Does Income Determine Happiness?

There's a growing gap between the rich and poor in the U.S. that, according to the Pew Research Center, will continue to widen under the current economic conditions. This presents a huge problem for society, not only because it means a rising percentage of people will be faced with financial hardship, hunger and homelessness, but also because many believe that only the wealthy can be happy.

An August 2010 study by Princeton University researchers suggested that money does in fact buy happiness. The survey, which questioned some 450,000 people, found that those who make less than $75,000 per year reported being unhappier than those who made above this amount, and the less they made the less happy they felt. It's important to keep in mind that people's definitions of happiness vary. To some, it means feeling content and uplifted as they go through each day, while others may believe it's a more general satisfaction with the state of their lives.

While the study exposes some interesting information about the effects of income inequality, but what's more interesting is what it reveals about the importance that our society has assigned to money. Television and movies may portray the rich as joyful and content and the poor as miserable, but the reality of the situation is that all people tend to measure satisfaction with life on deeper issues.

Boston College developmental psychologist Robert Kenny conducted a survey that supports what Ilchi Lee emphasizes in his teachings – that money isn't mandatory for obtaining happiness in life. Kenny conducted a survey of high-income households that asked, among other questions, "What is the greatest aspiration for your life?" For the most part, people's answers had nothing to do with money. Rather, most said that their biggest aspiration was to be a good parent and noted that money can only go so far when it comes to raising children. But any person, with enough care and patience, can be a good parent, in the same way that anyone can find happiness in life.

In one of the enriching Ilchi Lee books – the second edition of "Brain Wave Vibration: Getting Back into the Rhythm of a Happy, Healthy Life" – the Dahn Yoga founder discussed the potential for all people to reach greatness.

"I don't believe in greatness that is bestowed as a rare gift to a few lucky ones," Ilchi Lee wrote. "Rather, I think all people have greatness inside them. It is just a matter of persistence - sticking to what you have envisioned until it is reality. I have a deep conviction that everyone, including you, has been given exactly the right set of gifts to fulfill some magnificent purpose in life. Greatness must simply be chosen. And if you choose it, it will happen."

The potential for greatness is within all of us. No matter your circumstances, you have the capacity to obtain financial stability, reach your goals and, more importantly, find happiness through spiritual growth and self-development.

In  Change: Realizing Your Greatest Potential,” Ilchi Lee explains the concept of LifeParticles.

What are LifeParticles?

Every human being and element - water, air, dirt - in the universe contains tiny morsels of ki, or life energy. This energy is continuously vibrating at different frequencies. These bits of ki move about through space and time, passing along information, spurting life and creating the universe as we know it. Ilchi Lee coined the term LifeParticles to refer to these fragments of universal energy.

In one of the enlightening Ilchi Lee books, "Change: Realizing Your Greatest Potential," the New York Times bestselling author explains the widespread nature of LifeParticles:

"All beings are made up of LifeParticles, and ceaselessly interact and communicate on this deeper level of reality. Through this connection, all beings affect and reflect each other. Whatever we do, we do to ourselves. Whatever comes out of us comes back."

LifeParticles are the building blocks of life, and any person can use this energy to create or do anything, but you must first learn to harness your ki. For example, you can give LifeParticles to others to help them heal by thinking of a person and mentally directing your energy toward them.

The Effect of Breathing on Emotional Stability

It's common sense that breathing is essential – humans need oxygen to stay alive. Most people don't pay attention to respiration. After all, our autonomic nervous systems automatically do it for us. But it's important to understand that oxidation of the cells is not only necessary for keeping your organs working properly – as Ilchi Lee discusses in his books and teachings, it's also crucial for the body's production of energy and, for that reason, can greatly affect mood and emotion.

Training yourself to breathe properly – deeply and steadily – can have many mental, emotional and physical health benefits. It can lower blood pressure, enhance the immune system and make you feel overall more vibrant. It can also make you more focused and attentive on a daily basis and help you better connect with your emotions. In one of the inspiring Ilchi Lee books, "Change: Realizing Your Greatest Potential," the New York Times bestselling author discussed the immense capacities of focused breathing.

