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Four Habits That Make You Remain Elegant Like Audrey Hepburn

Perhaps you will feel so depressed once thinking that you will get old someday. Now that the order of nature can not be resisted, why not accept that with a smile?

Try to develop the following five habits, and then you will remain elegant just like Hepburn.

First, do not give up your life goal.

Do not give up the goal in life even if you have already retired. A man with a purpose will have more contact with people around naturally, thereby reducing the sense of loneliness and making themselves look much more younger than the actual age.

Studies show that old people who take part in social activities and often stay with their friends and family tend to live a longer life. They have better cognitive ability than their peers and their body are much more healthy.

Second, regard exercise as work.

First of all you should redefine the word “exercise.” John Law is the initiator of the Mac Arthur Foundation. Besides, he is also the co-author of the book “to grow old successfully.” In the book he said, “You do not have to go to the gym four days a week since any exercise is beneficial. In fact, a 30-minute walk for several times a week is also effective aerobic exercise. “

Third, it helps lose weight to have more meals a day but less food each time.

It is much better to have a small amount of food 5 to 6 times every day than a large amount 2 to 3 times. Thus you will never eat too much by the way of controlling the shares. If you eat too many times each day, your metabolism will naturally speed up. But if you do not eat or eat too much, it will slow down the metabolism.

Fourth, maintain a balance of your body and mind.

Generally, a middle-aged man will lose 1% to 2% of physical strength with age every year, which will make people become more inactive. And the yoga and tai chi are exercise that are very suitable for the old people, for they can increase flexibility of the body, enhance physical strength and promote balance.

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Chocolate Can Do Wonders to Reduce Heart Disease

What are the possible factors which could help reduce heart disease? Do you know? Most people do not have any idea that the common things we use in our daily life can also do heart disease prevention. Heart disease is one of the diseases which can endanger person’s life all of a sudden as a result of heart attack or heart failure. There are hundreds of reasons for a sudden heart failure in people no matter what age they are of.

Chocolate!

One of the most commonly used things is the delicious chocolate used by every other human being at least once in a month in one form or another. If people know about the importance of this important ingredient they would definitely increase its use to do heart problem prevention in their lives. Doctors recommend people to do chocolate consumption on daily basis in any form to prevent cardiac diseases. Dark Chocolate is significantly recommended since it contains large amount of nutrients which are good for a person’s health. It contains antioxidants which help reduce heart diseases. It has abundance of fiber, magnesium, iron and potassium which have the ability of heart disease prevention. Knowing about the heart disease prevention diet is very important these days, since the heart disease is widespread in almost every country of the world.

Chocolate maintains a good blood flow

One of the most important reasons of using chocolate for heart problem prevention is its ability to smooth en the blood flow in a person’s body. It not only smooth ens the blood flow but also lowers the blood pressure which becomes the main reason for the heart attack in most of the cases. Cocoa has bio active elements in it which accelerates yet smooth ens the blood flow in the arteries and ultimately results in lowering the blood pressure. The anti-oxidation elements in Cocoa restricts the cholesterol to get accumulated in the arteries which becomes another big reason of a heart attack. In this modern world, cocoa is considered as a medicine to ensure better cardiovascular health. It does not only have a magnificent taste but it has large healthy benefits for a human body. People should use the diet which reduces heart disease risk and contribute to heart disease prevention and treatment. People should follow heart disease prevention tips to avoid cardiovascular mishaps in their body.

Other ways to reduce

The smooth functioning of a human body is essential for a health life and this article will tell you about the heart disease prevention to some extent. The smooth blood circulation in the body is essential for a smooth functioning of heart which can only be made possible through using diet.

Reduce heart disease through intake of healthy foods

Over weight of body do not result to reduce heart problem but oppositely is complementary to cause it. Mostly people with more weight have to experience the heart disease which can become deathly if not taken care of properly at appropriate time through right heart prevention tips. In most of the cases, the doctors’ recommendations include the reduction of weight in the heart disease treatment. They pressurizes the patient to reduce his weight to help burn the calories and reduce the cholesterol level which is often the main reason of cardiovascular diseases.

