Archive for the ‘in the news’ Category

by Aparna Chawla

Check out this article in the Home News Tribune by our New Jersey
Art of Living teacher, Aparna Chawla.


With the warm — I mean hot — weather here, we are spending more time outdoors and traveling with our near and dear ones. We are busy working out schedules and travel itineraries.

But are we really enjoying our summer time?

This is vacation time when we are supposed to be relaxing. But we are exhausted, with the mind running to keep up with our thoughts.

Have we thought about a time when we can clean the mind and give it some rest? We clean our teeth so that we don’t get cavities and bad breath, and we shower so that we don’t carry around bad body odor. But how about our mind? How can we and why do we need to clean the mind?

We fill the mind mostly with mundane and unnecessary thoughts. When it comes time for concentrating, we get sidetracked very easily and we get irritated when things don’t go as planned. When we are starting to have road rage or snap at our family members for the smallest things, we need to step back and see what is causing this behavior. Is it really the crazy drivers who are talking or texting while driving? Or is it the spilt milk on the counter or the dirty dishes in the sink that were not cleaned by those who used them — is that what is really annoying you?

It all comes down to our state of mind.

We tend to blame someone or something outside for our mood or emotions, but, in fact, it is how we feel inside. This is when it becomes important to give rest to the mind. We think that the mind is resting when we are sleeping, but only in deep sleep or meditation can the mind truly rest. Also, if the mind is cluttered with thoughts, worries and junk, how can there be space for clarity? We need to cleanse the mind and that can only be done through meditation as well.

We often think that meditation is for retirees and is to be done in quiet places.

In fact, it is very simple. We can begin by sitting detached and untethered from all our gadgets and closing our eyes for a few minutes every day.

Whenever we have some free time, we often tend to surf the net, read a book or watch some television. Again, another thing that can help us relax is eating food quietly without watching television or surfing the Internet or by going for walks and appreciating what nature has to offer — from the trees and flowers to listening to the birds.

This may sound “airy-fairy,” but what we do with our time reflects in our speech and actions.

Instead of multitasking and stressing ourselves, let us take a few moments every day — taking a few deep breaths — and settle our minds and our bodies.

So, this summer let us begin to enjoy every moment of our lives by bringing peace within ourselves.


Dr. Aparna Chawla is a general dentist practicing in Central Jersey. She has been a member of the Art of Living Foundation (, since 1986. She is one of the few certified instructors teaching the Art of Living course to adults and youth. She has been instrumental in bringing youth programs into NJ schools by working in association with its sister organization, (IAHV). She is also a professional Indian Classical dancer and enjoys playing the veena is her spare time.


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Excitingly, a recent article in the New York Times on yoga and wholesome partying talks about Art of Living‘s Yoga Rave and New York City-based Bhakti Band. The sanskrit chanting and interactive style creates a high-energy, dynamic atmosphere without alcohol or drugs. It is a natural high. check out the article: “Downward Dog at the Club”

An excerpt from the New York Times article:

 YOGA aficionados often describe the practice as having two possible benefits: strengthening the body and clearing the mind.

Now some young enthusiasts are trying to bring their peers to yoga by promising that it can make their social lives more wholesome, too. The idea is that yoga and a sober dance party go together much like raw chocolate and organic peanut butter.

One such event, a “yoga rave” on a Thursday evening in early spring at Pacha, a nightclub in west Midtown Manhattan, was organized by the Art of Living Foundation, a 30-year-old organization with centers around the world and a mission to promote peace through yoga and meditation.

Shephali Agrawal, a lawyer and a volunteer director at the Art of Living center in New York, explained the connection between the foundation’s mission and a club party.

“Meditation is really discovering the love and the bliss that can be inside, and dancing is such a natural expression of that,” she said. “Just connecting to the pulse, to the music, it allows that energy that’s inside to explode outside.”

In this new video “Who is Bhakti?” Bhakti Band members, Manish Tandon, Mary Walker, Joey Repice and Yumna Omar talk about how they got together and what the music means to them.




blogpost: Yoga Rave Party from Argentina Debuts in NYC

blogpost: North Jersey Team hosts Bhakti Band Concert






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by Vikas Chawla

Check out this article by our senior New Jersey Art of Living teacher, Vikas Chawla in the local New Jersey newspaper, “Home News Tribune”.|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p

Below is the article.


Karma simply means “as you sow, so shall you reap.”

Although this definition is a good entry point to comprehend the term, it leaves out many details.

This simplistic understanding makes people think that following the path of virtuous action alone is enough to help them gain enlightenment — the ultimate goal of the practitioners of eastern religions.

Herein lies the misunderstanding.

Righteous actions lead to good health, prosperity and favorable conditions, while unrighteous actions lead to ill health and misery.

However, virtuous actions, while necessary, are not a sufficient condition to attain enlightenment

It is not just the actions that result in karma, but also the cravings and aversions that bind us and propel us to keep repeating the actions.

Addictions are an example of this pattern — even the habit of starting each day with a cup of coffee.

In eastern literature, karma is represented as a wheel.

The wheel symbolizes the cycle of birth, life and death.

When one revolution of the wheel is complete, life begins again with rebirth.

We come back to Earth as beings to get rid of impressions.

Once all the impressions are removed, we attain the state of enlightenment.

If not, the cycle repeats itself.

Enlightenment cannot be achieved only by virtuous actions because no action can be entirely virtuous on its own.

Take, for example, the act of charity.

Charity is a virtuous act, but you have made the recipient become indebted to you.

You can find your way out of this wheel of life by transcending the doership and becoming an observer.

The ancient Vedic text, the Shiva Sutra, exhorts you to “look at all the happiness and miseries in your life as though they are happening outside you.”

According to Vedic philosophy, the most fundamental spiritual principle is the transcendent self.

Although most people identify with their bodies, minds and egos, the real self is unbounded, unmanifest, pure consciousness.

Events in our life only give an illusion of touching us.

When we realize who we are and that we are left untouched by these events, then we can achieve true liberation — nirvana.

The way to get to that centered state is through meditation.

That is why, it is imperative that we learn how to meditate from an experienced teacher, who can guide us and answer our questions.

One method of meditation is through a mantra (ancient sound). “Mananaat trayate iti mantra” — that which saves us from repetitiveness is mantra.

Everything that worries us, make us feverish is nothing but a repetitive thought.

The key to getting to a state of equanimity is by a constant practice of meditation and giving it a priority in our daily life.

This constant practice of meditation helps free us from the bondage of cravings and aversion, and is the ultimate karma buster.


article at “Meditation is the best karma buster”

Vikas Chawla has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science, and works as a vice president at an investment bank. He has served on the U.S. board of the Art of Living Foundation for four years. He is a certified instructor with the Art of Living Foundation, and has been teaching meditation, yoga and breathing techniques for more than 12 years.


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