Angela Albrecht—Advocating for Trauma Survivors

Angela Albrecht—Advocating for Trauma Survivors

June 21, 2022 • ISSUE 628

Angela Albrecht

Advocating for Trauma Survivors

Angela Albrecht just completed her Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree online and was the recipient of an Outstanding Student Award at this year’s graduation ceremonies.
 
Angela is a real estate investor who lives in the mountains of Virginia. Over the past 20 years she has taken on many roles to counsel and advocate for people who suffered trauma. She has worked as a minister, pastoral care specialist, and trauma informed specialist.
 
She earned an associate degree in legal studies, as well as degrees in holistic therapy and theology. After the loss of her husband due to cancer, she focused on raising her daughter, caring for her family, and acting as a hospice care volunteer and court-appointed special advocate for children.
 
Last year she decided to complete her bachelor’s degree from an accredited university to fulfill a dream neither her mother nor grandmother was able to achieve and to inspire her children, grandchildren, and all future generations to pursue their dreams.

Angela with one grandniece and two grandchildren

“A lot of what I have learned at MIU has always been part of my belief system,” she said. “MIU’s integration of ancient traditions, objective science, and the subjective experience of transcendental consciousness changed my belief into awareness.”
 
Angela has enjoyed attending her online classes and sharing experiences with fellow students. She found the weekend TM® Retreats especially beneficial for taking time for herself and recharging for her next course.
 
“After learning TM, I was transformed,” she said. “I finally experienced and understood the peace ‘which passeth all understanding’, which I was taught during my Christian upbringing.”
 
For her senior project, Angela created workshops on how the TM technique, along with Yoga asanas and breathing techniques, can mitigate the effects of individual and societal trauma. She will be offering these workshops to the public, social service offices, and schools in her community. She also plans to become a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation technique to be able to offer the experience of transcendental consciousness.

Yao Yao—The Art of Tea

Yao Yao—The Art of Tea

June 13, 2022 • ISSUE 627

Yao Yao—The Art of Tea

MIU student Yao Yao grew up in the province of Zhejiang in eastern China. As a child she studied classical Chinese art forms, including painting, calligraphy, and traditional dance.
 
Yao’s parents encouraged her to study marketing, but she realized she wanted to study subjects that had more immediate benefit to her life. About ten years ago she came to the US and became a certified yoga teacher and then a licensed sports massage therapist.

Demonstrating Qigong at a Montessori school in Forth Worth, Texas in 2017

At the same time, she developed new interests in other traditional Asian arts—Thai boxing and Chinese tea culture. She began studying the history, philosophy, and medicine of tea remotely with a teacher in China. Then she travelled to Beijing to study at the Xian Lai Wu Shi tea academy and became a certified tea art specialist. “I am passionate about tea,” she said. “It brings me joy and it brings other people joy.”
 
In the summer of 2021 Yao was scheduled to travel to China for another course on tea, but due to COVID travel restrictions her trip was cancelled at the last minute. She decided to expand her knowledge of agriculture and found MIU’s Regenerative Organic Agriculture Program. The nine-month certificate program seemed the perfect way to spend her time until she could return to China to study tea.

Performing a Chinese tea ceremony

She also began developing a business to export organic specialty teas from China and traveled around the country performing tea ceremonies in tea houses.
 
Yao enjoys the hands-on nature of the agriculture program and working on the MIU farm with fellow students. She has been sharing her stories and appreciation of tea with students and the Fairfield community.
 
Having practiced Buddhist mediation before, Yao appreciates the Transcendental Meditation® technique. “I see it as self-healing and self-improvement,” she said. “I recheck my health and mental state and I appreciate the time after class when we meditate.”

With the cow herd at the MIU farm

Alumni Featured in Documentary on PTSD Recovery

Alumni Featured in Documentary on PTSD Recovery

June 6, 2022 • ISSUE 626

Alumni Featured in Documentary

on PTSD Recovery

Rouzanna Vardanyan (MBA) and David Shapiro (MA SCI) appear in the documentary Ending the War Within about bringing relief from war trauma in Armenia through the Transcendental Meditation® program.
 
