WHAT IS BREATHARIANISM? OH MY!
When we list the things humans need to survive, most of us come down to three basic requirements: food, water, and shelter. But there’s a movement that claims two of those three things are holding us back.
Some of the most extreme Breatharians claim to survive off of the life energy of the universe alone, no food or water involved. Others who believe themselves to be One With The Breath appear to drink water and snack once in a while – and somehow remain healthy.
One might wonder which of these Breath devotees are telling the truth – and which ones are projecting an image that no human could ever embody.
Is it possible to go months or years without eating or drinking?
Do Breatharians really exist?
If so, how have they managed to defy the basic scientific principles we thought we understood?
Read on to learn more about this practice and whether it actually allows people to subsist on something loftier than mere food.
What Is Breatharianism?
Breatharianism is the practice of going without food, water, or both and, instead, living from the life energy of the Universe. As the name suggests, Breatharianism uses the breath to harness this energy and nourish the body. Breatharians claim to exist only on air and sunlight, foregoing food (and sometimes water) altogether, sometimes for years at a time.
While Breatharianism is a reboot of the ancient Yogic practice, today’s New-Age Breatharianism birthed in the mid-90s, thanks in part to the work of a woman born Ellen Greve, who has since changed her name to Jasmuheen.
Our friend Jasmuheen wrote a book called Living on Light: The Source of Nourishment for the New Millennium. This book describes a twenty-one-day process that will supposedly help your body adjust to surviving only on air.
While the new-age scene has bastardized this practice, which was established by serious-ass Yogis thousands of years ago, it takes a truly Divine Master or Enlightened Being to be a totes-for-reals Breatharian.
Even Masters like Amma, who eat very little, tend to stay away from using phrases like Breatharian because it’s a dangerous practice – and it’s only meant for people who arrive at some version of Breatharianism naturally – ya know, like because of deep spiritual practices which can result in liberation – a state that is very rare.
How Does Breatharianism Work?
If breatharians aren’t getting their nourishment from food and/or water, where does it come from? Breatharians claim to fuel their body with prana, a kind of life-energy emitted by the Universe itself.
Prana is the Sanskrit word for breath. It points to the substratum and eternal substance that permeates reality throughout every level and realm, including inanimate objects. In other words, Prana is the source of all life built into all aspects of living and non-living realities.
Breatharians claim to be able to harness this energy through intense breathing exercises that connect them with this life-energy. Pranic breathing is an empowering and cleansing practice found in most yoga classes and other spiritual disciplines.
Pranic breathing is usually performed by sitting in the lotus position, breathing into your stomach and exhaling, all through the mouth or all through the nose – and sometimes only one nostril. The pace of this style of breathing is often very fast with truncated exhales. Pranic breathing can certainly feed you for a time. It can also clear emotions and help you feel more alive and rejuvenated at a core level.
There are centuries of evidence showing the benefits of breathing exercises and meditation. Meditation and breathing can allow us to connect better with our own inner life force, the Universe, other people, and our own bodies.
The challenge with Breatharianism is that proponents claim that these practices can replace food and water. While this might be true for advanced souls, chances are pretty high that Bunny McStretchypants, who teaches beer yoga at the local gym, and Trendy Taj McKrishna, who drinks his own urine at parties, are probably not real Breatharians.
Folks like these are most often hopped-up on new-age narcissism while pretending to be the real deal, when in reality, they can barely manifest enough money to pay their electric bills.
What is the Breatharianism Diet
On its face, the Breatharian diet seems simple: don’t eat food or drink water, ever. But when you dive into the practice, you’ll discover it’s much more complicated.
There are two basic steps to the breatharian diet: the initiation and the long-term plan. And there are two styles of Breatharians: crazy people who think they can do it forever and reasonable people who know they probably can’t do it for very long. Both types tend to eat once in a while – and most Breatharians drink water regularly.
Many of today’s Breatharian programs recommend starting with an initiation period of fasting. Fasting gets your body jump-started into surviving off of nourishment other than food. In some protocols, this initial fasting period, during which you drink either only some or no water and eat no or very little food, lasts seven to ten days. Other programs only require you to go three days without any nourishment.
After the initial fasting period, Breatharians recommend that you move to a liquid diet. This consists mostly of fruit and vegetable juices and broths. Some wanna-bees will drink lemon water with cayenne pepper to slowly shut down their digestive systems.