"[I]f you close your eyes and begin to feel your breath, it will instantly become deeper and slower, and your mind will become calmer," Lee wrote. "Then gradually you'll become aware of your body, or more precisely the subtle sense of energy inside and around your body. At that moment, you exist as Energy-Consciousness, not as names, jobs, duties, roles, desires, and so on."

There are many techniques one can practice to beat shallow, unsteady respiration. Dahn Yoga classes incorporate core energy breathing, an exercise that focuses on the body's energy system. Along with meditation and meridian stretching, it can help you develop your core, improve respiration and enhance your natural ability to heal physically, mentally and emotionally.

Exploring Brain Wave Vibration During Brain Awareness Week

March 10 through 16, 2014, is Brain Awareness Week, a worldwide campaign dedicated to increasing public knowledge of the importance of a healthy brain as well as the need for further research into cognitive function. As the president of the International Brain Education Association, Ilchi Lee is also committed to teaching the world about the power and potential of gray matter.

People often underestimate the great influence the state of the brain can have on every aspect of one's wellness or the ramifications that come from failing to keep the mind healthy and embracing its power. Many of the Dahn Yoga founder's books have discussed the immense grip that the brain has on all facets of our being. In "Human Technology: A Toolkit for Authentic Living," for instance, he discussed the importance of taking control of your own mind.

"In order to be the master of your life, you must first recognize that you are the rightful master of your brain, its owner and operator," Lee wrote.

Among the Ilchi Lee books, "Brain Wave Vibration: Getting Back Into the Rhythm of a Happy, Healthy Life," is perhaps the most relevant to someone looking to take control of their thinking organ and, in effect, their own health and happiness. The book informs that the mind affects much more than our ability to think, remember and other cognitive functions – it's essential to our physical and emotional well-being. Keeping your brain fit and learning to use it to master our own mental and physical abilities and to enhance the body's healing process.

His informative writings are just one part of the Ilchi Lee brain education initiative. The method's effectiveness in enhancing the health of gray matter is why Brain Wave Vibration is an important component of Dahn Yoga classes. The holistic healing method involves rhythmic movements and mindfulness that help balance the mind and body. It's based on the notion that all people already possess their own healing power, but it can only be accessed once we stop allowing stress and bad thoughts to suppress the brain's capacity to heal.

"Every living creature possesses a natural healing ability, which is essentially the ability to bring one's body back into equilibrium,"  Ilchi Lee wrote in "Brain Wave Vibration."

By reducing stress and clearing the mind, this practice can help you escape the fight or flight state that so many people are stuck in on a daily basis. In turn, it may lead to a steadier, healthier heart rate, increased organ function and more relaxed muscles. Other benefits include enhanced creativity, increased blood flow to the brain and a generally happier mood thanks to a boost of serotonin in the body. Combined, these effects can help you become a more rounded person overall – more physically fit, emotionally stable and mentally capable.

People can utilize meditation techniques to improve their moods and general outlook on life.

Meditation for a Brighter Outlook

The month just before spring sets in can be one of the gloomiest parts of the year. Many people become fed up with the bad weather and lack of sunlight, and some reach the height of their seasonal affective disorder during this time. But there are things you can do to improve your mental and emotional state – meditation techniques for concentration can be particularly helpful for enhancing your positive outlook on life.

Mindful meditation works to improve your mood by helping you focus on the present moment rather than obsessing over the past and future, which can help you become more accepting of the state of your life as well as your self. In fact, studies have proven that people who engage in meditation techniques experience not only decreased stress but also a more positive disposition on a daily basis.

In his book, "LifeParticle Meditation: A Practical Guide to Healing and Transformation," Dahn Yoga founder Ilchi Lee discussed the mind's capacity to control your emotions and attitude toward the world around you.

"Your mind creates everything," Ilchi Lee wrote. "Your conscious mind has much greater power than you can ever imagine. Your mind can create blessings or disasters, can heal or harm, can bring abundance or absence. It is up to your mind whether the world looks hopeful or hopeless."