• The patients with heart diseases should take healthy diet including rich amount of whole grains which is mostly present in brown rice and bread.

• Olive Oil should be made a significant ingredient of the food.

• He should eat sea food on regular basis instead of red meat which is not so healthy for any human body if consumed in abundance.

• There are many brands available which offers low fat or fat-free dairy products. To prevent the health disease one should make the low fat eatables an important food on regular basis.

• Sodium is not good since it increases the blood pressure. That’s why whatever that has rich sodium in it should be avoided.

• Fruits should be taken in abundance.

• Fried food should be avoided and preferably grilled or steamed food should be taken in heart prevention diet.

Exercise is best to have a healthy life!

Not only healthy foods but there are many exercises which a person can do to help. Doing exercise on daily basis, keeping your body fit and used to of a stressful activity can help a lot in dealing with the cardiac diseases and coping with them on a long term basis. What is heart made up of? It is made up of muscles which need to stretch and exercise all the time. When a person exercises, his heart starts pumping the blood all over the body and starts functioning with greater efficiency. This will keep the heart’s life to live longer. Exercise on regular basis is very important for a human body for burning calories and decreasing the amount of accumulated cholesterol. It is common to know that exercise keeps the heart flexible in pumping blood out and keeps the blood pressure normal. Doctors recommend that every person should exercise for at least 30 minutes daily to keep the body fit and healthy. Yoga and jogging at an appropriate rate of running is considered good for the heart disease prevention as well as treatment. The healthy heart burn off your stress and makes you sleep better which ultimately results in a healthy and fit life. These heart prevention tips should be adopted in his/ her life to live longer.

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Whats the Difference Between a Sports and Thai Massage?

There are many similarities between Sports massage and Thai massage, and many obvious differences, though many practitioners feel they are extremely compatible and combine the two to great affect.

Sports massage is one of the most popular western therapeutic approaches to massage. It is not a general relaxation massage, but one focused on reducing tension, pain, injury and increasing the performance of the body. It is generally a deep massage that works on the principles of muscle, bone and nerve function. Usually given on a massage table, with the use of oil, sports massage employs a range of various techniques to stretch and realign the muscles of the body. This will often include a number of applied stretches. It is common to undergo a postural assessment before a session, for the practitioner to consider where the person’s problem may ultimately lie. The focus of a session will be to relieve symptoms of pain in the area affected, but also in areas not directly affected but indirectly causing the symptoms. Following a session, suggestions may be made for a routine of exercises to be practiced at home, to build on the improvements made during the massage session.

Sports massage is not merely for the benefit of the sports person – in fact, it is far more common for the average person seeking sports massage to be an office based professional suffering with upper back, neck and shoulder tension and pain, or lower back tightness, weakness and pain. It is beneficial for everyone.

Thai Yoga massage, often referred to as just Thai massage for short, is part of the ancient and traditional medical system of Thailand. Practiced by at least one member of most households, it has been used as a general preventative healthcare system among Thai families. The Thais are not knowledgeable of anatomy and physiology like practitioners of western massage techniques such as sports massage, but approach the massage from an understanding of energy channels that run through the body, like blood vessels and very similar to the Chinese meridians of acupuncture. Thai massage manipulates the energy channels of the body primarily, and the joints, muscles and soft tissues secondary. It is given with the recipient fully clothed, wearing loose comfortable attire, on a futon mat on the floor.

The massage is given in a very slow, meditative and mindful way. The practitioner uses technically brilliant body mechanics to transfer body weight, rather than muscle strength, and will use most parts of his/her body to administer the massage. Deep, slow squeezes and compressions are applied, but Thai massage is most renowned for the amazing myriad of applied yoga stretches, that challenge and open the recipient’s body, leaving them feeling relaxed, energised, taller and more expansive.

