FitnessBy Hikaru Bruntland
Prana, Don’t Leave Home Without It
After leaving the concrete jungle of Tokyo, I was preparing to board a ninety minute speed boat ride back to the Thai mainland from Koh Samui, a perfect little jewel of an island. I had enjoyed sea-kayaking adventures, my first experience snorkeling and the breathtaking beauty of the various fish playing below the water’s surface. It was time for our departure, but the weather was continuously changing.
Aboard the 30-person boat that was at capacity, the waves were pounding over the side sending spray through the spaces in the fabric roof. Suddenly a cold wind blew over the bow, bringing chills and shivers. My gaze turned to the floor, and I began to feel sick, recognizing full well how small my existence was in the open seas. Just as I was beginning to stiffen up, I heard a small whisper, “How is your breathing?” it asked.
Thanks to my inner voice, I was able to concentrate on breathing in through my nose, taking the breath into my stomach, chest and clavicles, and then breathing out through the same motion. This method, referred to properly as “full yogic breathing,” concentrates the body on taking slow, deep breaths, which gradually release tension.
Feeling returned to my hands and feet, my gaze turned from the horizon to the clouds, and my sickness began to disappear – enough so, that I began to think, “Perhaps this wild ride isn’t so bad.”
Unfortunately, this sense of peace wasn’t lasting, and I fell back into my former state. In the end, the boat ride turned into a “super intensive Pranayama workshop,” where breathing brings oxygen and prana (vital force) to one’s mind and body. It’s the kind of portable “miracle drug” you can take with you anywhere, and I highly recommend it for when your boat really starts shaking.
Prana Breathing: www.abc-of-yoga.com/pranayama/prana.asp