Meditation led by coach helped boys survive terrifying ordeal, family say
The 12 Thai boys and their football coach who were trapped in a cave in Thailand for more than two weeks, got through the ordeal by practising meditation, family members have said.
“Look at how calm they were sitting there waiting. No one was crying or anything. It was astonishing,” a mother of one of the boys said.
The coach who was rescued from the cave on Tuesday, trained as a Buddhist monk for 12 years before he decided to coach the Wild Boars soccer team.
He could meditate up to an hour. It has definitely helped him and probably helps the boys to stay calm.
Dripping water, birthday snacks and meditation all helped keep the team alive until divers eventually reached them.
The team originally entered the cave complex when celebrating one of the boy's birthdays. The other boys reportedly banded together to buy snacks for his birthday, and it is thought these snacks helped sustain them after getting trapped in the caves.
Their coach, Ekapol Chantawong, reportedly refused to eat any of this food so the boys would have more for themselves, leaving him the weakest when divers eventually found the team on 2 July.
The team had to handle the total darkness of the cave, without any awareness of time or of the massive search efforts to find them.
The efforts of their coach, nicknamed Ake, may have been instrumental in keeping them calm.
Formerly a Buddhist monk before turning to football, Ake taught the boys meditation to help them handle the stress. He used these meditation techniques to calm the boys, but also to make sure they used "as little air as possible" in the cave.