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Yoga and Meditation Comes in Aid of Iraqis to Rid of Trauma

Over 40 Iraqis are on their way home after a month-long training in trauma relief, with one of them saying what she learnt in India will surely help improve life in war-torn Iraq//.

"I have no doubt that whatever I have mastered will help my people in Iraq," Wafa Esmaeel Omara said in a telephone interview from Bangalore, where she was among 43 Iraqis who attended the training at the Art of Living International Centre.

"Art of Living techniques are already popular there," Wafa, 43, a mother of three who works in the office of the Baghdad mayor, told IANS. "We feel more and more Iraqis are ready to benefit."

The Art of Living Foundation claims it is the world's largest volunteer based NGO. Its service projects, programmes on yoga, meditation and stress elimination have benefited over 20 million people from all walks of life, religions and cultures. It is led by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and is headquartered in Bangalore, India's IT capital.

The special training for the Iraqis, who were from Baghdad, Basra and Karbala and included lawyers, government officers, journalists and engineers, ended July 20. Most of them have flown home but a few, Wafa included, are still there.

Wafa said ever since she came into contact with Art of Living teachers in Iraq, her life had dramatically turned for the better.

"I came to know about them in July 2003 through my brother-in-law," she said. "It was a five-day programme involving breathing techniques and meditation. You may not believe it, but I began to feel good right from the first breath I took in the classes.

"It was a wonderful feeling. What they taught improved my health, it made me calm and it helped me improve my relationship with my family."

Wafa said she then volunteered to become a teacher - to spread the message.

"I am sorry my English is not that good and so I cannot describe in words how good everything has been," she s
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