Breatharianism

A controversial belief system advocating living without food or water, claiming sustenance from prana or life energy alone.


Breatharianism, also known as inedia, posits a lifestyle wherein followers claim to live on prana or the vital life force, rather than consuming food or water. This concept, drawing on Hindu philosophy, suggests that such a practice can lead to a range of benefits including improved health, happiness, and energy levels. Proponents argue that it could even address global issues like world hunger by reducing dependence on food resources​​.

The origins of Breatharianism can be traced back to ancient practices among Tibetan monks and has been part of human spiritual endeavors for centuries. However, it gained modern prominence in the 1980s through figures like Wiley Brooks, who founded the Breatharian Institute of America. Brooks advocated for a lifestyle that supposedly allowed for physical sustenance without food, under certain conditions​​.

Practitioners like Jasmuheen (Ellen Greve), who emerged as a prominent figure in the 1990s, and others such as Akahi Ricardo and Camila Castillo, promote Breatharianism through workshops and retreats. They claim to live on minimal to no food, arguing that it enhances their physical and spiritual well-being. Some even assert remarkable feats, like going through pregnancy with minimal consumption of food, suggesting that pranic nourishment can sustain health and life​​​​.

Despite these claims, Breatharianism has faced significant criticism from the scientific and medical communities. There have been reported cases of harm and even fatalities among those attempting to follow these extreme fasting protocols. Critics argue that the human body requires food and water to function, and that prolonged fasting can lead to severe health complications or death. Instances of prominent Breatharians being caught consuming food have also raised questions about the authenticity of their claims​​​​.

Breatharianism intersects with several beliefs and practices, from ancient yogic traditions to modern New Age movements. It shares the notion of a universal life force present in various spiritual and religious traditions worldwide. However, it uniquely advocates for physical sustenance from this energy alone, a claim that remains highly controversial and scientifically disputed​​.

The allure of Breatharianism to its followers can be attributed to the promise of spiritual enlightenment and liberation from material needs. Yet, the risks associated with its practice, alongside the skepticism and evidence of its potential dangers, underscore the critical need for caution and discernment in approaching such extreme lifestyle choices​​.

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