KANSAS, USA, October 28, 2014( by Alex Smith, Kcur):The community health specialist,Dr Lemaster has been working for the past several years to address the unique challenges of Bhutanese refugees. Many Bhutanese refugees have had trouble adapting to life in the United States. "Within a month of getting here, somebody committed suicide and we began to be become aware that the risk of suicide in the Bhutanese refugees is about three times the risk of in other refugee groups," LeMaster says. "So we started looking into that." He tried art therapy, dance therapy, tai chi and even a petting zoo and finally yoga.
Yoga therapist Claudia Cardin-Kleffner specializes in working with people with chronic health conditions. LeMaster says that earlier in his career, he would have been hesitant to prescribe yoga and was surprised by the program's success. The women's levels of pain on a standard pain index dropped dramatically. Participants also showed major improvements on standard measures of anxiety, depression and acculturation.
Studies have shown that yoga helps the brain, heart and nervous system. But why did it work in this case when physical therapy and medication failed? That's something LeMaster is still trying to understand. But the answer may have to do with nothing more mysterious than cultural familiarity. Whether it was the yoga or mere coincidence, there hasn't been a suicide among the Kansas City refugees since LeMaster instituted the program. Now he's exploring how yoga and other culturally-specific practices can be used to help additional immigrant groups.
DEHRADUN, INDIA, October 25, 2014 (Daily Pioneer): The portals of the Gangotri shrine were closed to the public for the winter on Friday. Meanwhile, preparations have also been made for the closure of the portals of Kedarnath and Yamunotri on Saturday. Multitudes of devotees from various parts of Uttarkashi district and beyond arrived at Gangotri shrine on Friday. After ceremonial prayers and amidst Vedic chanting, a statue of Goddess Ganga was carried out of the shrine in a palanquin by devotees at 12:50 pm.
The devotees left with the palanquin carrying a statue of Ganga for Mukhba, also in Uttarkashi district. Ganga is ceremoniously worshipped at Mukhba during the winters when the Gangotri shrine remains closed to the public. Starting this year, the State Government has planned to facilitate winter pilgrimage to the places where the deities of Char Dham shrines are ritually worshipped during the winter when the main shrines are closed to the public.
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 22, 2014 (U.S. Department of State): Secretary of State John Kerry will host the Obama Administration's Annual Diwali Celebration to honor the Hindu, Sikh, and Jain holiday celebrated throughout the world. The event will be held at 6 p.m. on October 23, in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the U.S. Department of State.
After an introduction by Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal, Secretary Kerry will deliver remarks that celebrate the important contributions Indian and South-Asian Americans have made to the United States, and highlight the State Department's commitment to human dignity, compassion, and service - a commitment that is at the heart of all great faiths.
MINNESOTA, U.S., October 15, 2014 (Huffington Post by Anantanand Rambachan): On the occasion of Diwali 2014, I want to share a reflection on one of the central narratives associated, in the Hindu tradition, with this festival. This is the narrative that connects Diwali with the celebration and rejoicing over the return of Rama to his home, after a lengthy exile, and his defeat of the oppressive and tyrannical, Ravana. Citizens welcomed him by lighting thousands of lamps, even as over one billion Hindus do today throughout the world. The story of Rama has become a central narrative of Diwali because of the Hindu understanding of Rama as embodying divinity and also because it addresses the universal human longing for freedom from oppression and the hope of living in a world where there is peace, justice and prosperity.
Rama's return to his home in Ayodhya and the joyous illumination of the city with earthen lamps conclude the story of his life as told in most versions of the Ramayana. I want, however, to return to the beginning of the story. For this, I turn to the version of the life of Rama authored by the religious poet Tulasidas in the 15th century.
I chose to describe Tulasidas' profound and poetic framing of the advent of Rama since it speaks powerfully to our contemporary context and especially to our degradation of the earth and its fragile climate. His narrative deepens our understanding of our relationship with the earth and suggests a fundamental value for our transformation.
More at 'source.'
Singapore, October 15, 2014 (IBN Live): Singapore's National Heritage Board (NHB) has disbursed more than US$1 million in grant for repairs and restoration work at three national monuments, including the oldest Hindu temple in the country.
It has accorded $44,000 to Sri Mariamman Temple, a Dravidian style temple at South Bridge Road in the Central Business District (CBD) for a repairs and face lift work Strengthening work would be carried out on a single-story shrine next to its main prayer hall, after a crack line developed on a column of the temple.
Jean Wee, NHB director of preservation of Sites and Monuments, said national monuments need to be protected carefully and sensitively through meticulous restorations. "It is therefore important for us to work hand-in-hand with monument owners and do the best we can to safeguard our heritage," The Straits Times quoted Ms. Wee as saying.
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