“You have two options. You either get your colon removed, or you can be a guinea pig for an untested drug.”
That was what the doctor told a community pharmacist from the UK, Niraj Naik.
Niraj was suffering from an autoimmune disease called ulcerative colitis. This colon disease left him housebound for almost a year. After months of failed treatments, the doctor was now telling him to remove his colon or take an untested pharmaceutical drug.
At the age of 30, Niraj did not like the idea of possibly spending the rest of his life with a colostomy bag. On the other hand, as a pharmacist, he was aware of the high risk associated with a clinical trial of an untested drug. Both options terrified him equally.
Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Niraj spiralled into depression. He felt defeated. Little did he know that this disease would actually be the best thing that ever happened to him.
A Gift Of Desperation
In desperation, Niraj went inward. Then, in what he calls was an act of God (gift of desperation), he received the inspiration to explore a life-changing path.
The first glimpse of hope came in the form of a dear family friend, Swami Ambikananda. She said to him, “You have a gift. If you can heal yourself from this situation without needing drugs or surgery, you would be an amazing role model to other people. By going deep into your roots, studying Indian arts of Pranayama and Ayurveda, you may have a good chance to go back to full wellness.”
Her words struck Niraj hard. It pulled him out from the depths of depression and stress. He finally had a sense of hope.
Niraj was willing to give it a go. However, he was also very sceptical. As someone who was medically trained and had spent years in a career as a community pharmacist, Niraj tends to lean towards science and logic. So he made a pact with himself.
He decided to suspend his doubts and really dive into this alternative route of healing modalities. And if he is healed from the autoimmune disease, he would make it his mission to find the scientific reasons and proof of why and how it works. Then, he will spread what he has learned as far and wide as possible.
An Entirely New Perspective
Niraj’s journey began with learning ancient Pranayama, which literally translates to “energy control”. He then dove deep into studying Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine that takes a holistic mind-body approach to wellness as treats food as medicine.
Through Ayurveda, he came to understand that disease is the result of an energetic disturbance that can result from a combination of environmental factors such as diet, lifestyle, and emotional baggage. These energetic disturbances affect your immune system’s ability to heal itself. Over time, this can lead to various autoimmune diseases.
This gave Niraj an entirely new way to view his autoimmune disease. This approach addressed the root cause while his pharmaceutical training only looked at how to treat symptoms. He realised that to support his body’s healing, he had to go deep and change the energy within his body. This is where he began to understand why Pranayama breathing techniques are such a powerful tool.
He also dove deep into scientific research and found numerous studies on why certain Pranayama techniques can influence the physiology for healing and heightened states of consciousness. Eager to see if it could work for him, Niraj began practicing breathwork combined with meditation. Fast forward a few months later, Niraj had significantly reduced the symptoms of the colitis and surgery was out of the question.
The doctor who treated him coined it as a medical mystery, but Niraj knew what was really going on. He also knew what he had to do next.
Transforming Lives One Breath at a Time
Using his personal experience and research, Niraj formed the curriculum of SOMA Breath and launched it as a global school empowering people to take charge of their own healing through breathwork.
As a passionate musician who has had experience deejaying at music festivals, Niraj used his creative side to add a modern twist to ancient breathwork. He specially crafted his own EDM-like music tracks that sync brainwaves to peak states of meditation. By combining this ecstatic music with dance, breathwork, and meditation, SOMA Breath quickly became known as the dynamic and fun way to quickly achieve the benefits of meditation and overall wellness.
Today, SOMA Breath is a global tribe of thousands of breathwork practitioners and over 700 breathwork instructors who have all benefited from the mental, emotional, and physical healing benefits of breathwork. Niraj has even launched a SOMA Breath Master Certification that certifies instructors around the world to teach SOMA Breath so anyone can empower their local communities to achieve wellness and create greater impact together.