Better Decisions Through Physical Fitness

Through a variety of health-improvement programs and education initiatives, founder of Dahn Yoga Ilchi Lee teaches people about the importance of maintaining wellness. Living a lifestyle based on good eating habits and fitness is essential, but it's about more than just your physical form. People must actively pursue mental and emotional well-being to enhance their positive energy and lead an overall happy and healthy life, and it can even be effective in improving your decision-making skills.

There's a strong tie between the mind and body. Those with poor health may often find that they have a weak mental capacity and will. They may also be emotionally unstable, suffering from mood swings or depression, which can lead to poor decision-making.

It's no surprise that exercising nearly instantly improves mood by releasing endorphins throughout your system, but exercise also directly affects the brain by increasing the amount of blood that pumps to the organ and, in effect, providing it with ample oxygen and nutrients that are required for your brain to work efficiently. Those who work out regularly, such as with tai chi exercises and yoga poses, may find that they are mentally sharper, think more clearly and have a stronger will, which all translate to better decision-making skills.

In one of the motivational Ilchi Lee books, "Change: Realizing Your Greatest Potential," The New York Times bestselling author emphasizes the importance of health and its ability to help you make better decisions.

"When you become healthy, courageous and hopeful, following your conscience becomes easier," Ilchi Lee wrote. "When people are healthy, courageous and hopeful, it's difficult to bend their mind and will. You can't force them to do what you'd like them to do against their will. They will speak out what they believe, and stand up and do what is right even when it means a loss to them."

Finding Peace and Happiness as a Single on Valentine’s Day

For many, Valentine's is a day of romance and happiness. It's the time of the year to show your special someone just how much you adore him or her. But for others, it's not such a pleasant holiday. Those who do not have a significant other – whether due to a recent breakup, death or another factor – often find themselves feeling lonely and isolated on this occasion; however, as Ilchi Lee emphasizes in his books, obtaining happiness and fulfillment is about finding peace within, not from another person. If you find yourself feeling unloved during Valentine's Day this year, consider these suggestions to keep your spirits high:

Gain Some Perspective
It can be easy to indulge in sadness and self pity when you find yourself single on the couples' holiday, but it's important to stay grounded. You're not the only one who isn't celebrating the day with wining and dining – there are plenty of other people out there who are single, and many go about their day without even recognizing the occasion. In fact, a lot of couples choose not to commemorate Valentine's Day, shrugging it off as just another Hallmark holiday created to make money for the greeting card industry. It's also important to keep in mind that there will plenty more Valentine's Days in your future.

Control Your Emotions
If you find yourself feeling down, do your best to maintain your emotions and stay positive. You might engage in some meditation, go for a walk to clear your mind or call up a close friend for support. You can also turn to a useful quote from one of the inspiring Ilchi Lee books, "The Call of the Sedona: Journey of the Heart."

"We have to learn how to ride the waves of our emotions as if we were surfing, instead of floundering and getting swept up in them," Lee wrote. "Just as it's important to keep your balance when surfing, you don't get pulled by the undertow of your emotions when you're firmly rooted in your center which is your True Self."

Treat Yourself
While couples are trying to impress their significant others with flowers and chocolates, you can use this holiday to show yourself just how much you care about you. Spend the day focusing on some self-pampering with a trip to the spa. For a more affordable option, treat yourself to a hot bath by candlelight followed by a session of yoga poses to get your energy flowing, and end the evening with dinner and a movie in the comfort of your own home. If you want a day out of the house, head to places that aren't pushing the theme of romance. Fine dining restaurants and movie theaters might be a bad idea, but sporting events and nightclubs are more likely to be Valentine's Day-free.

Contestants have a chance to win one of the inspirational Ilchi Lee books, "Healing Chakras: Awaken Your Body's Energy System for Complete Health, Happiness, and Peace."

Ilchi Lee Book Featured in Goodreads Giveaway Contest

Founder of Dahn Yoga Ilchi Lee is dedicated to promoting health, self-improvement and peace throughout the world. That's why he continues to organize wellness programs and write works that motivate people to pursue change, such as his book, "Healing Chakras: Awaken Your Body's Energy System for Complete Health, Happiness, and Peace," a guide to properly utilizing the power of your chakras.

