Aug 3, 2017
Pranayama in Moalboal
Location: Jetty, Moalboal Poblacion, Cebu, Philippines
GPS waypoint: 9°55'59.1"N 123°23'28.9"E
What is Pranayama?
Pranayama is the system of yogic breath exercise. Respiration is regulated by controlling the in-breath, the out-breath, the breath retention, and channeling the breath in either or both nostrils.
What is the Effect of Pranayama?
Breathing comes naturally to us that it is easy to dismiss Pranayama. We breathe all our lives so how could simply regulating that breath bring about so much power?
On the human body, according to ancient Indian text and treaties, by regulating respiration, one can create stillness of the mind, balance the body (if you are irritable, you'll be calmed down...if you are melancholy, you will be energized) and put the entire human system at equilibrium.
On the esoteric realm, particularly on the more advanced form of breath retention called kumbhaka, this pranayama pushes Apana up to meet Prana at Agni and generates heat to awaken the Kundalini. The Kundalini Shakti goes into the central nadi, Sushumna, and starts its way up from the Muladhara Chakra to the Sahasrara Chakra. The yogi develops psychic powers once this happens.
I haven't read this part from any Indian text, but from my own personal experience, Pranayama can also produce the Superman-Effect. You generate almost superhuman stamina and tap into a rich and seemingly unfathomable source of energy which consequently wards off disease and keeps the health optimized.
Is Pranayama Safe?
Most articles about Pranayama caution that this should only be practised with a Pranayama teacher because of its dire consequence. An analogy is presented that to the unprepared, Pranayama is like plugging a 220 volt machine to a high voltage source - it will fry the machine! Again, given my Superman-Effect experience, I personally vouch for that. That's why I've never done it again. It felt like playing with nitro-glycerin - powerful but volatile and explosive. I was lucky that my body was strong enough for my foolhardy adventurism to a half-day of pranayama. Had I been sedentary and unfit, I can't begin to imagine what would have happened to me.
But having said all that caution, I would say Pranayama is safe when done moderately at the beginner level - Ujjayi breathing, Anuloma Viloma and Kapalabhati. In fact, I include those three as an integral part of my sequence when conducting a yoga class.
When is it dangerous?
- when a beginner attempts to practise the more advanced breath-holds or the Kumbhaka
- when the beginner makes attempts in raising Apana to meet Prana at the Agni to awaken the Kundalini
- when even the basic Pranayama is done for a great length of time - e.g. half day
Having benefited immensely from Pranayama, I keep it as a lifestyle choice. With my daily 2-hour workout at the Moalboal jetty, I devote at least 20 minutes to Pranayama. With fresh and clean air from the sea, I combine asana, kumbhaka, mudra, chakra and bandha to deepen my pranayama practice. Pranayama comes after my asana/calisthenics but before meditation. The sequence is crucial.
In Padmasana, I face the water and begin my pranayama. The breathing is compliant to the yogic system of only nose breathing - long thin breath, breathing deep, slow and steady. Lungs are completely inflated on the in-breath, honoring the pause, and completely deflated lungs on the out-breath, ensuring there is no residual air left.
- Ujjayi Breath - a few rounds of long mindful breaths with a pause in between
- Anuloma Viloma - a few rounds of alternate nose breathing with a pause in between
- Anuloma Viloma with Antara Kumbhaka: (Nadi Shodan Pranayama) - after the 2 warm-up exercise, advanced breathing begins. Still on Lotus seating, the in-breath starts with the left nostril and held for as long as possible without straining. While on a breath hold, the hand is on Apana Mudra, the Moola Bandha and Jalandara Bandha are activated. The mental focus is on the Muladhara Chakra located at the base of the spine. Many things are happening here all at one time. Exhale slowly on the right nostril, empty the lungs, pause (but don't hold it) and slowly inhale to the right nostril and holding it for as long as you can...repeating the process all over again on
- Anuloma Viloma with Bahya Kumbhaka - this is similar to #3 but instead of holding the breath on the inhale, the breath is held on the exhale, completely emptying the lungs and then tucking-in the belly and pulling it up (Uddiyana Bandha)...and holding it there (Bahya Kumbhaka). Release the belly first before inhaling back on the same nostril.
- Kapalabhati - this is a forceful exhalation by using an abdominal push, similar to a sneeze.
Even though I never attempted the Superman-Effect again, I continue to practise pranayama with intensity for increased health and to complement my freediving. At my age, I am as strong as a raging locomotive - no ailment of any kind, no medication, no maintenance pill...and I can't remember the last time I've seen the doctor. Bragging aside, I've climbed the tallest peaks in the country, dived down to 18m on a single breath and white-knuckled technical single-tracks on a mountain bike. I'm ripped and my stride has the bounce of spring. That is pranayama.
