The Art of Living Foundation Partners with International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to Conduct SKY Breath Meditation for its Employees to Provide Stress Relief and Boost Mental Well-being

Front Line Aid Workers and Volunteers Responding to COVID-19 Benefit from Evidence-based Meditation that Energizes, Brings Joy and Reduces Burnout

Washington, D.C., June 1, 2021 — To empower employees supporting various life-saving initiatives, including the response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Art of Living Foundation offered its flagship SKY Breath Meditation program to employees of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). This program allows IFRC global staff to have access to a powerful evidence-based breath-work and meditation tool that will bolster their mental and physical well-being.

The SKY Breath Meditation program is made available in six languages to employees of IFRC worldwide. Armed with a new training module that teaches how to manage mind and emotions, the aid workers will be able to support and sustain their efforts in contributing to their local communities with greater energy and enthusiasm.

95% of participants found the workshop to be valuable and said that they would recommend it to their colleagues. “I am so happy after this workshop and finally got time to invest in my well-being.”

“I feel really calm, settled, focused and grounded, and I am really inspired by a simple, practical approach that feels like it immediately works.”

In addition to 91% of participants who agreed that they felt calmer after the workshop, participants also reported a marked improvement in the quality of their sleep.

“Taking care of our mind is an utmost priority during the current times. Before we manage our external world, we need to manage our inner world and we are truly delighted to join hands with IFRC, which exemplifies service and inspiration to all,” said Rob Trombold, President of Art of Living Foundation USA. “Our program will help the health workers become centered, stable and strong mentally and emotionally as they continue to protect and serve their local communities.”

Jagan Chapagain, IFRC Secretary General said: “

Over the past year, our volunteers and staff have been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and other concurrent disasters. This work can take a huge toll both physically and emotionally. The Sky Breath meditation program has provided them with the tools to relieve their stress and anxiety so that they can continue their important work.”

The SKY Breath Meditation Program, previously known as the Happiness Program, has been taught to millions across the world. Since March 2020, many health workers around the world have experienced relief from the online program.

Over 70 independent studies have demonstrated a range of scientific benefits from practicing the breathing exercises taught on the SKY Breath Meditation workshop. Research has shown the practices decrease anxiety, reduce the stress hormone cortisol by over 50%, improve immune cell counts within as little as three weeks, and improve time spent in deep sleep three-fold.

About the Art of Living Foundation

AOLF aims to create a stress-free and violence-free society through fostering individual well-being and societal development. Founded in 1981 and present in 156 countries, it’s programs have touched over 400 million lives.

www.artofliving.orgTwitterFacebookYouTube

About IFRC

IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world.

www.ifrc.orgFacebookTwitterYouTube

Media Contact

Art of Living Foundation
Kushal Choksi
Phone: 917.836.2819
Email: kushal.choksi@artofliving.org

Benefit Concert for To India with Love Campaign May 23rd 2021

Washington DC, May 20th, 2021

As the COVID-19 crisis raging in India sets record death tolls, the world watches from afar.  #ToIndiaWithLove will be a week-long impact campaign ending with a benefit concert, sending a message of hope and solidarity with the people of India during this incredibly trying time. IAHV in partnership with Art of Living is driving an effort to supply critical equipment for those in need. These organizations have so far raised $1.5 million out of their $2.5 million target fund raise. The event will be a fundraiser to support their network of 10,000s of volunteers on the ground in India, so they can get supplies to high-need communities, establish COVID care centers and provide and mental health programs during this challenging time around the country.

IAHV is hosting a benefit concert May 23rd at 3pm ET. Confirmed artists include: Will.I.Am, Black Eyed Peas, Krishna Das, Ari Afsar, Jennifer Lee Snowden, Ali Stone, Cozmic, Raye Zaragoza, Deva Premal & Miten, MC Yogi, with more to be announced. The event with finish with special guided meditation with global spiritual leader Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The event will also include conversations with field leaders working tirelessly on the ground to grapple with oxygen and medical supply shortages, and to address the challenges daily wage workers are facing during the lockdowns. The event will be hosted by actress Fagun Thakrar and social entrepreneur Johann Berlin and produced by We & Goliath. All the artists and organizers are donating their time.