Thai massage can be given for general relaxation or healthcare, or can be focused on a more specific therapeutic outcome, akin to sports massage. It is particularly beneficial to the average person who sits at a desk all day, with little movement of their body. The stretches and manipulations of Thai massage really get the energy flowing that often becomes stagnant when we are stationary for long periods.

Many of the techniques of sports and Thai massage are very similar, such as the compressions and stretches, and Sports massage can and will often be applied over clothing or towels. Some practitioners have studied both and will combine them for very effective results.

Contrary to what some may have heard, good, skilfully applied Sports or Thai massage will not cause you traumatising pain or leave you bruised and aching for days. You may experience some therapeutic ‘good pain’ that affects an immediate feeling of relief, but no more.

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Singing for Beginners – How To Use A Microphone

The most important skill that a singer can learn these days is how to use a microphone because the microphone is the basic tool that every modern singer has to use on a regular basis.

The first lesson in singing for beginners has to be how to use a microphone. Yet many singers, including a lot of professionals, don’t seem to have taken singing for beginners because they don’t seem to know how to use a microphone.

Improper use of a microphone can make a beautiful voice sound shrill and irritating. This occurs because the singer is probably holding the microphone too close to his or her lips. So one of the first lessons in singing for beginners is obviously; don’t hold the microphone too close to your lips. This is especially when they are using high notes in their songs.

One big mistake made by beginners is to try and imitate the microphone use of professional vocalists especially the ones you see on TV. Beginners should remember that a lot of these people are lip sinking to a song that they may have recorded earlier in studio which means that the microphone they’re using might be nothing but a prop. Another singing for beginners lesson to be taken into mind is the fact that a professional singer, who is appearing on TV, probably has years of experience so they know exactly how to use the microphone.

Some singers also make the mistake of keeping the microphone too close to their mouth when they are singing low notes. Many microphones simply won’t pick up low notes unless your lips are close to them. This means that you have to learn how far to keep the microphone from your mouth.

Perhaps the biggest singing for beginners mistake is not testing the microphone and sound system before you use it. If possible, do a sound test before you start singing or go and sing a few notes into the microphone and with the sound system to see how well it works. Singing a few low and high notes into the microphone will show you where you need to hold the microphone. It’ll also show you if the sound system is working and how well it’s working. A simple sound test before a performance can help you avoid a lot of grief and embarrassment during the show.

Another great singing for beginners tip is to get some training in microphone use. The microphone is the most important tool that you will use as a singer. So, it is a good idea to get somebody, who knows how to use the microphone, to show you how to use it. Ask a professional singer to give you a few lessons in the use of the microphone. Have them show you how they use the microphone and what tricks they use to sing over it.

Learning how to control your breathing can help you relax when you sing and help you use the microphone. There are many breathing lessons and relaxation techniques out there that can help you do this and they should be part of singing for beginning.

Yoga is an excellent place to learn relaxation techniques and breathing control. Take some yoga lessons and ask the yoga teacher to help you with your breathing when you start singing for beginners.

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Classical Combination For Mental Illness

The classical astrological text gives certain combinations for mental illness or insanity. These combinations are often too vague and non specific; they cannot be applied to individual horoscopes in the literal sense. That in fact, is true of combinations for any diseases as given in the astrological texts. They however, give certain clues about the cause of that disease. We shall quote here some of these combinations, and follow this with our understanding of mental illness and the relevant examples. Some of the combinations for mental illness taken from the JATAKA TATTVA and other texts are as follows.

1. Jupiter in the ascendant and Mars in the seventh house, or vice versa.

Note: (a) This appears vague. Jupiter is the planet of idealism; Mars indicates aggression. Too much emphasis on these could ruin the married life, as this combination involves the 7th house. (b) In the above yoga, substitution of mars by Saturn has been said to have the same result though the nature of affliction will obviously change from aggressiveness towards depression.

