The Art of Living Foundation, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Bangalore
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- The Art of Living
---- Bringing Happiness & Making Life a Celebration

---- A Vision for a Stress-Free, Violence-Free World


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The Art of Living Foundation is a volunteer-based, humanitarian and educational non-governmental organizations (NGO). It was founded in 1981 by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The Foundation is working in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations. The International Association for Human Values is the sister NGO that Shankar founded, that focuses on the upliftment of human values at the grassroots level.

The Art of Living Foundation, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Bangalore

Overview

Operating in over 150 countries, The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF) is a non-profit, educational and humanitarian organization founded in 1981 by the world-renown philanthropist and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. All of AOLF’s programs are guided by Sri Sri’s philosophy: “Unless we have a stress-free mind and a violence-free society, we cannot achieve world peace.” The AOLF community is diverse and attracts people from all walks of life backgrounds and religious orientations.

The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF)
The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF), Bangalore

AOLF offers numerous highly effective educational and self-development programs and tools that facilitate the elimination of stress and foster deep and profound inner peace, happiness and well-being for all individuals. These programs, which include breathing techniques, meditation, yoga, and practical wisdom for daily living, have helped millions around the world to completely transform their lives.

In addition to these courses offered globally, AOLF, working in collaboration with The International Association for Human Values (IAHV), has successfully implemented numerous humanitarian projects and service initiatives including conflict resolution programs, disaster relief, sustainable rural development, empowerment of women, prisoner rehabilitation, education for all, and environmental sustainability.

The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF)
The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF), Bangalore

It has been said of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar that not since Mahatma Gandhi has one person united so many people of different races, religions, traditions, economic and social status, and nationalities, creating a One World spiritual family across the globe. Sri Sri’s message is simple: “Love and wisdom can prevail over hatred and violence.” Happily this message is not just a slogan but through AOLF has been and continues to be translated into action and results.

Organization

Art of Living Foundation (AOLF) has its international headquarters in Bangalore, India at Ved Vignan Mahavidyapeeth or VVM campus (usually referred to as the Art of Living's international facility in Bangalore, or as the Bangalore Ashram)and has regional centers in more than 150 countries. In Europe, the organization is known as the Association for Inner Growth. The Foundation was founded by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and offers a variety of personal-development and trauma-relief programs around the world. AOLF has been an educational and humanitarian organization in the U.S. since 1989. Accredited as a United Nations non-governmental organization in 1996, it works in special consultative status with the UN's Economic and Social Council, participating in a variety of committees and activities relating to health, education, sustainable development, conflict resolution, and disaster relief. The Art of Living is a DPI NGO (Department of Public Information), which means it plays an active role in communicating and contributing to various United Nations goals (such as the UN Millennium Goals and the Stand Up initiative). The majority of the officers of the organization, along with most of its teachers and staff, are volunteers. Many humanitarian programs, disaster relief efforts, and training programs are conducted through, or in conjunction with partner organization, the International Association for Human Values (IAHV). Some of the key worldwide chapters include the Art of Living Foundation (U.S.A.), Vyakti Vikas Kendra (India), Die Kunst des Lebens (Germany), Art of Living Center (Canada), Art of Living South Africa, Art of Living Israel, Art of Living Brazil, and Art of Living Argentina.

The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF)
The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF), Bangalore

The Foundation operates as a charitable organization actively conducting "Art of Living" stress-relief courses, based on yoga, breathing, and meditation. Guided by Sri Sri’s philosophy of peace, "Unless we have a stress-free mind and a violence-free society, we cannot achieve world peace", the Art of Living offers several stress-elimination and self-development programmes based mainly on breathing techniques, meditation and yoga. These programmes have helped thousands around the world to overcome depression and violent and suicidal tendencies. Art of living hopeline, a telephonic hotline available 24/7, is a dedicated program to reduce suicidal tendencies. A number of medical studies on the organization's core life-enhancing/trauma-relief techniques (Sudarshan Kriya and its preparatory practices) have been published in international peer-reviewed journals. A range of mental and physical benefits are reported in these studies, including reduced levels of stress (reduced cortisol—the "stress" hormone), improved immune system, relief from anxiety & depression (mild, moderate & severe), and increased antioxidant protection, enhanced brain function (increased mental focus, calmness and recovery from stressful stimuli), among other findings. The organization is involved in community service through its centers. In March 2014, the organization's yoga center in Islamabad, Pakistan was burned down followed by reports of threats issued to the organization by Taliban. According to the tax return filed by the American chapter, AOL Foundation had total revenues of $5.5M (mainly 3.5M from course fees and 1.7M from public support ) and expenditure of $3.6M from July 2006 to June 2007. Net assets at the beginning of July 2007 amounted to $7.7M. EIN for the American chapter of AOL Foundation is 77-0240101.

