Waves of Breaths in Mitchell's Plain

Dr Parusha Pillay, an Art of Living teacher in Cape Town, shares her experience of teaching.

"We have been running Breath Water Sound Workshops at the Mitchell’s Plain Community Health Center in Cape Town since December 2011. To date 236 patients and community members have directly benefited from the course.

The first course was held on 01 December 2011 as part of the hospital’s World AIDS Day Program. 104 patients and community members participated in the 4 day program and the outcomes were incredible. Facilitators and the volunteers were in awe, observing the dramatic transformations taking place.

The majority of the patients on the course were depressed and some suicidal. At the end of the first and second days, there was a 180 degree turn around. The Hospital Manager observed these changes and the astonished look on her face seeing the transformation in 104 participants was priceless. She has asked The Art of Living Foundation and the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) to continue running these courses on the hospital premises together with follow-up sessions. She has also requested that we teach the Art of Living Part 1 Course and Sudarshan Kriya to the entire hospital staff.  She shares,"This needs to spread to every other area and hospital facility. Her hospital will be the prototype, after which the rest will follow.Click here to see letter of appreciation below.

One of the participants, a long time patient attending the hospital, was known to be a “problem patient”. She would verbally abuse the staff and on one occasion threatened to kill one of the nursing staff, attempted to break down the reception window to get to the staff member, all the while screaming profanities. This lady is now a Mitchell’s Plain Art of Living Group Leader. She has become the most loving caring and dynamic woman and has sent 17 people to subsequent courses.

I have experienced the power of Art of Living courses and have had profound experiences on every course that I have been on, but what we experienced on these Breath Water Sound courses, was truly something beyond what my mind can even fathom. One of the patients, started singing “There comes a time, when we heed a certain call…and the world, must come together as one…”, powerful words from the song 'We are the World'. The power of over 100 people singing these words with only love and tears of gratitude was one of the most moving experiences in my 30 years."

Dr Parusha continues to inspire and transform lives of the people in Mitchell's Plain.

The participants shared after their courses: (Some names have been removed to protect the privacy of the individuals)

  • Before: “I was very stressed and I was always sad and feel shame for my self and I was so cross with my husband who gave me HIV”
    After: “I feel free and even in the body I feel so light. I sleep well and I can speak nice. I leave everything behind now and I am happy now.”

  • Before: "I was very emotional. I cried almost everyday. In my early marriage my husband abused me. He cheated on me. It took me a while to overcome it. After a few years he did the same and it brought the pain back.”
    After: "After the course I feel so good and I was very happy. I could look up again and put everything behind my back and be myself again. I feel to live again”

  • Marcelle Morris:
    Before: “Troubled, angry and unwanted. I felt like my life was at a standstill. Being unemployed and having children does have this affect.”
    After: “I have learnt to control my emotions. I know now that I am also important. I do love myself. Being poor and unemployed can be controlled.”

  • Sithembele Qhotywa:
    Before:“Before I started the course I was stressed and angry about my past at the things that had happened in my life”
    After:“Now after the course I feel peaceful and happy. I feel no stress.”

  • Boniswa Magweba:
    Before:"I was stressed and unhappy and angry. I wasn’t sure how to deal with my negative emotions so I kept it inside. I was not dealing with my feelings and I was becoming depressed and I was having headaches and my blood pressure was high.”
    After:“I feel relaxed and calm and I feel I can deal with my negative emotions. I don’t feel so angry. I know I can get through my stress by using the meditations. I feel more happy and I am letting go of my negativity.”

  • Nomawa Mkenku:
    Before: “I’m a person who use to cry and have anger to everyone. Some times I wish to die and therefore I didn’t care about my health.”
    After: “Now I love myself and I care about everyone and my health. I look after myself and I forget about the past and am looking forward to the present.”

  • Nuriman Mentoor:
    Before: “Drained, highly stressed, emotionally fragile.”
    After: “After the first day already I felt rejuvenated. Spiritually I gained a new dimension in my life which was an out of this world experience. What I saw with my spiritual eye and the levels I was taken to was phenomenal.”

  • Nozipho Nyama:
    Before: “I used to feel stressed each and every day because I’m positive and scared of having a baby because I don’t want to leave her/him. 
    After: “I feel very very light. Good excellent course. I became stressed free from the above mention. So to me, Breath Water Sound worked very well and I’m still continuing with it.”

  • Ann Van Rooi:
    Before:“I was very stressed, I snap at my kids, my husband a lot.”
    After:“Now I’m very peaceful, I can relax my mind, now I feel almost stress free. It’s so powerful to have a peaceful and sound mind now. My worries are over.”

  • Before: "I feel like I'm alone, to be HIV positive is end of my life. After the course that negative feeling is gone."
    After: "I feel good. I feel like I'm born again. Having new family."

  • Before: "I was stressed because of my unplanned pregnancy and being HIV positive, I was thought that maybe this baby cannot make it."
    After: "Now I feel very positive. Looking forward to give birth a healthy child. I'm feeling happy, skillful. Looking forward to help my community especially the positive mothers to have hope because they are not alone. We are just like others. God is with us and have us every time.

  • Before: "I did not have hope. I was almost kill myself. I used to have anger. Do not have peace for myself."
    After: "For the first day, I felt differently. Because of Dr Pillay. She told to come here. It change my life."

The letter of appreciation from hospital manager: Zethu Xapile

Re: Breath Water and Sound Course

Dear Sir/Madam

This serves to confirm that the Breath Water and Sound Course was run at the Mitchell’s Plain CHC from the 1st – 4th December 2011. 104 people attended the course.

Mitchell’s Plain is situated about 30km outside Cape Town. It is an area that has about 40% unemployment rate, riddle with gangsters and substance abuse. The community members are trying hard to fight the use of alcohol and other substances. Some of our clients at the facility are somehow angry about all the difficult circumstances they live under because of this. It is with great pleasure to inform you that the course came at the right time and was of enormous benefit to both the facility and the community at large.

I would like to thank the organization for making it possible for us to benefit from this course. From what the participants say it looks like for some of them life will never be the same after this course. It gave hope to those that were lost in hopelessness, lost in despair, joy to those who were surrounded by misery, peace to those whose life was in turmoil.

I would be delighted if the staff of Mitchell’s Plain CHC would also have a chance to experience. It was indeed an experience of a life time for our clients.

Thank you for making this possible.

A special word of thanks to the teachers: Dr. Parusha Pillay and Ms. Vassi Pillay.
The assistant teachers: Yugesh Pillay; Pramilla Vassen; Caroline Cowan; Victoria Charters Dr. Srini Govender.
The volunteers: Mandy Faye Novis; Michelle Panton; Menno Van Mechelene; Marina Vayanos; Viveka Vassen and Victor Adams.

Dr. Parusha Pillay was the driver of the whole project and I would like to thank for her leadership without her this would not have been possible.

Thank you,

Yours truly,
Zethu Xapile
Facility Manager
Mitchell’s Plain CHC