The organizers are asking people across the globe to send #ToIndiaWithLove messages, poems, songs, and words of inspiration to India during the crisis, many of which will be featured in the event and/or website.

“We have been so inspired by the compassionate response to our efforts so far. We hope this campaign and event can help spread hope, bring awareness about the situation in India, and raise funds for much-needed support,” shares Madhu Kadari from International Association for Human Values.

“India has given so much to the world – including arts and culture, ancient sciences, yoga & meditation and so many technological innovations. Now is a time for the world to stand with India in her moment of need,” says Fagun Thakrar, co -host.

“Even though the challenges in India are exponential, so is our capacity for kindness, generosity, and spreading hope. Now is a moment where we can all show our support and stand with India and the Indian Diaspora in a time of need,” says Johann Berlin, co-host

In addition to the thousands of messages of hope and inspiration generated from the campaign, the proceeds raised will go to the International National Association for Human Values for projects the ground – providing beds, oxygen supplies, food, and mental health services.

About IAHV: IAHV is a 501(c)3 organization that serves as a global platform for humanitarian initiatives that solve problems by uplifting human values. For 35 years, IAHV, in partnership with Art of Living, has mobilized its global volunteer networks to provide humanitarian and disaster relief through immediate material aid and services, trauma relief, and sustainable community development. IAHV has a strong reputation in India and around the world and sits on the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Website: https://toindiawithlove.iahv.org Email: CSR@iahv.org

 

 

Stand With Beirut

On Tuesday August 4th, Beirut witnessed a massive explosion. Beirut’s iconic business district was destroyed. The explosion was so big and wide it reached cities nearby. Many of those cities around Beirut are destroyed. Buildings collapsed, windows and doors of most homes came out. As per official figures, 157 are dead, hundreds still missing, at least 4000 injured while 400,000 have been displaced and became homeless. The tragedy is so big people are in complete shock.

IAHV Lebanon will be providing the much needed trauma relief workshops to help people ease the weight of the tragedy, in addition to immediate supplies.

 

Freedom From Within

presents

FREEDOM FROM WITHIN


Incarcerated Women Photo & Video Premier |
Special Online Event

Thursday, August 13  | 4:00pm – 5:00pm ET

Please join us for an incredible hour of experiences from
incarcerated women and breathing meditation techniques.

 

 

To improve students’ mental health, Yale study finds, teach them to breathe

When college students learn specific techniques for managing stress and anxiety, their well-being improves across a range of measures and leads to better mental health, a new Yale study finds.

The research team evaluated three classroom-based wellness training programs that incorporate breathing and emotional intelligence strategies, finding that two led to improvements in aspects of well-being. The most effective program led to improvements in six areas, including depression and social connectedness.

The researchers, who reported findings in the July 15 edition of Frontiers in Psychiatry, said such resiliency training programs could be a valuable tool for addressing the mental health crisis on university campuses.

In addition to academic skills, we need to teach students how to live a balanced life,” said Emma Seppälä, lead author and faculty director of the Women’s Leadership Program at Yale School of Management. “Student mental health has been on the decline over the last 10 years, and with the pandemic and racial tensions, things have only gotten worse.”

Researchers at the Yale Child Study Center and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence (YCEI) conducted the study, which tested three skill-building training programs on 135 undergraduate subjects for eight weeks (30 hours total), and measured results against those of a non-intervention control group.

They found that a training program called SKY Campus Happiness, developed by the Art of Living Foundation, which relies on a breathing technique called SKY Breath Meditation, yoga postures, social connection, and service activities, was most beneficial. Following the SKY sessions, students reported improvements in six areas of well-being: depression, stress, mental health, mindfulness, positive affect, and social connectedness.

A second program called Foundations of Emotional Intelligence, developed by the YCEI, resulted in one improvement: greater mindfulness — the ability for students to be present and enjoy the moment.

A third program called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, which relies heavily on mindfulness techniques, resulted in no reported improvements.