Many Breatharians say they eat every now and then, either in social situations or because they want to enjoy the sensation of eating food. However, a handful of Breatharian leaders claim to go for months or years without eating anything at all.
While this may or may not be true, it’s certainly fascinating! I have to mention here – um, please do not try this at home!
Breatharianism Doesn’t Work
Now that we know about Breatharianism and its principles, let’s get right down to the facts – it doesn’t work for 99.9999% of those who claim it as a lifestyle.
The simple truth is that the overwhelming majority of humans, aliens, and wandering spirits need food to live. More importantly, you can’t go more than a few days at a time without drinking water before your body begins to shut down.
There’s no denying that our culture often tends to overindulge in food, and many people have unhealthy relationships with food. As we’ll discuss more later, there are some potential benefits to using breathing exercises and meditation as a way to improve your relationship with food. But the basic tenet of Breatharianism – that humans can live without food and water – has no basis in fact or science, except the occasional Enlightened Master who probably doesn’t need to promote their adherence to this practice.
One of the problems with Breatharianism as a practice is that it can be very dangerous. So far, there have been five known deaths connected with Breatharian practices. The most recent death was in 2012, but the best-known was an incident in 1999 in which a woman died of dehydration and hypothermia after practicing the program described in Living on Light.
In most cases, people don’t die of starvation as a result of Breatharianism, but rather as a result of dehydration. Doctors estimate that you can only go for less than a week without water before you die of dehydration. After that point, your organs begin shutting down, your blood gets thicker, toxins build up in your body, and eventually you die. Good times!
Breatharian Leaders Eat
When you start looking closely at Breatharian leaders and the programs they claim to follow, one fact emerges: Breatharian leaders eat. They may make sweeping statements about going months or years without consuming any food. But when you start asking for details, a number of inconsistencies tend to show up.
Some Breatharian leaders admit to regularly drinking vegetable broth or fruit juice, as well as eating in social situations. Although these amounts of food may be much less than what most people consume, it’s definitely a source of nutrition other than sunlight and prana. A few Breatharian leaders have even been caught ordering in-flight meals or with whole refrigerators full of food.
The Cost of Breatharian Retreats
In addition to being physically dangerous, some might say that Breatharianism classes and retreats are outright scams. Breatharian leaders tell their followers to go long periods of time without eating or drinking, all the while they are regularly eating food. Meanwhile, they’re raking in thousands of dollars in profits from retreats and coaching fees.
Why are they making so much money? Because New-Agers are knuckleheads. They believe trends will save them from themselves. Yeah, it doesn’t work that way.
They way it works is this: chant, pray, eat healthy, forgive, accept, release – and repeat. It’s not complicated.
Many Breatharian retreats, which are designed to get you started on the fasting program, cost more than $1,000. One-on-one coaching sessions can cost $75 an hour or more, depending on who you see. The simple fact is that too many New-Age trendsetter phonies make an insanely lucrative living off of selling dangerous lies.
Using Breath for Food Control
Although the Breatharian fasting program is dangerous, there are some helpful ideas we can take from it. Many people in our society have unhealthy relationships with food, including overeating and, in many ways, being addicted to food. We have to eat food to live, but there are definite benefits to being more conscious of what we eat and how we consume it.
Mindful eating is a helpful practice that uses meditative practices to help control food intake. You may find that using breathing exercises can be a great way to curb food cravings in times when you’re trying to cut back.
Breathing can be a great way to build a healthier relationship with food, but you have to be sure you’re managing your diet in a safe, healthy way.
Do Breatharians Exist?
It would be easy to say that Breatharians do not exist. I’ve personally met a few Enlightened Masters who I never saw eat. And if you’re a real Breatharian or spiritual master, you’re probably not running around with a trendy book telling everybody to try it. Why? Because elevating ourselves through the most intense spiritual practices is f*cking painful – and not for everybody.
While most of us cannot survive on life-energy alone, breathing and meditation can build healthier relationships with food and our inner Beings.
Breathing, sunlight, food, water, movement, and forgiveness can all work together to help you to build a life that’s healthy for your body, mind, and spirit.
I am here to help you awaken and bravely create an inspired life. Learn more about my services today and start changing your life in the most positive way.
You are a beautiful Living Being filled with light and love, born from stardust. You are unlimited potential in every direction. With a focus on discipline, virtue, and your own goodness, you can become as expanded and liberated as you desire.
Pray for others and the Universe prays for us.