What baffles me is how could something (breath regulation) so powerful, something free of charge and something so readily available and simple, be so ignored? People would rather spend an arm-and-a-leg on hyped-up supplements for something with side-effects or outright fraud!
From my humble experience, pranayama is the fountain of youth, the giver of strength, the unfathomable source of energy - and it's all free for the taking!
(Aug 5, 2017) Great read
(Aug 5, 2017) Beautiful article
Jessie Villabona Severino
(Aug 4, 2017) Pranayama is a powerful practice, even more than asana, but dangerous as well to the 'unprepared'
(Aug 3, 2017) Well explained and very appreciative of your writings on this. Personally in noticing my off breathing patterns from a while back and practising pranayama for many reasons and activities... From relaxation-anxiety stress, to mindful breathing promoting digestive and overall functions to utilizing breathing techniques inducing motivation at the gym for endurance and stamina. It's amazingly powerful and rewarding indeed.
(Aug 3, 2017) so beautifully and rightfully said. I agree
(Aug 3, 2017) Win Hof Method is also a breathing technique
Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines
Travel Tips about Moalboal
- money changer - there are 2 money changes here in Panagsama Beach - Saavedra Cottages and the small store in front of Cora's Cottages. They both offer dismal rates. Best exchange rate is at Gaisano Moalboal town center (bring an ID!!!) followed by M. Lhuillier, then Palawan
- weather - even though it might be raining cats-and-dogs in Cebu City or in Negros Oriental, the sun is likely to be out in Moalboal. It only rains there if there is an actual monsoon. So don't let that rain scare you off from your dive trip.
- tricycle - rides could end up pricey if you don't plan for it. Best to get a price established with a tricycle or motorcycle driver as you arrive (usually P50/pax for single motorcycle ride and P100/trip for a tricycle) to White Beach. Then arrange for a date/time pick-up from your resort at that same price rate (otherwise you will end up paying for a round trip)
- folding bike - if you really want to save up on tricycle fare (which could seriously add up if you keep going back and forth from Panagsama - White Beach), bring a folding bike with you. A folding bike fits in the under-belly of a Ceres bus
- Town Center to Panagsama Beach - if you want to pay the local rate (not tourist rate) of P10/pax from Town Center to Panagsama Beach, take the tricycle behind Three Sixty Pharmacy. The tricycle will wait until its full before taking off. Tell the driver you're going to "Baybay". On the way back, from Panagsama Beach to Town Center, walk a bit here and board the local tricycle. It will wait again to fill up before taking off. Best to pay the tricycle driver while awaiting for other passengers. That way, he can't charge you tourist fare when you alight.
- Town Center to White Beach - local tricycle rate is P25/pax beside Three Sixty Pharmacy. You should see tricycles with painted signboard, "White Beach". Tell the driver you're going to "Basdaku"
How to get to Moalboal from Dumaguete:
- From Dumaguete, take a bus or jeep going north and ask to be dropped-off at the Sibulan Town Proper (~P10, 10 mins). Take the short walk to the pier.
- Take either the pumpboat or fastcraft to Liloan, Cebu (~P50, 30 mins)
- From the Liloan port, take a tricycle to the Bato Bus Terminal (~P20 if shared, 10 mins)
- From the terminal, take the Cebu City bus via Barili and ask to dropped-off to Moalboal Town Proper (P70, ~2 hours)
How to get to Moalboal from Cebu City:
- take a Ceres Bus at the South Bus Terminal going to Bato (make sure its via Barili) and get off at the Moalboal Town Center - 3 hours, P130 (aircon)
- From Town Center, take a tricycle to your resort. Town Center to Panagsama Beach (~P50 if no other passenger, 10 mins).
Moalboal Blogs by TheLoneRider
- Goodbye Moalboal Sep 2, 2017
- Fitness on the Jetty Aug 18, 2017
- Freediving Pescador Island with Seaquest Dive Center Aug 13, 2017
- Life in Moalboal Aug 7, 2017
- Pranayama in Moalboal Aug 3, 2017
- Settling-in at Moalboal Poblacion July 23, 2017
- Freediving with Jean Pol Francois of Freediving-Planet July 22, 2017
- Freediving Moalboal July 10-18, 2017
- Scuba Diving through the Sardine Bowl July 17, 2017
- Bitcoin Transaction at 7 Sins Bar, Moalboal July 12, 2017
- Scuba Diving Tongo Point with SeaQuest Dive Center July 10, 2017
- Revisiting Moalboal July 10-16, 2017
- Freediving in Moalboal at Asian Belgian Resort Sep 6-7, 2015
- Beach Life and Free-Diving in Moalboal, Cebu Sep 13-23, 2012
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