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Blue and Yellow Ice: Reflections on Ukraine


Ukrainians are beacons of light, hope and inspiration for the world as they continue to fight and die for their freedom, their land and their culture against all odds.


BreathLogic co-founder Laurie Ellis-Young and her husband, George T. Ellis PsyD wrote much of their book, Breath Is Life TAKING IN and LETTING GO: How to Live Well, Love Well, BE Well while living in Ukraine from 2016-2021. At that time, Dr. Ellis worked for The Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OCSE) establishing a mental health program for OCSE Peace Monitors and staff working in critical situations throughout Ukraine.

 

Since the war started in February 2022, Ukrainians have experienced devastating war-related atrocities and trauma. Ukrainian psychologists, many of whom are now exiled all over Europe, are traumatized themselves, yet continue to help people as best they can.

 

In response to this grave need, Dr. George and Laurie started offering The Power of Breath workshops — weekly zoom sessions — to support these struggling mental health professionals. Participating psychologists benefitted from online sessions so much that they asked Dr. George and Laurie to help accelerate their learning with an in-person Professional Development Training course at a central location in Europe in 2022.

 

BreathLogic raised over $10,000 to fund that in-person course which was held in Cyprus in September 2022. The coping and breathing techniques Laurie and Dr. George taught the psychologists have been essential for helping them deal with their personal war traumas, as well as the traumas of their clients.


Laurie Ellis-Young and Dr. George have continued to provide online training ever since and the results have had a wide ripple effect. One of the Cyprus participants, Oksana Ruda, Ph.D., was so inspired by the breathing techniques and information she learned about the power of breath, she became determined to bring what she learned to fellow psychologists to help their clients, as well as to refugees fleeing Ukraine.


Dr. Ruda has channeled her learning into a breath-training program that is transforming the lives of Ukrainians from all walks of life: mothers who have lost sons, chaplains who now bring healing and comfort through deep breathing, and professionals who are inspiring resilience and providing calming breath practices that change lives.


Recently, Laurie was told by Ukrainian military Chaplin, Oleksandr Stefanyshun, working with 300 military personnel, "thanks to the resiliency training BreathLogic has been providing, people are able to connect with their breathing to manage their nervous systems so they can remain focused, more relaxed and make better decisions — even in the midst of intense bombing on the front lines."


When Laurie and Dr. George started training Ukrainian psychologists and refugees The Power of Breath workshops, they had no idea it would turn into a valuable resiliency training program that would reach the front lines of the battlefields in Ukraine.

 


Dr. George T. Ellis and BreathLogic co-founder, Laurie Ellis-Young holding their

five-time award-winning book

Breath Is Life: TAKING IN and LETTING GO, How to Live Well, Love Well BE Well.


BreathLogic continues to raise funds to support Ukrainian psychologists with online and in-person Professional Development training. As Ukrainians face the beginning of a third year of war, the necessity for this support grows. Please consider making a donation. Thank you!




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