The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF)
The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF), Bangalore

Social Service

Art of Living is engaged in many social services globally. Its areas of work covers conflict resolution, disaster and trauma relief, poverty alleviation, empowerment of women, prisoner rehabilitation, education for all, campaigns against female foeticide and child labour and environment sustainability. In 2007, the foundation initiated the 'Project Vidarbha - 'Swavalamban programme'. The aim was to support, train and encourage farmers in severe drought hit regions to roll back their lives. Over 1000 volunteers provided training in organic farming, zero-budget farming, rainwater harvesting, hygiene, construction of toilets, etc. in addition to the Art of Living course. The program received official backing as a result of its success and was initiated in other areas as well. The foundation received Rs 1.4 million funding from the state Government compared with its total expenditure of nearly Rs 7.5 million, some of which was self-financed, most of it was raised from its corporate donors. A similar initiative was started to educate farmers in Andhra Pradesh to implement 'zero budget farming' to end suicides. In partnership with United Nations Millennium Campaign and United Nations Environment Programme the 'Mission Green Earth Stand Up Take Action' campaign was launched in 2008 with a goal to plant 100 million trees across the world to help reduce global warming and protect the environment. Art of Living had already started tree plantations across India as part of its Mission Green Earth campaign to support the Millennium Development Goals of the UN. In 2010, in Bangladesh the foundation participated in the 'Billion Tree Campaign' started by United Nations Environment Programme. A 3-year program to rejuvenate the Kumudavathi river (in Bangalore) was initiated by the foundation under its 'Volunteer for Better India' campaign in collaboration with civic authorities and environmentalists in February 2013. "The project aims to address the water shortage problems through rainwater harvesting, increasing green cover and desilting existing step wells, among other methods." Volunteers join the villagers every Sunday to participate in these activities under guidance of a geological scientist. To create awareness about this program, Art of Living founder, Ravi Shankar joined by other NGOs, prominent citizens, civic authorities along with many farmers and volunteers led a walkathon in Bangalore City. Apart from reviving some water bodies used by birds and animals, the project revived five water-recharge wells, constructed 74 boulder checks, cleaned up 18 step wells and planted 2,350 saplings in seven villages by June 2014.

The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF)
The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF), Bangalore

Volunteer For a Better India

The Art of Living along with UN Agencies, NGOs and civil society, launched Volunteer For a Better India (VFABI) on 5 December 2012. VFABI is involved in many activities, including protest against the 2012 Delhi gang rape case. In May 2013, through one hundred eight free health camps organized in collaboration with the Indian Medical Association, 1,634 volunteers distributed medicines worth Rs. 2.2 million under the guidance of 262 doctors to over 20,000 slum dwellers in Delhi. In September 2013, the 'I vote for better India' initiative was launched to bring about awareness about the importance of voting as a responsibility towards the nation. In the city of Pune around 500 volunteers have covered more than 400 housing societies, 60 firms and 30 colleges enrolling over 35,000 people in the voters' list. Students of the YCCE College in Nagpur initiated this campaign in their college and registered themselves along with their family and friends for voter identity cards.

The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF)
The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF), Bangalore

Programmes

Art of Living organizes courses based on breathing exercises and meditation. Sudarshan Kriya is the pivot of majority of Art of Living Courses which are conducted by instructors some of who do voluntary work. These courses have also been conducted for students and faculty, government officials, firemen, ex-militants, and prisoners.