In all, 135 Yale undergraduate students participated in the study.

Across college campuses, there has been a significant rise in student depression, anxiety, and demand for mental health services. From 2009 to 2014, students seeking treatment from campus counseling centers rose by 30%, though enrollment increased by just 6% on average. Fifty-seven percent of counseling center directors indicated that their resources are insufficient to meet students’ needs.

The researchers say resiliency training tools can address the overburdening of campus counseling centers directly. In the sessions. “Students learn tools they can use for the rest of their lives to continue to improve and maintain their mental health,” said co-first author Christina Bradley ’16 B.S., currently a Ph.D. student at University of Michigan.

Researchers administered the training sessions in person, but the courses can also be taken remotely.

Continually adding staff to counseling and psychiatric services to meet demand is not financially sustainable — and universities are realizing this,” Seppälä said. “Evidence-based resiliency programs can help students help themselves.”

Davornne Lindo ’22 B.A., a member of the Yale track team who participated in the SKY Campus Happiness program, said practicing breathing techniques helped her to manage stress from both academics and athletics. “Now that I have these techniques to help me, I would say that my mentality is a lot healthier,” Lindo said. “I can devote time to studying and not melting down. Races have gone better. Times are dropping.”

Another participant in the SKY program, Anna Wilkinson ’22 B.A., said she was not familiar with the positive benefits of breathing exercises before the training, but now uses the technique regularly. “I didn’t realize how much of it was physiology, how you control the things inside you with breathing,” Wilkinson said. “I come out of breathing and meditation as a happier, more balanced person, which is something I did not expect at all.”

The research was funded in part by an anonymous donor to the YCEI and with the support of Yale Well, a group of students, faculty, and staff convened by Secretary and Vice President for Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews to increase student wellness at Yale. Additional researchers include Dhruv Nandamudi, Julia Moeller, Leilah Harouni, and Marc A. Brackett, founder and director of the YCEI.

IAHV Statement on Mental Health Awareness Month

MAY 2020 WASHINGTON DC:

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) and the Art of Living Foundation are  committed to joining communities and organizations across the country to raise awareness about the millions of Americans affected with mental ailments. It is not only important to raise awareness on mental health but also proactively work towards mental well-being of individuals and communities.

Roughly 1 in 5 U.S. adults, nearly 47.6 million people, experience serious mental illness each year. [1] Added to that, more than 50 percent of Americans will manage a mental health condition at some point in their lives. These statistics were gathered pre-COVID-19. Given the nature of the pandemic the importance of addressing mental health is more significant than ever before.

A poll just released in April by the Kaiser Foundation shows that about half of adults feel the pandemic is impacting their mental health. Almost one in five says it’s been a major impact. With social distancing and increased levels of isolation it becomes paramount to address ways to mitigate the negative impacts of stress and anxiety.

IAHV works around the world with the most vulnerable sections of society to build community resilience by offering breath-based workshops to reduce mental stress, anxiety and trauma. The courses have benefitted refugees, survivors of violence, war veterans and those navigating stresses of everyday life. In fact, the founder of the organization, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is hosting daily online meditation sessions https://www.youtube.com/srisri  across social media channels to help reduce stress of people around the globe. Millions around the world join these sessions every day to help navigate the uncertainties in the world outside by finding peace within.

If this crisis has taught us one thing it is that we are all connected. We are in this together and we will get through this together. By caring and working together, we can bring about a positive wave. We can shift the social stigma that prohibit people from getting appropriate care. We can work towards a nation and world where people prioritize mental health well-being to fulfil their highest potential.

Daily online meditations can be accessed across:
YouTube: youtube.com/srisri
Instagram: @srisriravishankar
Facebook: @SriSriRaviShankar

Inaugural Mental Health and Fitness Summit Aims to Disrupt America’s Mental Health Crisis by Bringing Together Innovative Experts : July 22-25, 2019, Denver, CO

Summit will feature change makers from the healthcare, government and humanitarian fields in an effort to adopt concrete solutions to improve early intervention, treatment and stigmatization of mental health

 

Denver, CO — (May 8, 2019)

 

More than 46 million Americans (1 in 5) suffer from mental illness every given year – causing tremendous suffering to those impacted and their families and costing the US almost 200 billion dollars a year. 

