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Please see below an article I wrote about Jim Farrow's presentation at the National Institues of Health (NIH) in Maryland. The article came out in this week's India Post, the leading newspaper for Indian Americans with a readership of 138,000. Those interested may pick a copy of the paper from selected Indian stores throughout the United States (please call (510) 44-3216 for names of stores). You can also read the article online at if you subscribe to the paper. Those who are interested in arranging meetings for Jim Farrow may find the article useful in showing the good reception Jim received at NIH, a well known and respected medical institution. 

India Post By Filiz Odabas-Geldiay 

A group of doctors and cutting-edge scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as stress management experts from nearby institutions gathered at NIH in the early morning hours to listen to a presentation by James Farrow, a visiting gastroenterologist, whose talk entitled "Science of the Breath," focused on the benefits of breathing exercises taught in the Art of Living Course. 

Dr. Farrow, Medical Director of the Art of Living Foundation, a United Nations NGO that teaches stress reduction courses to several million people in 130 countries, presented compelling clinical data collected from those practising the unique breathing techniques taught in the Art of Living course. "These energizing and a unique rhytmical breathing practice releases stress without evoking specific memories" said Dr. Farrow. The data show that in controlled clinical trials in the USA, India, and Slovenia, the Art of Living techniques are as effective for treating both severe and mild depression as conventional medications, and nearly as effective as Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT) in the severely depressed.

"While there is no one single test for stress" said Dr. Farrow, "several hormones such as cortisol and prolactin are known to be effected by chronic stress. The research on the Art of Living techniques as explained by Dr. Farrow shows that the hormones for stress are reduced immediately and over a long period of time. Patients with anxiety and depression show improved sleep patterns, an increased sense of well-being, increased energy levels as well as return to normal or low levels of stress. 

In additon, beneficial changes in the immune system have been noted in both normal and cancer patients in regression. Natural killer cells are increased with regular practice and the depression in immune system function seen in treated cancer patients is reversed after 3-6 months of regular practice. Dr. Farrow also assert that Art of Living breathing techniques proved to be effective in reducing bad cholestrol while the good cholestrol levels are increased. The beneficial effects on lipid profiles seen in previous studies of meditation are even more pronounced after Art of Living practices.

 "Oxygen-free radicals adversely effect many organ systems and antioxidant theraphy (vitamin C, E, beta carotene, etc) is a multi-billion dollar business worldwide," said Dr. Farrow. "Each cell in our body has three enzyme systems that destroy oxygen-free radicals and these systems are decreased by stress. After practice of Art of Living techniques, these sytems are immediately stimulated and the beneficial effects continue to increase over 45 days of practice." 

Art of Living techniques practised in prisons in several countries by both youths and adults have decreased the need for disciplinary actions and increased prisoners socialization. Alcohol and cigarette dependence, and marital discord have been successfully treated in small studies. A pilot study from Slovenia in 10 patients with Multiple Sclerosis, showed improvement in 5 minute walk and forced vital capacity. 

One of the participants in the lecture at NIH, Dr. Hameed Khan, a scientist at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development said that the Art of Living breathing techniques can be explained in the light of the Human Genome Project, "the greatest biological experiment ever conceived by the human mind." The Genome Project has unlocked the secrets of life by identifying 30,000 genes in each cell of our body, 5,000 of which are mutated or defected. "Scientists now believe that all diseases, even stress, have a genetic origin, " said Dr. Khan. According to Dr. Khan, various factors turn genes on or off. Bad genes can either be replaced by good genes or as in Gene theraphy with molecules that switch them off. Dr. Khan and his colleagues worked for years and came up with a drug that shuts off a gene that causes brain cancer. "The cost of introducing a single drug from bench to the bed side is about half a billion dollars." Dr. Khan says he was intrigued by the results of the Art of Living techniques "Is practicing the techniques offered by the Art of Living Course shutting off genes that cause stress? We should have an open mind. We should be getting involved from a scientific point of view as to how these hormone levels are altered, how genes are turned on and off by these exercises. Imagine how much money and effort we can save if we could reproduce this work. If we can reduce the cost by this method, that's going to make a tremendous contribution to reducing stress in patients." 

Another participant, Barbara Moquin, Director of the Mind-Body Stress Clinic at National Naval Medical Center across the street from NIH said that she found Dr. Farrow's presentation very informative because the clinical research has proven the effectiveness of these breathing techniques. "Personally, I am most interested in the research that has clarified the physiological benefits. I think it's very important for scientists and other health care providers to actually be aware that this practise exists and that it is also safe and effective." 

The Art of Living Course is about 18 hours long that is spread over 4-6 sessions, incorporates knowledge, interpersonal processes, yoga, energizing breathing techniques, and a unique rhytmical breathing practice that releases stress. These practices have been the subject of scientific research for several years. For further information please visit or to get a copy of Dr. Farrow's schedule, please write to

The photo caption: Brain images mapped during an independent research study of persons who practice the unique breathing exercises taught in the Art of Living Course versus people who do not, show that those who perform the daily breathing exercises experience significantly greater beta (heightened awareness) frequencies. This benefit persists after the exercise concludes. (The more colorful photo is the beta image of course participant. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I also wanted to bring to your attention that this Monday's Washington Post website included a spiritual experience of mine as part of their new series called "Voices". This series intends to ask readers various questions from time to time and publish some of the responses. When I read that the first question was "What is your most spiritual experience?" I wanted to contribute. My intention was to get the name Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in the paper and I was a little concerned that the editors may cut it out thinking that it is a promotion of Gurudev's breathing and meditation techniques. But they did not cut anything and the following is what came out in their website. There are also many wonderful spiritual experiences of other people. If interested, please visit 

Profound Spiritual Experiences, Continued Although I had been practicing meditation and breathing techniques taught by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for six years, I still wanted a sign from Him -- something to prove to me that I was on a true spiritual path. One day, I was in my room standing and talking with my daughter who was telling me something. Suddenly the whole scene became one-dimensional. Everything appeared as if projected on a screen or a piece of paper. I could still hear my daughter although her voice sounded as if it was coming from a faraway place. My younger daughter was moving about in the room and I could hear myself talking with them. Everything, however, had a quality of unreality to it. As if I was watching a movie projected on a screen or a paper, with the corners of the paper bent. The paper was suspended in air with nothing behind it. I could see that my daughters did not notice what I was going through. Although the whole experience lasted less than a minute, it changed me profoundly. I was and still am very attached to my children. But in that short span of time it felt ridiculous to be attached to a "picture" I call "my daughter." I experienced beyond the shadow of a doubt that this is a dream world. Later I shared this experience with a friend who told me that he heard people tell similar stories to Sri Sri and that it is called "witnessing." -- 

Filiz Odabas-Geldiay, D.C.

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