Living on Light: My 8-day Pranic Breatharian Retreat Experience
Modern life can be stressful. Our physical and mental well-being is constantly being bombarded by the environment around us. Sometimes the effect is so profound it can’t be ignored, and other times it’s a constant, more subtle, low grade impact, that we don’t even notice is affecting us. It can become such a habitual way of being, that we don’t even realize the negative impact it is having on us. Constant stress from work fueled by short deadlines and long hours wreaks havoc on your body. And these frequently go hand in hand with a poor diet as well – too much caffeine and less than ideal food habits. It can often feel like we are permanently reacting to life’s circumstances and never getting ahead enough to actually create our life in the way we truly want it to be.
If 2015 was a year where you were adversely affected by this type of lifestyle you might consider taking a step back and taking stock of your life and well-being. If you’ve ignored your body’s cry for help while you’ve been busy trying to catch up with your life, this is something to consider.
2016 could be different. What if you could take a step back and observe your life from a different perspective? What if you could discover how to take control of your life and your body by aligning yourself better with the natural rhythm of the universe? What if you could connect with your innate inner power to unlock your true potential and dramatically improve your life?
At the end of October last year I went on just such a discovery. In fact this was the second time I had done this retreat, since the first time was so powerfully transformative and life-changing. I have had so many people ask me about it, that I thought I should put it out there to share with a wider audience. I attended the 8-Day Process retreat led by breatharian teacher and expert Akahi Salas, and hosted by my dear friend Dr. Edith-Ubuntu Chan from The School of Dan Tian Wellness. The retreat was held at the breath-taking Sonoma Mountain Zen Center near Glen Ellen, in beautiful Northern California.
Prana and the Pranic Breatharian Process Explained
Prana is the Sanskrit word for “life force” or “life energy” and refers to the cosmic energy found throughout the environment that’s surrounding us. The program is designed to activate your body’s innate ability to nourish itself from breath and the prana in the environment. While it is little-understood, modern science has shown that our bodies do possess an ability to access an energy to nourish ourselves that doesn’t come from food. Studies have measured calories consumed and calories expended and found there is often a large deficit between the two. Let me give you some real-world examples that might be more relatable. Have you ever fallen in love and noticed that all of the sudden you don’t need as much food or sleep? Or how do parents with newborns survive on so little sleep? How did Jesus go without food for 40 days? In a very real, concrete way this is the energy of love. It’s not some new age “woo-woo” idea. And this is the type of energy we are talking about activating. And we don’t have to be Jesus to do it. We all have this capacity.
The 8-Day Process is an opportunity to step back from the constant distractions of modern life, and tune into, and connect with this infinite field of energy or prana that is all around us. When we do this, the benefits can be incredible. Increased energy, greater mental focus and clarity, a feeling of lightness and ease in the physical body and emotions are just some of what I experienced. Additionally, I witnessed tremendous healing in many of the other participants. With the 8-Day Process, you upgrade your base operating system to one that just generally involves more ease, peace, joy, love, and happiness!
The schedule of the retreat was very spacious and allowed for ample time to relax and reflect. A big part of the program is abstaining from food, and even liquids for a significant period of time. This allows our digestive process to rest, and our bodies to begin to search for energy from alternative sources, like breath. It also allows our bodies to cleanse and detoxify on both a physical and emotional level.
Here is an outline of the recommended intake of food & drink:
Day 1: The first day we could drink water, fresh raw juices and herbal tea. We could also eat fruit in quantities of our choosing.
Day 2: On day two we’ve cut out fruit, and just drank liquids: water, juice and herbal tea. We could drink as much as we wanted.
Day 3-5: These three days were dry fasting days. Water was off-limits as well.
Day 6: We broke the fast on day six with water, herbal tea or diluted juice (80 percent water to 20 percent juice).
Day 7-8: We were back to just liquids as in day 2. Juices were still watered down, but less so.
I know what you’re thinking: it sounds extreme. And I guess on some level it is. But when you are there doing it in such a beautiful and supportive environment, it happens very organically, and is actually quite easy, amazingly. And it’s only a recommendation. It’s never about forcing anything and depriving yourself of sustenance.
Each day we had two group breath-work sessions, one in the morning and one in the evening. In between we could do as we pleased. Akahi would end every session with the words: “Take your time. There is a lot of time, and nothing to do.” This primed us all for a level of “chilling out” that most of us hadn’t experienced since childhood. It was such an amazing feeling to just BE. Not do anything. Just hang out and do whatever felt good. Naps, walks on the grounds of the beautiful Sonoma Mountain Zen Center, deep heart-felt conversations with my fellow participants, etc. There were definitely some ups and downs in mood and some physical discomfort as the body cleansed itself of stress, emotions and toxins accumulated through modern living. But by the end of the retreat, the overall mood of everyone was one of excitement, enthusiasm and joy.
What the Retreat Did for Me
Retreats can be powerfully transformative experiences. This one was especially so. The 8 Day Process taught me that we are limited by our beliefs, and actually have immense potential and capacities beyond what modern science teaches us. Modern science insists that going without water for more than 72 hours causes kidney failure. I now know from personal experience that this is simply not true. How many other supposed “truths” out there are simply not true? It’s not so much about abstaining from food, but rather about challenging our beliefs of what is possible, and waking up our innate dormant abilities to live from different energy sources, expand our human potential, and discover a more easeful, joyful way of being.
I’m definitely not ready to give up food just yet. (Although I now believe that it is totally possible. Incidentally there is a wonderful documentary exploring this topic further called In the Beginning There Was Light. see link below) I still like food too much, although I will say that since the retreat, I eat a lot less, and I have much more energy. I just generally feel lighter and better on all levels. My mental focus is better, and I no longer have the blood sugar ups and downs where I’d get cranky if I didn’t eat within a certain number of hours. I guess you could say my appetite is versatile. It is a freedom around food that is truly liberating! And perhaps more important, there is a greater sense of ease and joy that permeates my life. Sure I still get stressed and have my ups and downs, but I get back to a place of joy and flow much more quickly.
Humans are evolving at a rapid pace, and it’s time to take charge of our lives. If you don’t have the energy to get through the day, or you’re haunted by constant physical or emotional pain and discomfort, or if your relationship with food is challenged, it’s clearly time for a change. Expand your horizons and try out new things; maybe the 8 Day Process is something to consider, or perhaps something a little less extreme. Whatever you do, quiet your mind and look within to find what resonates with you.
I thought I’d add a couple pictures of the results from my energy assessments that we did both before and after the 8-Day Process. These were done using a BioWell device that employs Gas Discharge Visualization, a new technology that enables the measurement of the bio-energy emitted by the human body. The results are pretty dramatic!