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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Hanumanthappa Survival - Yoga Plays a Role.

Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad's miraculous survival in an avalanche in Siachin glacier is the talk of the nation these days. He was trapped under thirty five feet of snow in -45°Celsius temperature for five days when an avalanche hit an Indian Army post in Siachen at an altitude of 19,600 feet. He battled high altitude pulmonary and cerebral oedema which basically means accumulation of fluid in lungs and brain. He also suffered from hypothermia which is the loss of body heat and leads to frost bite. He also faced lack of oxygen known as hypoxia.

The remarkable thing about him is not that he survived but the fact that he was in command of his abilities throughout and neither lost hope nor clear thinking. He was acutely conscious of the need to draw attention to himself so he kept making noise by banging together some gear in the tent that he was trapped in.

Imagine being trapped in pitch darkness with nothing but snow all around you. Imagine too losing all sense of up, down right or left. Most of us feel claustrophobia when stranded in a lift but this remarkable man kept his cool and did not panic.

Not many people know that Hanumanthappa was a Yoga instructor in the army and it was this that helped him a great deal. By daily practice of Yoga the body becomes strong and the mind becomes stable and rooted to reality. Yoga also helps a person to master his breath. Although the pocket of air that was trapped around him was big it was not limitless and certainly did not have oxygen for five days. It is quite likely that control of breath and meditation kept his mind and body strong. It must be remembered that statistically his chances of survival were zero.

Extreme cold and altitude have caused medical problems in his lungs and brain. He is battling for life in the best army facility in India in New Delhi. The prayers of the whole nation are with him and they cannot fail. The final decision however is in the hands of God.  All I can say to Hanumanthappa is “Bravo, very well done. You are in inspiration to millions who fight their daily battles against their problems.”

Rajiv Sethi
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