 

The International Association of Human Values (IAHV) and its founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar will host its Inaugural National Summit on Mental Health and Fitness in Denver, CO on July 22-25, 2019. The event aims to disrupt outdated approaches to Mental Health by bringing in experts and change makers to share their unique vision and expertise with the goal of producing an integrated mental health model that focuses on the whole person.

American Author, Writer, and Activist and the Presidential candidate for 2020, Marianne Williamson will be opening the conference. Expert speakers at the Summit include Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, celebrated humanitarian and peacemaker; Tim Ryan, Congressman and Presidential candidate OH-13; Dr Nata Menabde, Executive Director, World Health Organization Office at the United Nations; Bill Milliken, Founder & Vice Chairman, Communities in Schools; Barbara Van Dahlen, Founder & President of Give an Hour Psychologist; and Emma Seppala, Science Director, Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.

The Summit aims to bring together experts with varied expertise from diverse fields to build a holistic approach for faster interventions, lower cost treatments and efficient ways to curb violence and crimes through mental health prevention. Experts will discuss and present integrated strategies that enhance positive emotions, life satisfaction and spirituality while addressing biological, cultural and economic approaches to treating mental health.

“Not being in touch with your inner being is one of the main reasons for mental health instability. When one is not able to effectively manage their emotions and thoughts, then they are also inhibited in their communication. Lack of proper communication causes all sorts of problems – for individuals and societies alike – leading to stress and trauma that impacts mental health. This summit will bring people together to learn meditation, calm their minds, and make one feel happy from within.” says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Attendees at this year’s Summit will hail from multiple professions, backgrounds and parts of the world, providing for unique networking opportunities to be a part of a founding movement that changes the way we think about and manage mental illness in our communities.

 

The Summit will conclude on July 24th with the largest meditation event in U.S. history America Meditates, in Denver’s City Park, will bring together community, raising awareness and inspiring the public to stand together for better mental well-being. On July 25th there will be a policy making lunch and round table by application for the changemakers in their organizations. Sam Beard and Bill Milliken will be putting the collective wisdom into new policy initiatives.

Corporate sponsorships are also available for this unique event. For those interested, please contact Sajni at 720-722-2653. Tickets for the event can be purchased here.

PR Contact: KristinAnn Janishefski, The Vanguard PR on Behalf of IAHV 310-560-6258

About IAHV:

IAHV offers programs to reduce stress and develop leaders so that human values can flourish in people and communities. We foster the daily practice of human values – a sense of connectedness and respect for all people and the natural environment, an attitude of non-violence, and an ethic of social service. Our programs enhance clarity of mind, shift attitudes and behaviors, and develop leaders and communities that are resilient, responsible, and inspired.

 

About Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Sri Sri is a humanitarian, teacher and peacemaker. He founded global non-profits the Art of Living and the International Association for Human Values – two of the largest volunteer-run non-profits in the world – to help relieve stress and trauma, teach human values, and increase happiness. He has created trauma-relief and meditation programs for at-risk youth, war veterans, prisoners and survivors of disaster. He is also engaged in peace-making efforts internationally and in war-torn areas like Colombia and Iraq. 18 universities have awarded him with honorary doctorates for his peace-keeping efforts. In addition, he has also received 38 governmental awards. In the United States, he has received the International Humanitarian Award from the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the award for Inspiring Humanity from the Foundation for California. He has been an invited speaker at institutions like the United Nations, the European Parliament, the World Economic Forum, and the Israeli Presidential Conference, as well as top universities like Stanford University, The Wharton School, and the University of Southern California. In addition, he has spoken at conferences like TED. He has been featured on CNN and The New York Times, has written over 40 books and contributes to The Huffington Post. Scientific research on his programs has shown that they significantly decrease anxiety, stress and depression while making people feel happier and more optimistic.