1. Saturn in the lagna and Mars in the 5th or the 7th or the 9th house

2. Saturn in the lagna, the Sun in the 12th house, and Mars or the Moon in a trine.

3. Saturn in the 12th house associated with a waning Moon.

4. Association of Saturn and the lord of the 2nd house with the Sun or Mars.

5. Birth in the hora of Saturn or Mars, the sun-moon conjunction in the lagna or the 5th or the 9th, and the Jupiter in the quadrant.

6. Mandi in the 7th house, afflicted by a malefic.

Note: same result may accrue from an afflicted Mandi in the 5th house

1. Rahu and the Moon in the lagna,and malefic in the trine

Mental faculties: Astrological Basis. It will be seen from the above that the various combinations for mental diseases are fairly generalized. No mention has been made of the time of onset of the ailment. In addition, there is generally no mention of the various divisional charts without which any combination would lose its specificity. We must thus look for the factor that governs our normal behavior from the nature and extent of the abnormal behavior from the nature and extent of affliction to such factors.

The following points thus need attention of the assessment of the mental health of a native:

(a) The Moon: It is the significator of the mind. Its strength or weakness reflects the state of one’s mind. Its strength attachments are feelings, emotional reactions, mental compatibility with others, and such faculties that do not rely on Mathematical logic. The Moon has no enemies.

(b) Mercury:It signifies the nervous system, academic discipline, rationality, logic and intellect, as also one’s complexes. Its enemy is the moon. Understandably, the mind (signified by the moon) is opposed to reasoning and intellect (signified by mercury).

(c) Jupiter:The best benefactor. Jupiter is the significator of maturity and wisdom. While Jupiter is neutral towards mercury, the latter happens to be the enemy of Jupiter. Quite naturally the strict limits of logics can only restrain the exercise of wisdom. Note: When the Moon, Mercury and Jupiter are strong and well placed, the native has a sound mind, a healthy reasoning and a mature wisdom. When these three planets are afflicted, weak or ill placed, there is a vulnerability to mental illness, nervousness, Intellectual confusion, and inability to take wise decisions and to implement them.

(d) The fifth house: The fifth house is the house of fascination, thinking, logic and wisdom. For a sound mental health, the 5th house and the 5th lord must not be afflicted and be under benefic influence.

(e) The lagna and the sign Mesha: Mesha happens to be the first house equivalent to the head of the Kalapurusha. The lagna is the first house or the head of the native. Both should not be afflicted for a sound mental health

(f) Malefic and benefic Yogas: Besides the other factors, certain malefic and benefic Yogas in the horoscope may promote the occurrence of a mental illness, or favorably compensate for it.

The following are especially important:

(1) The Kemadruma Yoga, i.e.,the Moon without a planet on either side of it. This is an adverse Yoga. The Moon needs support in order to insure a sound mind. When there is no planet in the second and the 12th from the Moon, an inherent weakness is indicated in the chart.

(2) The Gajakesari Yoga, i.e., the presence of Jupiter in a quadrant from the Moon. This is very potent and benefic Yoga; Planets in mutual quadrants influence each other. Jupiter in a quadrant from the Moon causes strengthening of the Moon.

(3) The Chandradhi Yoga. This consists of the presence of benefic in the 6th, 7th, or 8th, from the Moon. Benefic in these houses promote, and the malefic obstruct and hinder the functioning of the moon. Afflictions to the Moon – Most of the mental disorders manifest when the moon is afflicted. These vary from simple mental aberrations to gross neuro-psychotic disorders.

The Moon suffers afflictions when it is weak, placed in adverse (6, 8, or 12th) houses, and under the aspects or association of malefic

(a) Affliction by the sun: Quick temper, quarrelsome, self-aggrandizement.

(b) By Mars: Quick temper, aggressive, violent.

(c) By Saturn: Acute depression; maniac depressive psychosis.

