Based on the belief that "art is the appreciation of what is," the art of living is when people start appreciating life itself, and not the accessories of life. Proponents believe that to live life fully and freely is an art, requiring skill, intuition, creativity, and knowledge. The art of living reinforces human values and brings people from varied social, economic, geographic, cultural and religious backgrounds together in a spirit of service and celebration.
The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF) was founded by Sri Ravi Shankar as a nonprofit, international, educational, charitable and humanitarian organization. Born in 1956 in Papanasam, India, Shankar studied with many renowned spiritual masters and became a scholar of Vedic literature (ancient sacred writings of Hinduism written in early Sanskrit). By the age of 17, he obtained an advanced degree in Modern Physics and later received an Honorary Doctorate from Kuvempu University, Karnataka, India.
In 1982, Shankar founded the Art of Living Foundation. Through the regeneration of human values, Shankar seeks global peace and development by inspiring individuals toward self-awareness, joyful living, and selfless service. In 1997, he founded the International Association for Human Values (IAHV), which to date has development projects in 25,300 villages, bringing self-reliance and sustainability to millions of people.
The foundation offers programs in nearly 150 countries around the world. The AOLF is the largest volunteer based non-governmental organization in the world. The foundation's service projects, and its programs on yoga, meditation and stress elimination, have reached over 20 million people of various religions, cultures and traditions.
The AOLF also works with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) and participates in various committees and activities that are related to health, education and development.
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