Kerala Flood Rescue, Relief and Rehabilitation Efforts

While those on ground zero strive on, you can lend them a helping hand, no matter where you are…
RESCUE  |  RELIEF  |   REHABILITATION  

Relief material from IAHV/Art of Living headquarters in Bangalore, heading to Kerala


The Extent of damage…

IAHV and The Art of Living Foundation volunteers have been on the ground helping with relief efforts in Kerala this past month. We have been receiving updates from them on progress being made. As you know more than 50% of the Kerala map has been affected by floods. With heavy rainfall this monsoon season, flooding and landslides are a continuous threat. Transportation and communication is yet to be streamlined. More than 200,000 families have taken refuge at relief camps across the state. The Government states the damage is more than $2 billion.
Thousands of Art of Living volunteers have come to the respite of the flood victims, saving them from the mishap systematically with Rescue, Relief and Rehabilitation efforts.
 
We are grateful to our donors for their support to IAHV’s flood relief efforts.  We seek your continued support in reaching our target to raise $500,000. Many employers match your contributions to IAHV, please contact your employer. 
 
Please donate generously!

Handling Rescue operations…
More than 1,650 flood victims across the state have been rescued by the volunteers of the Art of Living.
 
The HAM radio support system setup via the collectorate offices operated by our volunteers had received more than 15,000 rescue calls that had been routed to the support stations across the state.

Offering timely Relief …
Relief materials of about 520+ tons have been sent via container trucks and other modes of transportation to several of the afflicted zones in Kerala. More on the way.  Additionally continued free medical care, distribution of home kits, clearing transportation pathways, cleaning of homes and institutions are in progress. 
Here is a short summary on supporting relief materials amounting to roughly about $1.35 million. 
Kerala Flood Relief facts and figures


Executing planned Rehabilitation… 

When it comes to disaster relief, it is equally important to bring back life to normalcy and setting up a system of sustenance for the evacuated victims and sheltered families in Kerala.

Activities in-progress are
  • More than 45 medical camps have been held. Free medical check ups and treatment in relief camps.
  • More than 120 trauma relief workshops have been conducted by trained Art of Living instructors for victims to overcome stress and trauma.
  • Skills and leadership training are being provided to the youth to boost self-reliance and enable them to rebuild / sustain their communities.


Pictures from our ground volunteers…
 
While Kerala is battling its unprecedented crisis in its own way, it is heartening to see the IAHV & Art of Living volunteers from across the country come together and provide relentless support.

Here are few pictures they have shared with us. We are grateful for their selfless service. You can find more updates and pictures on our IAHV twitter feed.

Huge containers with relief material on bound to Kerala
Sending relief materials to Kerala

Volunteers distributing relief materials 

Our volunteers with rescued flood victims

Cleaning flooded homes

Cleaning in progress

Clearing of debris

 Setting up much needed electricity

Clearing pathways

Team work…

Offering Trauma relief

Evacuated victims taking a few moments to meditate

Trauma relief to evacuated victims

Trauma relief to evacuated victims

Medical care in camps
 
We thank you for your continued support,
 
IAHV Team

Appeal for Kerala Flood Relief

Dear Friend,

This August, the South Indian state of Kerala has witnessed the most disastrous monsoon in over 100 years. More than 200,000 people have been rendered homeless and more than 300 left dead, with no means of access – roads, electricity, mobile phone networks, and transport. Cochin airport lies dilapidated and closed until August 26. 41 of Kerala’s 44 rivers are overflowing. Kerala’s residents need your help!

IAHV in partnership with Art of Living Foundation is responding to this situation. Over the past few days, hundreds of volunteers were deployed in relief work across several districts of Kerala. They have been distributing food, water, essential supplies and providing shelter to people in the hardest-hit districts.

IAHV and Art of Living Foundation’s staff and volunteers are trained to handle high disaster areas. With experience in disaster relief of over three decades and a wide partner network, we follow a proven three-pronged approach:

  • Immediate Relief, through supplies – food, water, medicines, clothes, and other basic amenities;
  • Post-Trauma Relief, through trauma relief counseling, meditation, and breathing programs; and
  • Long-Term Rehabilitation, through assistance with rebuilding shelters, vocational training,

This approach has helped thousands in multiple situations (including the recent disasters in Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Assam) recuperate quickly and get back to the main stream of their lives.