Right now, "Healing Chakras" is featured in a Goodreads Book Giveaway contest that gives participants an opportunity to win a copy of the book. Contestants must enter online through Goodreads by Feb. 28. Winners will be randomly selected until supplies run out and mailed a copy to own. The book includes detailed, full-color images of the chakras and easy-to-follow exercise instructions with illustrations as well as a CD that discusses guided meditation.

Like other Ilchi Lee books, "Healing Chakras" is intended to improve the wellness of your mind, body and spirit. It teaches you to use Chakra healing methods based on ancient Korean energy practices to enhance mental clarity, increase concentration and decrease stress. The goal is to help readers uncover their inner passions so that they can pursue change and find inner peace.

Ilchi Lee Teachings Offered Through Online Martial Arts Course

New York Times bestselling author Ilchi Lee is widely known as the founder of Dahn Yoga, but he also developed a complex system of movements called Dahn Mu Do. This martial art is based on the traditional Korean healing and defense techniques and has helped many people recover from mental, physical and emotional issues.

Ilchi Lee developed this martial art when he started teaching public qi​ gong sessions in South Korea in the 1980s, taking from his comprehensive knowledge of the principles of traditional East Asian healing methods. He used it to further the Ilchi Lee education model, which is part of a larger movement to help people improve all aspects of themselves – physical, mental and spiritual. Now, those interested in learning about Dahn Mu Do can take an online martial arts course based on the practice.

The course, "Dahn Mu Do: Martial Arts for Healing," became available Jan. 21, 2014, on Students receive video instruction from experienced teacher Soo Ahm Lee, who imparts the wisdom learned from Ilchi Lee and the holistic healing principles of Korea. Along with imparting knowledge of pressure points, the meridian system and other long-established pathways to wellness, the instructor demonstrates the dynamic movements that enhance energy and increase circulation in the body and, in effect, help you become more aware of your body and improve your health.

In the introductory video, for example, Soo Ahm Lee gives students the basics of the practice and discusses his passion for the martial art as well as its positive effect on his life.

"Through this training, I've changed in many ways," Soo Ahm Lee said. "My body has become healthier, and mentally, I have experienced peace. I used to be very impatient, but now I have become much calmer. You certainly could say that my life has changed. I've had miraculous experiences and I've gone through many changes in my life which would have been unimaginable had I not done this training. … You can recover your health. You can recover your self worth, your self confidence and many things like this through the training. And you can even obtain peace of mind."

While Dahn Mu Do is beginning to gain popularity in the U.S. thanks to Ilchi Lee education initiatives, practices just like it, such as qi​ gong, are everyday activities in Korea. The immense healing capacity of these techniques have been passed down since ancient times, helping people live happier, healthier lives. Soo Ahm Lee hopes to spread the word of Dahn Mu Do throughout the U.S. and inspire Americans to take their wellness into their own hands.

Ilchi Lee’s Change Challenge Kicks Off Today

Many people start the New Year with resolutions in mind – habits or aspects of their lives they want to improve upon to better themselves, their communities and the world. But too often, people don't take the initiative to actually make that change. That's why wellness expert Ilchi Lee is hosting the Change Challenge, a 21-day program that involves planning and communication tools to help you fulfill your resolutions.

In his book, "Change: Realizing Your Greatest Potential," Ilchi Lee teaches us that real transformation doesn't occur just by will alone; improvement is up to you. By altering your perspective and energy and putting in real, tangible effort, you can be happier and healthier and positively affect the lives of the people around you. But making change takes time and sacrifice.

"If a change in our lives require individually or socially painful sacrifices, it will be difficult to put into effect no matter how necessary that change might be." Lee wrote. "However, if we start down the road of transformation with simple, enjoyable and tangible changes, we will soon be prepared to tackle larger issues."

