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Art of Living In Aid of Cricket
Dr Sreedevi Yadavalli
The sports arena has always been vulnerable to the threat of terrorism ever since the Munich Olympics in 1972 when Black September, the Palestinian militant group, shot eleven Israeli Olympians.

But in Lahore in April 2009, the Sri Lankan cricket players were far luckier; they escaped with just minor injuries. But for weeks after the incident, the cricketers were still reeling from the post terror trauma, to the extent that the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa requested Art of Living teacher Swami Sadyojathah to conduct a trauma relief program for the national cricket team.

Swami Sadyojathah obliged by conducting a four-day workshop for the Sri Lankan team. Sudershana Kriya – the breathing technique advocated by His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – was an integral part of the workshop. In earlier incidences too, Sudershana Kriya has been employed for post trauma relief in Sri Lanka after the tsunami struck, in Kosovo in the aftermath of war, in Lebanon and also Iraq where local Iraqi Art of Living teachers – under the tutelage of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar - conduct the programs.

Swami Sadyojathah informs that Sudershana Kriya takes just 10-15 minutes to practice, and many professionals who practice it on a daily basis benefit from it as it imparts a very deep, profound effect on the body and mind, relaxing the system and energizing it for optimal performance.
The following are responses to an interview I had with Swami Sadyojathah who is with the Art of Living International Ashram in Bangalore.

How did this trauma relief program for the
Sri Lankan team come about?

We received an invitation from the Institute of Sports Medicine of Sri Lanka – acting on behalf of President Mahinda Rajapaksa - to conduct this course for the cricketers.

Can you briefly describe what the program entailed, and what was its effect on the players?
The players underwent Sookshma Yoga (‘subtle’ yoga which gives exercise to the whole body in a subtle way), Pranayams (channelizing the Prana – life-force to different parts of the body) and Sudershan Kriya (healing breath technique), which His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ji has gifted to this world.

How can Sudershana Kriya benefit other professionals who are also combating high stress levels?
There is a rhythm in nature – the sun rises at a particular time, sets at a particular time, the various seasons all happens in a rhythm. There is a rhythm in our body too; you get hungry at some time, you feel sleepy at some other time - all this happen in a rhythm. When there is disharmony between the rhythm of nature and rhythm of our body - that is when we say that we are ‘’not well’’.

Our thoughts too occur in a rhythm. Similarly, our emotions too have a rhythm. And the subtlest - what we call the ‘Self’ also has a rhythm. In Sudershan Kriya, what happens in a beautiful way is restoring back the harmony between all these rhythms. Sudershan Kriya is a simple - and at the same time - powerful breathing technique.

What particular advantage does Sudershana Kriya impart to those who practice it every day, and on average, could you state the number of working professionals who regularly practice Sudershana Kriya?

The deeper you rest, the more dynamic you can be. So, it is very important that one learns some techniques which give you deep rest, deeper than sleep can achieve, and in a shorter time, for there is a difference between ‘’working hard’’ and ‘’working smart’’. Working hard is not a big deal, but doing more things in shorter time, in a more effective way, is ‘’working smart’’. This is where Sudershan Kriya comes in handy for everyone including working professionals.

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