With your support, IAHV & Art of Living Foundation is working relentlessly to help alleviate the suffering of those severely affected. At times of crisis, collective resolution can go a long way to help those who need it most.

Your donation can mean the difference between life and death for people caught in the aftermath of this natural disaster. Your financial support would go towards offering food, clean water, hygiene & shelter kit, medical aid and help rehabilitate flood-affected survivors.

Donate now to IAHV KERALA FLOOD RELIEF and make a difference. IAHV is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All contributions are fully tax-deductible.

Donate Now

We thank you for your generosity.

IAHV Team in partnership with The Art of Living Foundation

On World Environment Day, Unesco-IAHV Side Event Focused On ‘Biodiversity And Water: Source Of Our Present And Our Future’

 

 

June 5, 2018 New York, NY

Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in. There is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this. In the context of the Science, Technology and Innovation Forum for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this side event highlighted the contributions of the International Association for Human Values and of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) in the implementation of these global goals. Biodiversity and water cut across all dimensions of sustainable development. Collective efforts to achieve SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) and SDG 15 (life on land) would directly contribute towards the achievement of all other SDGs. UNESCO’s Lima Action Plan of the MAB Programme highlights the key role of biosphere reserves in implementing the Agenda 2030.

The event offered a platform for experts and audiences to discuss ways to share and learn from successful experiences in implementing SDG 6 and in reaching the most marginalized groups, often excluded from the benefits of development. The conversation also delved into MAB programme and its WNBR to contribute to formulate an overarching and compelling narrative to communicate effectively on the SDGs. Going forward, the MAB program would focus on the role of local and indigenous knowledge in biodiversity management to identify trends among local good practices.

The panel was chaired by Dr. Flavia Schlegel, Assistant Director–General for Natural Sciences, UNESCO. Panelists included, Dr. Ajay Tejasvi Narasimhan, Director for Leadership and Governance, Art of Living and the International Association for Human Values; Mr. Vongani Maringa, MAB South Africa, Department of Environmental Affairs; Mr. Jean Philippe Messier, Canadian Association for Biosphere Reserves Canada; Mr. Leonard Kenny, Tsa Tue Biosphere Reserve, Canada; and Dr. Didier Babin, Chair of the MAB International Cocoordinating Council (ICC). The discussions were moderated by Professor Inger Maren, from the University of Bergen, Norway.

Dr. Ajay Tejasvi set the tone of the conversation by stating, “The Art of Living and International Association for Human Values seek to strengthen society by strengthening individuals. Our programs build resilient communities that are capable of dealing with the effects of climate change. One major initiative is about involving local communities in the process of integrated river basin rejuvenation. Till date, we have worked across 4 states in India, working on rejuvenating 37 rivers and tributaries across 9 river basins. From the scientifically rigorous initial preparation to planning and implementation, local communities are involved in every step of the way. This ensures that capacity remains in the community, even after the experts leave. The involvement of communities means more citizen engagement thus strengthening grassroots democracy and reduces risks of conflicts.”

It was evident that multi-sectoral efforts are required to realize the promise of SDG6 and SDG15. Dr Flavia Schlegel rounded off the discussion by reaffirming that UNESCO has unique tools to support Member states in implementing the SDG’s in a holistic way: the UNESCO sites such as the 669 biosphere reserves, belonging to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves located in 120 countries, including 20 transboundary sites. This World Network is dedicated to share positive solutions and to inspire and engage other stakeholders to its vision. Experiences and stories shared by all speakers highlighted the central role of local communities, and particularly indigenous peoples, in the implementation and sustainability of the projects. Strengthening partnerships and meaningful participation is essential to achieve the implementation of the SDGs 6 and guaranteeing access to water for all. The World Network has produced one-minute videos #ProudToShare for people to understand how they can contribute to solutions and to changing the world by 2030, when the SDGs are fully achieved.