The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF)
The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF), Bangalore

Musical concerts and dance events

The Art of Living has entered the Guinness Book of Records for a Mohiniyattam dance organised in Cochin The performance has been awarded the world record for the most people performing a Mohiniyattam dance, the traditional Kerala dance form. The organization organized a sitar concert "Brahm Naad" which also entered Guinness Book of Records. The proceeds of the event went towards rehabilitation of the victims of the Bihar floods. "Taal Ninaad" held on 17 January 2012 at Sholapur, which included 1230 tablas and 318 pakhavaj also entered the Guinness Book of Records. On 16 May 2012, The Art of Living Foundation, organized a cultural evening in Hall 1 of the National Palace of Culture, NDK, in downtown Sofia, Bulgaria, where 333 Bulgarian bagpipers played a 9.13 minutes suite. The youngest player was 9 years old and the oldest player was 80 years old. Mass recital of Jnanappana, a devotional poem written by the 16th century Malayalam poet Poonthanam, organized by the foundation on 2 February 2014, has also found place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF)
The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF), Bangalore

An Introduction to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is humanitarian leader, spiritual teacher and ambassador of peace. His vision of a stress-free, violence-free society has united millions of people the world over through service projects and the courses of The Art of Living.

Born in 1956 in Southern India, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was a gifted child. By the age of four, he was able to recite parts of the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Sanskrit scripture and was often found in meditation. His first teacher was Sudhakar Chaturvedi, who had had a long cooperation with Mahatma Gandhi. He holds degrees in, both, Vedic literature and physics.

The Art of Living Foundation, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Bangalore

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar entered a ten-day period of silence in Shimoga located in the Indian state of Karnataka. The Sudarshan Kriya, a powerful breathing technique, was born. With time, the Sudarshan Kriya became the center-piece of the Art of Living courses.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar founded The Art of Living as an international, non-profit, educational and humanitarian organization. Its educational and self-development programs offer powerful tools to eliminate stress and foster a sense of well-being. Appealing not only to a specific population, these practices have proven effective globally and at all levels of society.

In 1997, he also founded the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) to coordinate sustainable development projects, nurture human values and coordinate conflict resolution in association with The Art of Living. In India, Africa and South America, the two sister organizations' volunteers are spearheading sustainable growth in rural communities, and have already reached out to 40,212 villages.

A noted humanitarian leader, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's programs have provided assistance to people from a wide range of backgrounds – victims of natural disasters, survivors of terror attacks and war, children from marginalized populations and communities in conflict, among others. The strength of his message has inspired a wave of service based on spirituality through a huge body of volunteers, who are driving these projects forward in critical areas around the globe.

As a spiritual teacher, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has rekindled the traditions of yoga and meditation and offered them in a form that is relevant to the 21st century. Beyond reviving ancient wisdom, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has created new techniques for personal and social transformation. These include the Sudarshan Kriya® which has helped millions of people to find relief from stress and discover inner reservoirs of energy and peace in daily life. In a mere 31 years, his programs and initiatives have touched the lives of over 370 million people in 152 countries.

As an ambassador of peace, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar plays a key role in conflict resolution and spreads his vision of non-violence at public forums and gatherings world-wide. Regarded as a neutral figure with a sole agenda of peace, he represents hope to people in conflict. He has received particular credit for bringing opposing parties to the negotiating table in Iraq, the Ivory Coast, Kashmir and Bihar. He was appointed the Chairman of Reception Committee for the 500th anniversary celebrations of the Coronation of Krishnadevaraya (by Government of Karnataka, India). Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is also a member of the Amarnath Shrine Board (appointed by Government of Jammu and Kashmir, India).

Through his initiatives and addresses, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has consistently emphasized the need for reinforcing human values and recognizing humanity as our highest identity. Fostering interfaith harmony and calling for multi-cultural education as the remedy for fanaticism are significant parts of his efforts to achieve sustainable peace on our planet.

His work has touched the lives of millions of people around the world, going beyond the barriers of race, nationality and religion with the message of a "One-World Family"; that inner and outer peace are possible; and that a stress-free, violence-free society can be created through service and the reawakening of human values.

 
 
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