David, president of the Alliance for PTSD Recovery, and Rouzanna, director of the MIU Library and an Armenian teacher of the TM® technique, have been working since the spring of 2021 to help thousands of Armenians suffering from the trauma of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war.
 
The documentary was created by Tigran Nersisian, an award-winning young filmmaker in Los Angeles who was born in Yerevan, Armenia. Tigran learned the TM technique in 2020 after reading David Lynch’s book Catching the Big Fish.

MIU alumna Rouzanna Vardanyan, MIU alumnus David Shapiro

David and Rouzanna have been part of the ArmeniaRecoveryNowteam focused on bringing the TM program to veterans, displaced persons, children, healthcare workers, and the general public in Armenia, all deeply affected by the war. The humanitarian program was developed by non-profit organizations including the Alliance for PTSD Recovery, MIU’s Center for Social-Emotional Health and Consciousness, and David Lynch Foundation Caucasus.
 
Rouzanna came to MIU from Armenia 10 years ago after serving as a lawyer with the International Red Cross in Armenia. Seeing the suffering in Armenia, she felt compelled to help. She took a two-month leave from MIU and flew to Armenia to teach the TM technique.

Rouzanna teaching the TM technique at an NGO in Armenia

“Armenia is a small country in the Caucasus region,” said Rouzanna. “Many of its 10 provinces have borders where there was still conflict. Teaching there was a big challenge, but also a great delight. People frightened by air attacks and political unrest experienced inner peace.”
 
David Shapiro has contributed to the ArmeniaRecoveryNow project by creating proposals to government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and raising funds to support teachers, teaching facilities, courses, and travel to bring Transcendental Meditation not just to the capital but to every area of the country. He is also the co-author of several studies on the effectiveness of the TM technique for PTSD.

Bat-Ulzii Bayarsaikhan —The Long Road to MIU

Bat-Ulzii Bayarsaikhan —The Long Road to MIU

May 30, 2022 • ISSUE 625

Bat-Ulzii Bayarsaikhan

The Long Road to MIU

MIU student Bat-Ulzii Bayarsaikhan studied oriental philosophy at the Institute of Oriental Philosophy and Humanities in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and had always been interested in meditation. He first heard about MIU eight years ago from his younger sister, who was about to enroll in the Accounting Professionals MBA. “I saw her schedule at MIU, the Transcendental Meditation® technique, and the vegetarian food, and I was jealous,” he said.
 
At the time, Bat-Ulzii worked at the Mongolian-Korean Polytechnic College in Ulaanbaatar as the administrator of the technical education department that trained students in the wool manufacturing trade. Five years ago he came to the US to study English as a Second Language and then earned an associate degree in human service and social work from Ivy Tech Community College in Marion, Indiana.
 
By this time, his sister had graduated from MIU and kept encouraging Bat-Ulzii to enroll. When he learned about the MA in Consciousness and Human Potential program, he finally applied.

With MIU classmates during a TM Retreat

“The meditation attracted me, and when I saw the MIU website, I loved everything,” he said. A few months after enrolling, he also learned the TM-Sidhi® program. “That was the best thing I did in my life,” he said, “I’ve never missed a single day.”
 
In addition to benefitting from his practice of the TM program, Bat-Ulzii appreciates the scientific approach to the study of consciousness offered in his classes. “The block system is also great because there is no tension,” he said. “I can enjoy each subject and learn a lot.”
 
His favorite subject is Sanskrit, and he is fascinated by the mechanism of the vibrational qualities of Sanskrit sounds influencing the nervous system and consciousness. He also likes reading Maharishi’s commentary on the Bhagavad Gita.

MIU Celebrates Golden Jubilee

MIU Celebrates Golden Jubilee

May 23, 2022 • ISSUE 624

MIU Celebrates Golden Jubilee

At the end of April MIU celebrated its 50th anniversary with a five-day gathering packed with fun and learning. Attendees had a chance to meet with old friends, professors, students, and staff and learn about the history of the university.
 
One of the highlights of the event was the groundbreaking for the Global Peace Village on May 3, the Day of Lasting Achievements in the Vedic Calendar. The Global Peace Village will replace Utopia Park with Maharishi Vastu® homes to create a permanent peace-creating group. Raja Howard Settle laid the cornerstone for this transformational development representing the next phase of establishing campus as the home of North America’s creating coherence group.