The Change Challenge is intended to help you reach your self-development goals in 2014. It's an interactive, online event run through that begins Jan. 11 and runs through Jan 31. It involves implementing a 21-day, step-by-step plan using a resolution calendar that provides you with daily affirmations, weekly themes and motivational articles. You can also fill out a live survey to share your personal goals for growth with the world. Using these tools to plan out and track the steps necessary to make a transformation gives you have solid, visual proof of your progress, and it can inspire you to continue on the path to change.

Ilchi Lee Brain Education Books Released in Chinese Language

Two Ilchi Lee Brain Education Books Released in Chinese Language Editions

The Ilchi Lee education model is focused on helping people utilize yoga, meditation and energy healing to improve their health and everyday lives. That's why The New York Times bestselling author wrote "Brain Wave Vibration" and "In Full Bloom," both of which focus on training the mind in order to uncover latent potential and increase conscious awareness.

These two Ilchi Lee books have recently been made available to a wider audience: They have been released in Chinese language editions through Gold Wall Press, a Beijing-based publishing house.

Now, Chinese speakers can learn the basics of the technique through the introductory "Brain Wave Vibration," which exposes the reader to the simple mind-body practice involving rhythmic vibrations and shaking exercises. These exercises are aimed at helping you reduce stress, increase vitality and uncover creativity, as well as promoting general well-being. In this publication, Lee explains that the brain waves create stress responses within our bodies and, by controlling and guiding those waves, we can relieve ourselves of tension and find health and peace.

For a more in-depth look at Ilchi Lee brain wave vibration, Chinese speakers can engross themselves in "In Full Bloom." This publication, which won a silver medal in the Living Now Book Awards, goes beyond the basics of this mind-body technique and is aimed at older adults. While many believe the aging brain is weaker and less adept, it actually has unique capabilities that can be discovered and utilized with the proper training. "In Full Bloom" is a guide that helps readers maintain and enhance their grey matter. By utilizing this Ilchi Lee brain education method, seniors can lead healthy, happy lives in their golden years thanks to increased memory, energy, strength and focus.

Ilchi Lee's brain education requires you to let go of rational thought and embrace your ki.

Brain Education and Looking Beyond Rational Thought

Whether we realize it or not, at every moment, we are enveloped in flowing life energy, or ki. Many people are unable to feel it, but there are ways of enhancing the senses in order to perceive and embrace our ki. That's where Ilchi Lee brain education can help.

In his teachings, Lee emphasizes the importance of the brain. This organ both creates and controls every single part of your life, from your physical movements to your motivations. Brain education incorporates focused breathing exercises that increase and accumulate the energy flowing throughout our bodies. This energy is what connects the mind to the body; however, in order to utilize brain energy techniques, you must be consciously aware of your ki, which requires you to look beyond logic and embrace the current and spontaneous moment.

In one of the enlightening Ilchi Lee books, "Brain Wave Vibration: Getting Back Into the Rhythm of a Happy, Healthy Life," the New York Times bestselling author discusses humanity's unnatural over-reliance on logic.

"Our exclusive dependence on rational thought and language has obscured our natural ability to sense the flow of energy. It is up to us to reawaken it."

To celebrate Ilchi Lee's new book, Best Life Media is holding a quote contest and prize giveaway.

Best Life Media Hosts an Ilchi Lee Goodreads Quote Contest

In September 2013, Best Life Media published Ilchi Lee's "Change: Realizing Your Greatest Potential," a guide for empowering people to take on new perspectives and make changes for the better. To celebrate the release, the publisher is hosting an exciting new contest and giveaway in collaboration with Goodreads, giving energy healing and yoga fans an opportunity to take home prizes.

To enter, participants must enter a quote by The New York Times bestselling author through Goodreads before 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31. You can submit any quote of your choosing from the variety of Ilchi Lee books, from his early "The Twelve Enlightenments for Healing Society" to his most recent, "Change."

The first 60 participants to enter a post will receive one of their choice of albums: "Inspiration for Your Day: Poems and Messages to Lift Your Heart" and "LifeParticle Energy Meditation." Up to 10 winners will win these Ilchi Lee education tools in CD format, while the rest will get digital versions. Prizes will be awarded until the end of the contest or until supplies run out. After entering your quote on Goodreads, you can claim your prize by filling out a form through Best Life Media.

