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Latin America: Youth in rehabilitation centres can choose advanced meditation course for treatment
by Global Good News staff writer
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7 August 2012
For young participants in rehabilitation programmes offered by Fundacion Hogares Claret in Colombia, a new alternative therapy is available. In addition to traditional methods, founder Father Gabriel Mejia offers yoga, Transcendental Meditation, and its advanced programmes.
Members of Hogares Claret's many centres are mainly underprivileged children and youth struggling with drug addiction. Though they were initially offered more traditional treatments to combat addiction, the centres are now largely focusing on alternative therapies, due to enormous success in this area.
The patients learn Yoga asanas, Surya namaskar (sun salutations), and pranayama (breathing exercise) in addition to learning the meditation technique.
After instruction in Transcendental Meditation, they join several in-residence courses, where they meditate daily in large groups and have a chance to deepen their experience. Then they can choose whether they want to learn the advanced meditation techniques known as the Transcendental Meditation Sidhi programme, with approval of centre administrators before enrolling.
For Father Mejia, this meditation programme, especially the advanced techniques, is a flagship programme that offers a kind of rehabilitation other approaches have not provided. Extensive scientific research has documented substantial physical and mental health benefits of Transcendental Meditation in youth and other populations at high risk for traumatic stress, addiction, and hypertension through reducing stress and cardiovascular risk factors, and promoting integrated brain functioning.
A teacher of Transcendental Meditation explained that for Father Mejia, the experience of 'transcendence and inner silence during Transcendental Meditation bring fulfilment to other rehabilitation actions, because they provide the full rehabilitation experience'.
In addition, Dr Pedro Ojeda, a longtime administrator of the Transcendental Meditation-Sidhi programme who works with Fundacion Hogares Claret, added that he is being asked more and more frequently to instruct residents in these advanced programmes. In the past this happened sporadically, but now it is a permanent activity of teaching, and its popularity is growing.
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