Reaching out to war victims
in Afghanistan

The Art of Living, through its trauma relief workshops, brought relief and peace to war victims, including women and children, and others traumatized by over two decades of war and strife. Through the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes, Afghan counselors, doctors, nurses, and administrators took the Art of Living Breath-Water-Sound programs. UNIFEM, Ministry of Public Health and the Mental Health Department organized several courses for their staff and trauma affected villagers with very positive results.

Breathing peace

The Art of Living began delivering relief services to the war-weary Afghans in Kabul in February 2003. The first training in stress reduction and stress management were taught to child war victims with chronic health problems and mine injuries at the “Peace House” residential facility for girls and small children.

Some donations, made by Art of Living volunteers from the United Arab Emirates, were distributed to villagers in Istalif, a village where over 30,000 homes were destroyed by the Taliban.

They were taught the first Breath-Water-Sound workshop and experienced significant positive changes and were much happier and calmer.

The Breath-Water-Sound program relieves people of stress, instills a sense of belonging and increases overall health, mental well-being, enthusiasm, and focus. People report greater ease in relationships, mental clarity, greater joy and peace in life.

Soon, others like the staff at the Indian Embassy in Kabul, staff of State Bank of India, several international businessmen, an Afghan physician, an American NGO Director, staffs of various national and international NGOs, social workers, staff of United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes attended Art of Living programs and experienced many benefits.

“Since learning the knowledge and techniques in the Art of Living course, I noticed increased energy, feelings of peacefulness and calmness, improved concentration and great physical flexibility,” shares Sayeed Mansoor Naderi, Former Vice President of Parliament, Afghanistan.

Over 100 women from villages of Danesh and Bhakukhan in Kapisa Province experienced relief from stress by the breathing techniques taught at the Breath-Water-Sound workshop. This initiative was sponsored by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes.

As the course started, more women kept entering, and laughter rang through the place. Women kept trying to sneak into the courses, some even with babies under their burkas.

Waves of positivity

Impressed by the research findings which proved the efficacy of the Sudarshan Kriya in reducing the effects of stress, the Chancellor of the Kabul Medical University, Dr. Cheragh Ali Cheragh requested a course for his surgical faculty who had experienced the same violent, chaotic war stresses just like any other residents.

They were amazed and pleased with the positive changes they felt in their bodies and in their thinking as the stress levels reduced. What remained was laughter, sparkling smiles, and gratitude.

A course for the medical administrative staff of the Ministry of Public Health brought exclamations of the new energy and relaxation that the participants found in their daily routines. Most of them remarked on the differences their family members saw in their behavior and lowered stress level.