Ilchi Lee's film, "Change: The Particle Effect," won several awards at the International Film Festival in Indonesia.

Ilchi Lee Video is a Big Winner at International Film Festival

April 2013 saw the premier of Ilchi Lee's film, "Change: The LifeParticle Effect." The New York Times bestselling author created this dynamic documentary as a guide for anyone stuck in a rut who is seeking a change for the better. It has helped countless people develop a stronger connection between the mind and body, and now the film has been recognized at the the International Film Festival.

Held in Jakarta, Indonesia, this year's International Film Festival was the first to feature a "Spirituality, Religion and Visionary" category. It's aim is to call attention to inspirational movies that promote peace and harmony as well as commitment to spirituality. So it's no surprise that "Change" received huge praise under this category.

The Nov. 27 ceremony not only featured a screening of Ilchi Lee's film, but "Change" also won several awards, including 10 different "Awards of Excellence," "Best Short Documentary" and the "Gold Award." Lee was immensely grateful for the recognition of his achievements and graciously accepted the awards, telling the crowd of his future goal to "keep moving forward after this film and keep creating change in the world."

Ilchi Lee encourages readers to accept that change is a part of nature in order to reach greater enlightenment.

Embracing the Inevitability of Change

In his book "Change: Realizing Your Greatest Potential," Ilchi Lee discusses the inevitability of transformation. While change presents us with new opportunities and experiences, many fear it, and this book is directed at those people. The author provides a guide to embracing change and allowing it to empower rather than frighten so you can open yourself up to a happier, healthier lifestyle.

"Change is the very nature of Nature," Ilchi Lee wrote. "If there's one thing that doesn't change, it is the fact that everything changes."

He went on to discuss impermanence, a Tao concept that holds that nothing in the universe is constant – all things that are created alter with time and every beginning leads to an end, and this is simply a natural and unavoidable part of life. Only after you are able to let go of the notion of permanence and embrace change can you begin to move forward and heal.

"Realizing that nothing is permanent is the true beginning of enlightenment. Suffering comes from attachment that wants to hold something permanently that is not permanent in its intrinsic nature. Awakening to the truth of impermanence frees you from attachment."

Sedona is a place of great beauty that can help you find your dreams.

The Importance of Dreams

Whether they concern your career, romance or other aspects of life, dreams are essential. They push us to challenge ourselves, inspire us to go beyond our comfort zones, and give value and meaning to everyday life. But, especially with the bustle of the modern world, it can be easy to lose sight of the things that matter and give up on our aspirations. That's why Ilchi Lee emphasizes the importance of dreams in his book, "The Call of Sedona: Journey of the Heart."

"Dreams are reality that has not become true," Lee writes. "However, in the hearts of some people, they have already come true. People whose dreams are already achieved in their hearts, and who can see that as they boldly throw themselves into it, have true courage."

Lee encourages people to reconnect with lost dreams or find new ones by rediscovering nature. Sedona, Ariz., is a place of immense spirituality that can enliven the soul, awaken your inner-knowledge and inspire you to pursue what you desire. And, while having and embracing your aspirations are necessary for self-development, it's even more important to chase after those goals.

Ilchi Lee’s “Change” film was recognized for being an inspiration for peace, harmony and well-being.

Ilchi Lee’s New Movie Wins International Film Festival Award of Excellence

In April 2013, the world was introduced to the film, "Change: The LifeParticle Effect." Created by Dahn Yoga founder and meditation expert Ilchi Lee, a New York Times bestselling author, the documentary serves as a guide for anyone seeking to change his or her life for the better but feels stuck in a rut.

The movie has touched countless lives and, for that reason, received recognition from spiritual movement leaders like Neale Donald Walsch and Michael Beckwith. Most recently, "Change" won the Award of Excellence in the International Film Festival for Spirituality, Religion and Visionary. It was chosen for its capacity to inspire peace and well-being – the documentary provides a unique illustration of the connection between the mind and body and emphasizes that the two are not separate entities, but coexist as one. It also focuses on the notion that everything in the world has the potential for positivity and how to use that potential is each person's decision.