(d) By Rahu: cunning in thought, schizophrenia, phobias, and maniacal suicidal tendencies.

(e) By Ketu: Maniacal/suicidal tendencies, phobias, irrational suspicion of others.

Note:

(1) Affliction to Mercury and Jupiter causes abnormalities in behavior in a similar manner. For example, placement of mercury in the 6th house affected by Saturn, leads to some sort of mental derangement. Jupiter- Saturn or Jupiter-Mars opposition have already been pointed out.

(2) How close these planets are in degrees must be examined.

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How to Improve Your Center of Gravity and Gain More Balance?

An athlete is known for his balance. Most often, the balance is overlooked. Athletes are so clouded by their strength and speed that they tend to forget the importance of training and balance.

You can take for example, the race of a sprinter. The Sprinter begins to run as soon as the starting shot is fired. In spite of running with extreme speed, if he goes off balance, he will fall off. Once he falls off, he cannot win the race.

Here are a few tips to have balance and have a control over the gravity:

  • Today, the main aim of anyone is to increase the core and abs to the maximum extent. The core is constituted by lower back, abdomen and hips. This is centre point of the body from where all the movement begins. To strengthen the abs, you must perform exercises like pull-ups, sit-ups, crunches and other activities that require the exercise of abs or keep your abs still for about 30-60 seconds. This is the best way to keep the abs strong.
  • It is necessary to keep the lower part of the body fit and strong. If you do so, you can keep your balance and maintain your gravity. To give strength to the lower body, perform activities and exercises like calf raises, power cleans, dead lifts, lunges and squats.
  • If you want to achieve long lasting results, you must ensure that you practice your balance on a regular and daily basis. To improve upon your balance, you must practice exercises like standing on balanced boards or standing on a single foot for over a particular period of time. By following these exercises, you can strengthen your core and can also improve and enhance upon your center of gravity as well.
  • The most scientific as well as ancient way to enhance your center of gravity is to engage yourself in gymnastics and perform yoga as well. To perform yoga and gymnastics efficiently and effectively, your body needs to be flexible and must have enough stamina to go through the stress and pain involved in the initial stages. The yoga makes your body perform different types of motions and flexible turns and exercises.

In conclusion, you can maintain your center of gravity in the long run only if you practice these exercises regularly with the right attitude and determination. So, buck up and go for it!

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Skating Tips From Esther Bernard – Bangalore Sports

Imagine whooshing down the road with the wind for company and in a set of wheels that doesn’t require you to turn 18 and get a license. Roller Skating as a sport is a big favorite among kids, especially in Karnataka. Although the number of skating clubs in the city isn’t all that high, awareness about the game is building up and there are several district, state and national level championships held to hone your child’s talent and competitive spirit. One of the clubs in the city is Esther Roller Skating Club (09886568364), run by ace skater Esther Bernard, 25. Esther was ranked the 24th fastest skater in the World Championships held in France in 2001 and has represented India in several Asian Roller Skating Championships. With 27 gold medals at several National and All India Roller Skating Championships behind her, she’s a great source to get some skating tips from. MetroMela spoke to her.

* I believe the right age to start learning roller skating is four years. This sport needs strong ankles and around this time, children’s ankles are strong enough. Their bodies are also flexible, they pick up the technique well and are easier to handle than smaller children.

* Skating is a great way to maintain balance. I feel that children are able to do well in studies and the sport even if they have taken it up in a professional way. I myself missed school half the year because of tournaments but did well in academics. I attribute a lot of it to the discipline of the sport.

* Skating teaches you to think smart and plan. You also learn to coordinate, balance your body and concentrate.

* It builds a good immunity level in your body. In all these years, I’ve rarely seen skaters fall ill.

* When you are skating, ensure that you have a lot of water in the breaks in between.

* There are chances of lots of bruises in skating, even though the kids use knee guards etc. Some kids play safe but to really learn, you need to get aggressive.

