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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 19 | May 20, 2007|


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In search of alternative power

Zahidul Naim Zakaria

The Art of Living's Youth Empowerment Seminar, YES is an innovative and dynamic educational and life skills programme that provides young students and professionals the tools to achieve their ideal life with ease, creativity, energy, and inhibition-free.

The growing demands placed on an individual to be successful in our fast-paced, stressful global society make it even more necessary for college students to have the tools they need to make responsible life decisions with confidence and clarity, more joy and enthusiasm while developing a broader vision along with cultivating leadership potential. The YES!+ course for college and university students both challenges and empowers students to become more centered and focused, to manage negative emotions and to live life more fully in the present moment, with increased awareness, perception and expression.

The Art of Living, the world's largest voluntary humanitarian organization, has helped people in need of direction across nations and beyond boundaries. Founded by His Holiness Sri Sri Ravishankar, it has enabled people all over the world to reach a true state of happiness. Other than the usual followers that find enlightenment in the path of love, people stricken with natural calamities such as flood, victims of war and even prisoners have found rehabilitation through the research and teachings of Guruji Sri Sri Ravishankar.

Guruji knows how to effortlessly relieve the minds of those burdened with stress. His teachings help people to find the light. His research on breathing techniques and how they can be controlled to relieve stress, the sudharshan kriya, has helped millions in nearly 170 countries.

What is taught in the Art of Living:
The basic course of the Art of Living, the simple, yet profound Part I Programme is the most effective stress elimination programme in the world today. It works from two angles, first by restoring physical well-being, and secondly by empowering people's minds with optimistic thinking. The Sudarshan Kriya, is a powerful energizer and cleanser, and the knowledge discussed on the course presents life's deepest secrets in a language that is easily understood.

Breathing is the first act of our lives. Within the breath is the secret of life. Breath is linked to the vital life energy in us, or prana.

We gain prana through air, fresh food and rest and also through meditation. A lack of prana results in lethargy, dullness and poor enthusiasm. When our bodies are lively with prana, we feel alert, energetic and full of good humor. Prana is the very basis of health and well-being for both body and mind. When this breathing technique is combined with yoga and proper meditation, it makes a human feel reborn.

Although the Art of Living Course Part I is considered to be the entry program for adults, it is recommended that one repeat this course every few months. With every successive course one receives a better understanding of the knowledge points. Through simple and effective course points, Sri Sri has made accessible profound knowledge. Practice of the Art of Living ensures greater acceptability and higher stress relief.

The programme is a total of 25 hours, broken up into 6 days. The first five classes are approximately 3 hours each, whilst the last day is a full day programme. Furthermore, the Art of living also offers advanced, youth, corporate and special courses designed to meet specific needs.

The Bangladeshi Chapter of The Art of Living:
Bangladesh was first charmed with The Art of Living back in the February of 2002. Partho Banarjee, an Indian instructor, came from Kolkata to conduct courses at the residence of Ameena Ahmed.

At first it was not very active, but courses were carried on sporadically by Partho Banarjee. Within two years, for the first time, Rafi Hossain, a Bangladeshi, became a basic course instructor and started to teach the teachings of Guruji Sri Sri Ravishankar. Before Rafi Hossain took up teaching the Art of Living, language always stood as a barrier in the interaction between the instructor and the students, this problem was solved in 2004.

In 2006, Ameena Ahmed became the second teacher. Currently, there are a total of 4 teachers actively engaged in spreading the grace of the art of living. Amongst them are the two aforementioned Bangladeshis and the other two are Indians. Namely, the Indian instructors are Sajeev Menon and Dhoni Menon. Dhoni Menon specializes in the Art excel course which is a course for children. Presently, the Art of Living is being taught throughout Dhaka City at Panthopath, Dhanmondi, Gulshan, Uttara and some other key areas. Due to popular demand, the instructors are taking preparations to teach the Art of Living outside Dhaka as well.

Rafi Hossain, the first instructor of Bangladesh:
Rafi Hossain always had a knack for spirituality, even from a young age. Gradually, his journey towards spirituality found new paths and grew more with age. His thought process matured with time. Eventually when he came across the teachings of Guruji Sri Sri Ravishankar and The Art of Living, he felt as if he found what his mind had always been searching for. He is extremely grateful to Ameena Ahmed, through whom he was introduced to The Art of Living.

The Art of Living occupies his thoughts and his mind 24 hours a day. It is not as if he does not enjoy other work, he wants people to understand that spirituality is not connected to any material form or being, especially not to physical appearance or cultural/religious origins.

Views from some members of the Art of Living in Bangladesh: Sajjad Hossain, Student
When I first came to the art of living, I was asked what were my expectations and my instructor told me that I would receive nothing. This statement confused me, but I continued. After the first six classes of the basic course, I realized it helped me to relieve pain, improve my concentration, and think positively. I felt fortunate to be a part of it, as after the end of the basic course, joyousness had taken over me. I realized what I was told on the first day of the course was a technique used to drive out my expectation so that the joy at the end of the course was even higher.

Mohammad Mizan
Audio Visual expert
I was always connected to personal development in many sorts, and I found Art of Living to be very dynamic. Its not just meditation, while meditation is important, there are other activities with it that always made me feel as if it is a complete package. It's unique…

Nothing refreshes me like the Art of Living. Just a single session is enough to realize how rejuvenating it can be. But we must remember, that the results are imminent only when we practice it.

