Helping Ukrainians to Eat, Breathe, and Find Peace of Mind

Learn how the Art of Living and the International Association for Human Values are helping Ukrainians during a time of war and great need.

Andriy watched from his balcony as his fellow countrymen fought with the Russian soldiers. This war is very real. And it was all too clear that he would have to flee this nightmare to save his life. 

As he prepared to leave, Andriy struggled to understand the unbelievable. How could the Russian Federation attack Ukraine? It is as if your own brother has come to your home to destroy it.

Andriy’s story

After taking refuge at the international Art of Living center in Germany, Andriy worked with others to form a plan. He wanted to figure out how best to help those still trying to flee Ukraine, as well as how to provide aid to those who were already safe but still needing help.

As a teacher for both the Art of Living Foundation (AoLF) and the International Association for Human Values (IAHV), he knew that breathing and meditation could give relief to anyone dealing with trauma. But the primary need at the moment was, and still is, food. 

Thanks to his breathing and meditation practices, Andriy has been able to sleep even though he doesn’t really know if he will wake up the next morning. You can only imagine how challenging it is for anyone affected by this war to be able to sleep, especially for those still in Ukraine. When he does wake, he focuses on the reality of that day, how to access food, and how to help others.

Working with the AoLF and IAHV in Poland, financial donations are converted into food and other supplies needed by those displaced by the war. When asked what we could do to help, Andriy responded, “We need a van to be able to bring food and help where it is most needed.” Clearly, more funds are required in order to bring humanitarian aid to those suffering (click here to donate). How can anyone think about meditating when there is no food to eat?

Andriy was able to meet Gurudev a couple of months ago, and that meeting was like a breath of fresh air. Being with Gurudev enabled him to see there is hope for peace. Gurudev helped Andriy see that it is important not to blame, and to access the feeling of universal brotherhood. 

“We need to spread your message of a one world family!” says Erik Solheim.

Lyubomyr’s story

Lyubomyr drove his daughter and his wife to live with family away from Lviv, a relatively safe city in the west of Ukraine. Lyubomyr is staying in Lviv to do humanitarian work and try his best to continue his work as a web developer. Though his city has been bombed and continues to have sirens warning everyone to take cover in bomb shelters.

There is a strong Art of Living and IAHV community in Ukraine. There are 40 teachers and many more volunteers. They support each other, transport humanitarian supplies, and help people reach safety. 

Gurudev was in Poland a couple of months ago and gave some much-needed guidance, wisdom, and support to those present. For Lyubomyr, Gurudev’s knowledge has been invaluable. 

“All I can do is make my day a little bit better, and make the life of somebody who is near me a little bit better. By doing SKY Breath Meditation (Sudarshan Kriya), strength is found, and purpose is found.”

Lyubomyr just completed teaching a SKY course for Ukrainians, as well as American-Ukrainians. He and his co-teacher, Oksana (located in the U.S.), found a time, via Zoom, that would work for both continents. He saw during the course that people were very tired. Yet, they were also grateful to have an opportunity to be calm and to gain tools they could use any time they simply needed more calm.

When Lyubomyr was asked what he felt was important for us to know, he said, ”What Ukrainians need is to not feel alone and forgotten, but to feel as though they are supported by the world.” 


The mission of Art of Living and IAHV is to have a violent-free, stress-free world. It is in the presence of Gurudev and his teachings that we are reminded of our true nature, love. And that true nature is in all people. There are no bad people, only people who have lost that connection with their own true nature. In meditation, we access pure consciousness, that love that dwells in all of us.

Here are some excerpts from Gurudev’s recent talks:

“Let’s keep this intention. Know that each one of us and our thoughts and intentions are powerful. You put your intention on the idea that there will be peace very soon. Things will move in that direction.” 

“Let’s wish peace for everybody. Let’s wish that those people who are justifying war, that they may get a real sense of the damage of war.” 

“Inner peace isn’t in conflict with your self-defense.”

“We need to think globally and wish for global peace. Anyone who is conscious will feel the pain, whether it’s in Ethiopia, Colombia, or anywhere in the world.” 

“We need inner strength. That’s how meditation can be very helpful.”

“When 1% of the population meditates, it elevates the collective consciousness. Similarly, if enough people say “I stand up for peace,” then we project that energy, that vision, and it will happen.”

Recent update

pallets of supplies

Andriy shared, “Today was a day of service to others. Everything happened. The wait for supplies had ended. A bus of donated clothes and food arrived. It was a special experience; we had a good day. Four pallets with 300 boxes of humanitarian aid arrived from the international center in Bangalore via Germany and Poland. A rented bus brought the supplies, and the volunteers worked together to send it on to the battle-torn zones of Ukraine.”

In these difficult times, cultivating peace is more important than ever. 


Learn how you can stand up and become a beacon of peace for your community with world-renowned spiritual teacher and ambassador of peace, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.


Editor’s note: 

To learn more about SKY Breath Meditation please attend our free breath and meditation session, online with a certified instructor. Click on the image below to choose your day and time.

Beyond breath banner

To make a donation towards the humanitarian efforts in and around Ukraine please click here.