The official ceremony for the award will be held Nov. 27 in Jakarta, Indonesia's Planet Hollywood cinema, and Ilchi Lee is greatly appreciative of the distinction.

"I am pleased to hear that 'Change: The LifeParticle Effect' received an award such as this one, which promotes peace of mind and harmony for the individual and society." Lee said. "With this award, the message of 'Change' can empower more people to live their limitless potential."

A zen master hosted a one-hour meditation practice session that attracted 2,000 participants.

Zen Buddhist monk attracts thousands to meditation session

Many people engage in meditation practice in solitude – it's commonly believed that the quiet and confinement of being alone allows for greater self-reflection and increased focus. Meditating in large groups, however, can also be beneficial, adding an element of social bonding and community harmony to the personal-exploration practice. And when large numbers of people come together with the shared intentions of pursuing peace, the effects can be even more profound than going it alone.

Renowned Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh understands the powers of group meditation, and he recently held a massive session for people looking to take part in this mindful technique. According to The Boston Globe, Hanh was on an U.S. tour when he stopped by Boston. The Buddhist monk and peace activist sat on the lawn in front of Trinity Church for a one-hour session of seated meditation. He attracted an astonishing number of participants – more than 2,000 people took part.

The session brought the typically-bustling city center to a stand-still while the group conducted meditation practices for health and self-enlightenment. Quiet filled the air – aside from the sound of passing cars and Hahn's occasional instructions to breathe steadily – as the crowd engaged in soothing breathing exercise and focused their attention.

For veterans, finding peace can be a difficult process, but yoga can help.

Veterans finding peace with yoga

For anyone, finding peace within can be a long and arduous journey. However, veterans who have returned from war and experienced harrowing events have a much harder time obtaining a sense of inner harmony. That's where yoga can help.

About one in every five veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, which causes sensations of fear and heightened stress – even when the person is not in danger. Many retired and active service members turn to medications to find relief from this disorder, however, yoga is becoming an increasingly popular form of therapy for these brave men and women. Additionally, it can help people ease pain caused by injuries obtained during service. The Los Angeles Times, for instance, tells the story of Sgt. James Bernard, who has been utilizing yoga to successfully heal from the physical and emotional wounds of war.

The soothing breathing exercises of yoga, in particular, are effective at assisting veterans in finding peace. A researcher at Stanford University's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education looked into how breathing intervention helped people who returned from service. The study revealed that veterans who engaged in steady, deep breathing exercises for one week showed significant decreases in PTSD symptoms, and these benefits still remained a year after the study ended.

Choose the form of meditation practice that's right for you.

Which meditation practice is right for you?

Meditation practice requires intense focus, training and dedication, but the benefits are plentiful and worth the work. It has been proven to reduce stress, which can lead to greater emotional balance, lower blood pressure and even a stronger immune system. But there are many forms of this practice to choose from, the most common of which include:

Transcendental meditation

This method is what most people think of when they hear the word "meditation." The Hindu-rooted practice involves sitting in a lotus position and repeating a mantra while maintaining steady, relaxed breathing. The goal is to reach an elevated level of spirituality and to extend past your corporeal self.


Mindfulness is perhaps the most common type of meditation among Americans and an ideal form of meditation practices for beginners. It focuses on increased awareness of the world around you and of your own self. Also known as Vipassana, it is a Buddhist practice that encourages you to let your thoughts flow and your mind run its course, accepting whatever comes to your mind and then detaching yourself from those thoughts. The aim is to improve perception of oneself and external world, as well as the ability to cope with life issues.

Qi gong

This Taoist form of meditation focuses on breathing exercises to stimulate and control the flow of energy throughout the body. It also emphasizes concentration on three essential points of the body – the center of the chest, center of the forehead and the point just above the bellybutton. The goal is to reach an elevated state of consciousness and fix energy imbalances and blockages.

A collection of stories about Ilchi Lee's humanitarian activities and momentous events.