Raihana Wadud
Fashion Designer
I was more interested in the physical aspect, such as yoga, and freehand exercise. But I found out that it was much more than that, every session was like a cleansing ritual where our numbness would go away and both physical and mental well-being would be restored.

The Art of Living makes one feel complete, and no other form of spiritual practice seems necessary. It increases our confidence. It's very hard to trust people nowadays, the Art of Living teaches us how to trust people and how to fight insecurity. It reaches inside us and fights the mental blocks that keep us from creating human bonds.

Najnin Akhtar Luna
NGO Worker
I used to meditate before, but I still came here since I was inspired by the name. But this was not just meditation, this was deeper, and I feel this needs to be done before meditation.

The Art of Living is a complete physical and mental habilitation, and it breaks the barriers of fatigue. It helps us to become more tolerant. The Art of Living teaches us to put ourselves in others' shoes, and it helps us to be more successful in today's world.

Dr. Muniya Ahmed
The Art of Living is an immense tool for a beautiful life, because if we live healthily we can help others even more. Edification of life is a direct result of the Art of Living, we benefit others and ourselves, and together everyone advances.

Emran Ahmed
Interior Designer,
& Singer
The name says it all, the art of living teaches us how to live our lives beautifully and healthily. A lot of people think only the people who are frustrated and face problems should come here, but the art of living is also about maintaining happiness and not simply living a better life. I used to suffer from chronic bronchial asthma and I had to use an inhaler. I started the Art of Living four months ago, I practiced it properly, and miraculously, I am fully cured!

Farzana Hamid
Assistant Manager, PKSF
I came here primarily to manage my stress, but I found much more. I found an inner journey that taught me to scientifically reduce inner negativity. At the end of the first day, after I woke up from sleep I felt as if my brain had been taken out of the refrigerator.

After the six-day basic course ended, I felt amazing. My skin problems reduced and everyone said that there was an unusual glow on my face. Through bhastrika pranayan, my reoccurring cold problem reduced dramatically. Amongst the many things I have learnt from the art of living, I treasure most my increased tolerance and heightened level of acceptability.

The art of living helped me to understand why bad things happen in life. I feel now that even if my limbs were missing, I could climb Mt. Everest. The Art of Living is a mental journey that kills all negative energy and empowers us with positivism unseen.

Shahina Alam Chhaya
Research and Training, Niport
& Tagore Singer
I always was fine, but I always had an interest in meditation. I felt as if my inside was cleaned. I accept the teachings very well, and remember them. Training always changes people. When I trained in the Art of Living, my tolerance level and acceptability raised higher. Being very emotional, petty matters easily disturb me and I cannot deal with problems easily. The effect of a mishap usually stays on me for a long time. But the Art of Living has taught me to deal with problems easily and take a better grip of my own life.

I love Saat Saang (singing together in chorus). It kindles our mind. Now, I feel like listening to music and singing together is the best part of my life. Everything I do here is an exercise for the mind. And even more remarkably, the pain in my shoulder, that I used to experience for a long time, is completely gone.

Elias Khondaker
I would have never known how simply breathing consciously can change our lives if I did not do the art of living.

All my negative energy, stress, fears, and agony is gone now.

My family here at the art of living understands me better than anyone, and I feel like the universe needs my presence.

Ashish Kumar Kundu
I felt amazement inside me. Its amazing breathing techniques revitalized me. Daily practice of art of living has ensured my mental and physical well being. We should embrace the teachings of the art of living, because it can open doors to the magical secrets that lay dormant inside our very breaths.

The art of living taught me the hidden enchantment behind breathing properly. I can relieve all my stress and push all my energy towards optimism.

Amio Mukherjee
I knew this theoretical idea long ago but I couldn't find out as to how to implement this in my everyday life. Towards the end of 2006 when I visited Shillong, India I had found an organization called Art of Living and the mentors were very much skilled to teach the same for which I was expected since long.

It was a complete package for Asana and Pranayam. And most importantly after Asana and Pranayum - you may get relaxation and better sensation all through your body. Even in the first day you can realize the same. There is another magic touch over there in this package of Pranayum system which is most important aspect for a human being. That is “Meditation”. After finishing this Asan and Pranayum “Meditation” will automatically come to you. You need not to go for any separate meditation cource. These is called three in one. i.e. for this complete package you may get Physical (bodily) development vital development (Pranic) and mental development by meditation (Mind).

Ashfaque Ahmed
Last year during September I came across an advertisement in The Daily Star about a six day workshop that will teach meditation, yoga and pranayam. I knew panayam is a strong process, that mastered can control the mind, the body so nicely.

The techniques are designed and compiled for us. It has no conflict between the beliefs of the numerous religion and groups worldwide. One can with full conviction practice and enjoy the techniques taught at the Art of Living programmes. The art of living is for everyone, for people of all classes and divisions. It is for people belonging to the corporate world, low-wage workers and the middle class.

In today's world, there will be a tremendous cold war in the labour market between people who are skilled and people that are not. In a country like Bangladesh, where human resources are the main assets, we need the development of human capital more than the enhancement of any other resource. The art of living can do just that. It can help to concentrate better, develop leadership qualities and interpersonal skills, enrich potentiality and boost the overall productivity of an individual through planting the seed of optimism and uprooting the curse of stress and bad energy.

You may visit our web site www.artofliving.org .


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