Raja Howard Settle breaking ground on the Global Peace Village with President John Hagelin (photo by Ken West)

Ken Ross speaking at the new Alexander and Beatrice Ross Theater, named after his parents (photo by Ken West)

The inauguration of the Alexander and Beatrice Ross Theater took place in the newly renovated Wege Center for the Arts, which also featured exhibits by faculty, Alexander and Beatrice Ross, and Canadian artist Chris Cran. In addition, a new Maharishi Archive exhibition opened in the library, celebrating the teachings and contributions of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

The Maharishi Archive exhibit in the library

During the weekend, MIU also launched the Dr. Tony Nader Institute for Research and Consciousness and performed a ribbon cutting ceremony for the renovation of the swimming pool.
 
A series of talks offered insights into the latest faculty research and new MIU programs. Dr. Tony Nader gave the keynote address, while MIU faculty, alumni, and staff gave presentations about the history of the university, as well as a vision of the next five years featuring the next generation of MIU leadership.

Raja Howard Settle, President John Hagelin, and Dr. Tony Nader in the Maharishi Patanjali Golden Dome (photo by Ken West)

The Golden Jubilee also offered tours of campus, Maharishi School, and Vastu homes, a welcome dinner and alumni picnic, a trade fair in the Argiro Student Center, fireworks, and musical entertainment.

Faculty member Mark Stimson introducing the Sustainable Living Building to guests during a campus tour

Students and alumni offering art and food at the trade fair

View photos and videos of the Golden Jubilee here.

Review on Maharishi Vedic Architecture Published in Health Journal

Review on Maharishi Vedic Architecture Published in Health Journal

May 16, 2022 • ISSUE 623

Review on Maharishi Vedic Architecture Published in Health Journal

Summary of findings on Maharishi Vastu architecture

Elements of Vedic home design can promote physical and mental health, improved quality of life, reduced stress, and better sleep. These findings appear in the first comprehensive review of published studies on the benefits of Maharishi Vastu® architecture (MVA), recently published in Global Advances in Health and Medicine.
 
“The goal of Maharishi Vastu architecture is to improve occupants’ lives,” said Jon Lipman, AIA, lead author of the study and director of the Institute for Vedic Architecture at MIU. “It is gratifying to find research that shows how Vastu buildings can improve our health and productivity.”

Summary of descriptive results on MVA, health, and well-being

Some of the key findings of the review include:
  • Sleeping with one’s head to the east or south is associated with positive health outcomes, such as lower heart rate, blood pressure, and serum cholesterol levels.
  • Homes with south entrances are associated with poorer mental health and more financial problems.
  • Facing east while working is associated with greater brain coherence and faster task completion.
  • Occupants of Maharishi Vastu architecture homes or office buildings display greater creativity and report improved health and quality of life.

Jon Lipman and Dr. Robert Schneider

MVA is the holistic wellness architecture system Maharishi revived with over 20 principles, including east facing main entrances, buildings aligned with the cardinal directions, and floor plans assigning key functions to specific locations within the building.
 
Previous research on the impact of buildings focused primarily on assessing stress reduction and increasing comfort and well-being. The findings of this review reinforce the growing recognition that building design plays a key role in both causing and even potentially solving humanity’s health challenges.

Anna Bonshek and Lee Fergusson

“Modern medicine now recognizes the powerful effects of the ‘envirome’ on health,” said study co-author, Robert Schneider, MD, Dean of the College of Integrative Medicine at Maharishi International University. “The envirome includes all the natural and man-made elements of our environment throughout the lifespan, notably the built environment. This review of the science suggests that buildings constructed according to principles of Maharishi Vastu architecture function as positive elements in the envirome to enhance mental and physical health and well-being. Further, advances in neuroscience offer plausible physiological explanations for these effects.”
 
The results of the review suggests that Maharishi Vastu architecture offers a viable approach for using architectural design as a tool for promoting mental and physical health. Additional co-authors of the study were former MIU faculty Lee Fergusson, PhD, and Anna Bonshek, PhD.