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Science of Breath

by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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Mounting scientific research continues to suggest that health, quality of life, and even the very length of life, are all profoundly affected by our mental and emotional states. The emerging field of mind/body medicine explains how our thoughts and emotions can powerfully affect brain, endocrine (hormone), and immune system function. This influence is facilitated by chemical messengers called neuropeptides, which are released with one's every emotion. They are rapidly picked up by cells in the immune, endocrine, and autonomic nervous systems, and directly affect their functioning.

For example, "positive" emotions, such as joy, love, and enthusiasm, produce chemical messengers that can affect the brain, endocrine, and immune systems in positive ways, resulting in improved resistance to disease and better overall health. In contrast, "negative" emotions, such as anger, fear, and sadness, produce chemicals that can adversely affect the brain, endocrine, and immune systems, resulting in less resistance to disease and poorer overall health. This is how feeling stressed can lead to significant alterations in the physiology, and can contribute to a broad range of diseases, ranging from cancer and cardiovascular disease to asthma, depression, and ulcers.

The yogic science of breath is a precise, 5,000 plus year-old science of health promotion. It is one of the first sciences to recognize the impact of mind and emotions on creating and restoring optimal health. One of the most comprehensive breathing techniques derived from this science and taught by the Art of Living Foundation is Sudarshan Kriya (SK). Sudarshan Kriya is understood to use specific rhythms of breath to eliminate stress, support the various organs and systems within the body, transform overpowering emotions, and restore peace of mind.

Sudarshan Kriya and its accompanying practices (SK&P) have been taught by the Art of Living Foundation to more than 2 million people worldwide, and continue to be independently investigated by modern medical science at hospitals and research institutions.

Research book from AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences). Proceedings from the International Syposium on Sudarshan Kriya, Pranayam, and Consciousness.

About the Author:

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, spiritual guru and founder of the Art of Living movement, believes in spreading the knowledge of living a healthier life through his message of compassion, commitment to society, and a cosmic understanding of life. Born on May 13, 1956 in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Ravi developed an inclination and an amazing acumen for the study of the ancient Vedic scriptures. By the age of 17, he obtained an advanced degree in Modern Physics, and later received an Honorary Doctorate from Kuvempu University, Karnataka, India.At an early age his father, R S V Ratnam delegated him to the care of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a renowned spiritual master. After attaining his degree in science, Ravi joined Maharishi's entourage, taught the Vedic pundits at Maharishi's charities, and soon became the Maharishi's favourite disciple. In 1982, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar went into ten days of silence and emerged as an enlightened master. It is believed that during this time he cognized the famous Sudarshan Kriya breathing technique. In order to spread the kriya and other related knowledge, Sri Sri subsequently set up the Art of Living (AOL) Organization in 1982.Today the Art of Living Foundation is the world's largest volunteer based Non-Governmental Organization, active in over 140 countries. Its service projects, programs on yoga, meditation and stress elimination have benefited over 20 million people representing all walks of life, religions, cultures and traditions with its 5Hs program in the areas of Health, Homes, Hygiene, Human Values and Harmony in Diversity.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar founded the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) in 1997, which undertakes development projects in thousands of villages, bringing self-reliance to millions of people from Afghanistan to Bosnia, Iraq to New York. Sri Sri is the recipient of numerous honors including the "2005 Global Humanitarian Award" by the state of Illinois, "Guru Mahatmya" award by Government of Maharashtra, India, the title of "Yoga Shiromani" by President of India, the Phoenix Award from the Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, only to name a few… He was a guest speaker at the Millennium World Peace Summit during the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. Sri Sri is also a member of the Council of the Divinity School at Yale University.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar travels extensively across the globe to inspire youth to work together for a better society. As he says, "Religion is the banana skin and spirituality is the banana. The misery in the world is because we throw away the banana and are holding on to the skin." Sri Sri believes that all religions and traditions have a common value system, and these shared values have to reach every corner of the world in order to make it a better place for all.

 





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Title: Science of Breath
Author(s): Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Language: English
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