historic moment, when the Holy mountain is waking up. We are still freediving and are now offering free yoga and mind/body workshops.

The effects of scaremongering

The effects of scaremongering

The effects of scaremongering is a mass exodus of tourists from the Amed area, (amongst other areas) and an overall drop in tourist numbers coming to Bali.

Historically, Amed is a very poor area. In recent times it had begun to catch up economically with other areas in Bali. Many locals stopped migrating South and developed their own tourist industry.

This has been mostly financed by credit from banks. If Amed turns into a ghost town, many of these businesses will close with huge loss of livelihood and even the family land (offered as security).

There are reports that some hotels and drivers in other areas of Bali are telling guests that Amed is closed and unsafe. This is untrue.

The local authorities are monitoring the situation and following government guidelines. Amed is in the safe zone and has NOT been evacuated, the roads are not closed to and from Amed, only the evacuated zones are off limits to the public.

Balinese have been displaced from the their homes closer to Gunung Agung and the local communities are doing their best to prepare for the worst and help those in need. Many businesses are closing due to lack of guests but many are open and desperate not to let go of staff, so please correct any disinformation you hear and share this post with anyone with an interest in Amed.

Amed is beautiful, come and check it out, you can get involved with the evacuee camps and help those who are most affected by this powerful natural phenomena. Just by being here you are supporting the local economy which depends now on low impact tourism.

Be Here Now: Cancer, Samadhi and Freediving

Be Here Now: Cancer, Samadhi and Freediving

I’m old. I have cancer. I’m a yogi. And I just learned to freedive.

I just threw in the old thing because last night I learned that I’m the oldest person to complete two levels of training at Apneista. But age is just a number, so we’ll let that one go.

Two years ago, almost to the day, I was diagnosed with cancer. In the process of working that up, a second, more dangerous cancer was found. I did a full year of treatment, the usual stuff you, your friends, or your family have endured: surgery, chemotherapy. radiation. Now I’m a year into recovery, and feeling good; appreciating the gift of every day, every moment.


Yoga helped save my life. Even when I was too weak to do asana, the physical practice, I would still do other forms of yoga. Breathing practices, pranayama, helped muster and balance my energy. I set intentions, sankalpas, to guide me on my path. I did yoga nidra, sometimes called yogic sleep, for deep relaxation and rest. Every day my meditation brought me to samadhi, a place where my mind was still, free from the past or future. That carried on into my days. As Alan Watts said, I was able to “Be Here Now”, enjoying every moment no matter the circumstance.

After a year of essentially being house-bound during treatment, I started thinking about mixing things up a bit. My friend Ashley said it was a no-brainer since I loved both the ocean and yoga: come to Bali, specifically come to Amed where she taught freediving at Apneista. I’m a scuba diver since way back and I brought my scuba gear, but Ash offered a chance to sample freediving too. One dive and I never looked back.


The connections between freediving and yoga practices were emphasized during training; I’m very comfortable in the water so it all seemed natural to me, though I had problems equalizing my ears. As I am still recovering from treatment I am mildly anemic. Freediving causes the release of red blood cells as part of the mammalian dive response, and I was feeling great.

The real shift was in my mind. Freediving brought me to the same places that helped me so much with cancer. The shared emphasis on breath was natural. I learned to create an intention for each dive, perhaps to move slowly conserving energy, or maybe just enjoy the view. Relaxation was paramount, and I would sometimes find myself repeating a mantra, moving back into meditation while in the water.

Each dive brought me into the present moment, never mulling over how I could have prevented my illness, or worrying about what may lie ahead for me and my cancer. Underwater I was totally in the present moment, knowing myself, the one pointed mind. I’d look up through the blue water toward the light of the sun, a timeless view. Like meditation, freediving brought me to samadhi.

— Tom —

Frederic Lemaitre- Deep immersion into the cutting edge of freedive science.

Frederic Lemaitre- Deep immersion into the cutting edge of freedive science.

It’s been a very a long time since we’ve posted a blog, but this freediving workshop really deserves a blog.

It’s something special, a very unique mix of cutting edge apnea research, tailored coaching, freediving focused yoga and meditation, all in beautiful Amed, Bali. This course is aimed at freedivers with an understanding of the basics of Freediving Physiology and Physics, with a desire to deepen and expand perspectives, seeing where the latest research in apnea is taking us.

Frederic Lemaitre will be our guide for most of the daily coaching and freediving workshops. He’s one of the worlds leading experts on freediving science and is at the forefront of apnea research. Frederic is also a top freediving coach, working with the first generation of the 1990s French elite up to today, with the likes of Guillaume Nery.


Each day is a mix of freediving, workshops, yoga and meditation workshops with the focus very much on deepening knowledge and changing perspectives.


The first days stretching will be whole body basic stretching;
Freediving will be focused on safety protocol as developed in his research with AIDA and Free immersion diving


The first days topic will be on advanced freediving physiology where
Frederic Lemaitre will be drawing on the insights gained from over 2
decades as a top apnea researcher. Related to this topic he’ll draw from over 40 different papers published between 2000 and 2017.
The most recent paper was in 2015 comparing the trigeminocardiac reflex
(TCR) with the Mammalian dive response.
Like all the workshops there will be an opportunity to for questions and answers with Frederic.
In the evening there will be a workshop on equalization for freedivers,
focusing on the various techniques available to freedivers, frenzel,
forms of mouthfill etc.

