Yoga and the Defence Services

From Bhakti Yoga Sagar Volume 6 by Swami Satyananda Saraswati

We have a good relationship with our army personnel. Our sannyasins have been to Siachen, Leh, and trained the army personnel there. The Siachen glacier is twenty-five thousand feet above sea level. Breathing problems and heart trouble happen at around eighteen thousand feet. Many people experience this at Badrinath.

At twenty-five thousand feet the army personnel carry heavy guns and a pack weighing up to twenty-five kilos while climbing the hills. Due to the high altitude, they also need oxygen cylinders. My view is that the units which go to high altitudes, sixteen or eighteen thousand feet above sea level, should practise more pranayama. They should practise bhastrika and kapalbhati for about an hour. If they can do that, they will have no difficulty in performing at high altitudes.

We have also trained members of the armed forces in the desert, and we are going to have a permanent yoga unit in the Desert Deployment Centre in Rajasthan.

—5 December 1999, Rikhiapeeth