Pranayama, yoga for fitness

Pranayama, yoga for fitness

The Swiss adventurer duo that flies the solar-power-driven aircraft Solar Impulse, which is slated to land at Ahmedabad, stay fit and focused using the traditional Indian breathing technique Pranayama, blindfolded yoga and hypnosis.

Swiss explorers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg took off from Abu Dhabi in their unique aircraft on Monday in an attempt to circumnavigate the globe in the world's first solar-powered aircraft.

After a stopover at Oman, the plane is expected to touch down in Gujarat's capital on Tuesday night, where it will stay for a few days. Its next stop is Varanasi.

The global tour includes crossing the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in five-day flights. For such a long haul, Borschberg prepares himself with yogic techniques whereas Piccard takes recourse to self-hypnosis.

“I trained in hypnosis and self-hypnosis in 1992 in anticipation of the first transatlantic balloon race, which includes spending five days and five nights on the Atlantic in a tiny capsule. I will use all these techniques when flying the Solar Impulse,” Piccard had told Deccan Herald last October at the aircraft's hanger at Payerne in Switzerland.

The explorer made his first round-the-world non-stop balloon flight in 1999. Interestingly, he comes from a family of adventurers: His father Jacques Piccard was an undersea explorer and grandfather Auguste Piccard a balloonist, besides being the inspiration for the character Professor Cuthbert Calculus in Herge's “Tintin” comics.

“The first training took place in a simulator. I clocked 86 hours of (flying) activity with periods of 20 minutes of hypnosis or polyphasic sleep a dozen times a day. I could even drive my car for two and a half hours at the end of the simulation tests,” he said.

“Human endurance is the only limiting factor as the pilot cannot fly at a stretch for more than 120 hours,” said Piccard.

His flying partner, Borschberg, uses yoga to stay fit and calm. “Andre has been practising yoga for more than 10 years now with his Indian trainer, yoga-master Sanjeev Kumar Bhanot,” said Solar Impulse team spokesperson Claudia Durgnat. The duo takes turns to fly the aircraft.

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