Day 2

In the morning we’ll have some basic stretching and a yoga sequence
designed for freedivers.

The Freediving  training will focus on various exercises for
equalization and free immersion diving. The theory workshop will focus on ‘effects of freedive training’ drawing
on research from at least 8 separate papers by Frederic, from the
effects of apnea training on swimming co-ordination to the effects of packing, with a general review on freediving physiology.

The evening session will focus on 2 categories of meditation-
concentration and mindfulness

There will be some theory and some reference to the science behind these
practices, as well an an introduction to one or two practices in each

We’ll also look at how these practices can affect our freediving training.

Day 3
Breathing and stretching
The morning stretching session will focus on the primary and secondary
breathing muscles.
CWT and FI
Principles of freedive training;
This wokshop will focus on training principles and primarily reference three papers, including one that deals with free diver training as a complement to other athletic training.
Meditation workshop- contemplation and creative visualization;
This workshop will investigate 2 other categories of meditation in regards to freediving.

The first will use the power of the rational mind to create break throughs and insight. The  visualization practices will focus on harnessing the innate creative power of the mind.


Day 4
Acro- stretching
Freediving risks, blackout, decompression sickness, squeeze.
This is one of the most fascinating workshops as it draws on very interesting new research and introduces solid science based protocols for Decompression sickness, Blackouts and Squeeze. Frederic is one the people writing the guidelines for what is safe in freediving, based on science and not speculation. He is one of the lucky few who has done extensive research with the Ama divers of Japan.
Meditation- this final day will look at slightly more esoteric aspects of meditation, most specifically heart based practices.


Day 5
Stretching- routine
Homo Delphinus- comparative physiology.

A comparison between marine mammals and human mammals.
In this workshop Frederic explores what apnea training and apnea research can tell us about the human being and ways it can be used toimprove our development.

To make this accessible to poor freediving instructors we are offering the full 5 days training and workshops $400



Self hypnosis – tools for freediving training

stock hypnosisOur friend Helena ran a ´Self Hypnosis´ class recently.
After the practice she answered questions about the suitability of the practice for different desired outcomes and environments. An obvious question from one of us was about whether the practice could be utilized in the water for as a tool for freediving training, the answer was “Yes”. Self hypnosis, Helena told us, is not about being put to sleep like the popular image of ´Classical Hypnosis´. Classical Hypnosis only works on some people and the stage hypnotist has a number of assessments to find who in the audience can be influenced. Self hypnosis can be achieved by anyone and the trance state can be induced whenever convenient, and the person is completely awake for the duration. This style is called Modern Hypnosis or Ericksonian Hypnosis after Milton Erickson.
Helena is a GP and has used these techniques to help patients. She explained that in daily life we generate beta-waves (β-waves) that are very fast and notice a lot of the data around us but don’t retain it. In the trance state on which she focuses we generate alpha-waves (α-waves). These are slower and remember everything. Things done while in an alpha state are better remembered. Another form used by practitioners is the deeper trance of theta waves (θ-waves). For treating a trauma that it is not beneficial to remember the practitioner can help the patient into this deep trance. The practitioner can speak to the patient and discover a cause of trauma or a solution to a problem. Once out of the trance the patient will not remember the episode, hence not reinforcing the problem, and the solution can begin to work.
We are interested in being awake and accessing valuable resources J
Here’s the procedure:
1) Ask for a resource. (You have to really want it) And give a time frame (i.e. 2mins)

2) Pick a visual point 45° above normal line of sight.

3) Relax! (legs, back, neck and jaw and tongue)

4) Looking softly in your 45° direction acknowledge what you can see, near and far, say to yourself 5 things. Things from your direct vision and from your peripheral. Then say 5 things you can hear; loud, soft, bodily and external. Then say 5 things you can feel; temperature, discomfort, clothing, breadth.

*While you say these things your voice must be of a lower register and slower than normal*
5) Starting with 5 sights, 5 sounds, 5 sensations Then, 4 sights, 4 sounds, 4 sensations Then, 3 sights, 3 sounds, 3 sensations Then, 2 sights, 2 sounds, 2 sensations Then, 1 sight, 1 sound, 1 sensation.

By the end you will allow your eyes to close and allow the trance state to function. If the eyes close before the end of the cycle all well and good, then continue using whatever slight colours or spots of light as reference.
If the complete round of sights, sounds, sensations isn’t enough go through the cycle again. With experience the practitioner can succumb to the trance earlier, perhaps even before the first line of sights, sounds, sensations!
Deepening Techniques:

After the practice Helena showed us some deepening techniques. If, for example, you were guiding a friend through it you could count slowly down from 10 to 1 (counting up has the effect of awakening or energising). If you wanted to deepen your own trance you could observe your palm from a medium distance. As you very slowly bring the palm towards the face continue to focus softly on the lines, contours, colours, shadows, taking everything in. When the palm reaches the face and touches softly you can allow yourself into the trance.

Please let us know how you get on with this training, one of possible many supplementary tools for freediving training.