Chennai Journal
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Censored but Om Well
For most of the past week I was unable to access the site. Blogger was fine, and while annoyed I didn't think too much of it for a couple of days. But as it persisted, I went on a blogger user group to see if anyone else was having the same problem. A number of people---only in India---reported the same thing, and sure enough, I also couldn't access any of the Indian blogs I normally check in with. The mystery was solved with news reports that the Indian Department of Telecommunications had sent out a list of banned websites following the bombings in Mumbai last week, and a number of ISPs had wholesale blocked Blogspot and other blogs. The reason? No one knows. Apparently, a few blogs (17 according to a report in the Hindu) were considered incendiary.....

In other news, I took the Art of Living course this week. Art of Living, headquartered in Bangalore, is non profit organization doing peace and meditation work throughout the planet. The first stage training, which takes place over four nights and two half days on the weekend, is a combination of yoga and breathing techniques, the centerpiece of which is called "Sudarshan Kriya" which is a patented by Art of Living's founder, Sri Sri Ravishankar.

There is some controversy over the patent, which Gurudev, as he is called, says was a defensive move to allow him to continue to teach the technique at low to no cost---the training is very reasonably priced and is free to prisons, relief organizations, etc. Considering the "yoga war" of a couple of years ago in the U.S. where a famous Indian yoga teacher tried to patent age old postures in order to make more money, this may have been a smart move on Sri Sri Ravishankar's part, though it is still opposed by some. The technique consists of a warm up of ujayyi ("victorious") breath , followed by another breathing technique called bhastrika and then the main event, which is a series of short and long breaths done over about 10 minutes in a particular order. Following this you rest for about 10 minutes. The process definitely works to reduce stress---when lying down after doing this only the second time, I literally felt myself vibrating and had no thoughts whatsoever going through my mind. The training is offered all over the world and courses can be found by consulting the main Art of Living website noted above.

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