Sports and Spirituality: The new formula for success for young people

5th of Sep 2011
  Oppenau  Berlin

A new course format by the Art of Living Foundation was successfully launched in Germany. Meditation, yoga and breathing techniques have been combined with soft skills training and sports activities in the new course for young people aged 18 to 30 years.
Oppenau / Berlin, 5 September 2011

The air is refreshing in the large house where an exciting seminar is about to take place. The mountains that surround the site beckon visitors to participate in sports programs, field trips, rest and recreation. Maisachtal in Oppenau is a region that is known internationally for its clean air and healing baths and springs. Here, 15 young people recently came together to participate in Europe's first "Youth Empowerment and Sports-Plus" (YES!+) program.

From 19 to 25 August, the program celebrated its premiere at the International Art of Living Center, welcoming students from the Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Romania, Thailand, Argentina and France, lending the little valley between Offenburg and Freudenstadt some international flair. The program for the six-day workshop was a mix of interactive group processes with yoga and meditation. The group then participated in outdoor sports such as mountain excursions, biking, hiking, swimming in waterfalls and team-building activities.

Soft skills training that fuses activity and action with inner peace and balance

Kamlesh Patel, an international instructor in the Art of Living and founder of Youth Empowerment and Sports Plus program, said of the format of the course:

"Young people today face a variety of pressures and have to make important decisions. Whether at home, at school, at college, at work or in social environments, they live in a rapidly changing world. In order to preserve so many influences and keep a cool head to make the correct decisions, characteristics such as inner strength, conscious action, creativity and concentration skills are required. Not only in life and at work, these qualities are essential prerequisites for the leaders of tomorrow. And this is where our courses come in."

Patel explains further, "In our programs, participants learn deep relaxation techniques, soft skills and important tips for a happy, healthy and successful life, all in a dynamic action-filled environment. The link between sports and spirituality is ideal to provide the participants with important skills such as responsibility, teamwork, stress management and inner serenity with plenty of action, fun and exercise."

Success without stress

The Youth Empowerment and Sports-Plus workshop includes interactive exercises and the world-famous Sudarshan Kriya, a rhythmic deep breathing technique that relaxes the mind and rids the body of stress. The relaxing yoga and breathing techniques help the participants feel a sense of inner peace with minimum effort. A quiet mind, free from tension, is the basis for creativity, inspiration, clarity, enthusiasm and team spirit.

A successful global seminar

The "Youth Empowerment and Sports-Plus" (YES!+) program is an evolution of the "Youth Empowerment Seminar," which is taught successfully at universities, educational institutions and The Art of Living Foundation centers around the world. The YES!+ program has already helped many young people to learn valuable leadership skills largely ignored in regular school curricula.

For young professionals, the unique soft skills training program is being offered in companies such as at Google’s Mountain View campus in the United States. The courses are offered in more than 100 countries, including Germany, and enjoy great popularity.

On the last day of the course, a participant named Sebastian shared, "The last 6 days were the best of my life. I have regained faith in myself. The sporting activities showed me that I'm really in a position to do anything. It was fantastic, gorgeous, beautiful, like a paradise. Unforgettable. My life has changed positively."

Ivan from Russia says, "It's a very good combination: sports, spiritual activities such as yoga, breathing techniques and meditation, leisure, fun, and great people. One day, we were swimming and even jumping into the falls - it was so great! My mind was really in the moment and I was more relaxed than I have ever been.”

Other dates

After the success of the first Youth Empowerment and Sports Plus program more courses are planned. The courses take place in The Art of Living Center at Oppenau. For more information, please contact Camille Abgrall by calling (Tel:) 07804-97396506 or 07804-973966. For inquiry please direct emails to:

About The Art of Living

The Art of Living was founded in 1981 by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and is active in over 150 countries. It is one of the largest independent, humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the world. The Art of Living holds special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN), and is active in numerous international bodies and committees in the areas of health, education and sustainable development. Priority projects focus on aid programs in developing countries, trauma and stress management in crisis areas and rehabilitation programs for victims of violence and prison inmates. In addition, yoga and meditation classes are offered. An essential component is the Sudarshan Kriya, a powerful breathing technique for stress relief.