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Priest Advocates use of Yoga to Combat HIV-AIDS

Panaji: Fr Joseph Pereira, the first Christian priest to be awarded the Padma Shri for social work this year, has said that in India where anti-retroviral treatment is beyond the reach of most people, yoga can delay the onset of full–blown AIDS by five to ten years, depending on the age of the person.

Popularly known as Fr Joe, the 67–year–old founder of Kripa foundation has done pioneering work in the field of yoga for alcohol de-addiction and HIVAIDS in India and abroad for the last 27 years.

A native of Vasai, the priest attended the anniversary celebrations of Kripa Rehabilitation Centre at Anjuna on February 15 and is presently teaching yoga to a group of Britishers. He is a certified instructor in the B K S Iyengar school of yoga.

Fr Joe has established several Kripa centres in Goa, including the Kripa counselling centre at Mapusa and the Kripa rehabilitation centre at Anjuna. “I teach yoga for alcohol addiction recovery and for HIVAIDS. Yoga is a very powerful means for strengthening the immune system of a person,” Fr Joe said.

Kripa also runs a employee assistance programme to optimise employee performance at the Goa Shipyard Limited, Vasco. Kripa has 48 facilities in 11 states in India and six collaborative centres in Zurich–Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, Canada, USA and Sao Paolo–Brazil.

Reminiscing, Fr Joe said it was in 1981 that he first treated three patients from Mother Theresa’s Home in Mumbai for addiction, and all three got cured. Mother Theresa was so happy that she called him to Kolkatta and offered him her male orphanage to open his second and one of the largest rehabilitation centres in Kolkatta.

Source: Times of India

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