* Parents need to be aware that skating can become an expensive sport. The equipment for beginners is available at any sports goods shop across Bangalore. Beginners can buy good skates from Yonex for around Rs. 400. For kids participating in tournaments there is professional equipment available from premium brands like Bont, which you can order from abroad or through the skating clubs. Those are expensive and cost around US$ 250.

* Children can take up the game at any age but the ideal age to start is four plus. Most of the children I train for competitions are in the 5-7 age bracket (semi-professionals) and 8-12 years (professionals).

Skating Clubs in Bangalore…

Ace Rollers School of Skating

Started by an enthusiastic group of parents who wanted to promote skating as a sport, this club has been in existence for the last six years and takes children from four years onwards. Children coached by the club have participated in state level, national level and even the world championship. Experienced coaches train the kids and physical fitness is of utmost importance, says Dr Veena Ashok, a committee member. Beginners have four classes a week for an hour each, while those going for professional tournaments have classes six days a week at 5.45 AM. They practice at the Jayanagar Stadium.

Esther Roller Skating Club

Run by 25 time national champion Esther Bernard, this one year old club takes in kids from the age of four. Classes are held at the skating rink in National Games Village, Koramangala. They also hold summer camps from where they select talent for tournaments. There are three categories – beginners, semi-professionals and professionals. Classes are held in the evenings between 4.45 PM and 7.30 PM. The fee is Rs. 300 a month approximately.

Coles Park Skating Club

This club is run by five-six coaches and takes in kids from four years of age. The classes are held at Coles Park. You can opt for either early morning classes (6.20 AM to 7.30 AM) or evening classes (7 PM to 8 PM). The fee is Rs. 550 a month.

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The Modern Fabrics Used to Make Body Shaping Underwear and How it Works

Having a perfectly toned, shaped, and fit body is what everyone dreams. People use several techniques to shape their bodies. Some indulge in exercises like yoga, aerobics, workouts, or dance forms, while others simply use the medical science. People go through operations, lipo sculpture, and other types of body shaping surgeries etc.

In spite of all the efforts, some people do not get the desired results. These exercises can help in weight reduction, and muscle development, but sometimes the perfect shape is still not there. An easy way out for perfect figure shape is the body shaping underwear.

Body shaping underwear is not something new. It was a trick used by women in the seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. Women at that time used to wear uncomfortable corsets to shape, and tone their bodies, which made them look more ladylike. These figure shaping underwear were made of fish bones, or other uncomfortable materials, which also caused skin problems in many.

The figure firming underwear has evolved a lot today. They are available in a variety of shapes, and materials. Without any kind of uneasiness one can easily use this new type of figure-shaping underwear, and get rid of all the extra fat. A diverse range of body shaping underwear is available in the market today. These figure shaping garments not only use new designs, but also new technology, and new fabrics.

One can also buy an all-in-one body shaping garment that will shape your body completely within a small span of time. The fabrics used in this new figure-maintaining underwear are satin, cotton, silk, and several other manmade fabrics. They do not have the uncomfortable hooks, or buttons like the old ones. The figure shaping underwear is made of stretch material, and people can easily choose from different fabrics according to their needs and comfort. Whether the tummy one wants to tuck in or thighs, and legs that one wants to shape, the all in one figure – shaping underwear is the solution.

The stretch material used in body firming underwear helps in accentuating hips, thighs, and tucking in the tummy at the same time. One can choose from different fabrics as each offers a different degree of comfort, and the rate of improvement. The stretch material does not squeeze, or compress the body, and shapes of the body through the fat redistribution mechanism.

In the fat redistribution mechanism, the fat cells in the boy can be transported from one part of the body to the other. It makes the body evenly toned. The different shapes of the body firming underwear determine where the fat cells would be transported. Some body shaping underwear also through exertion of pressure firms up body shaper, and eliminates fat cells largely.

Body shaping underwear is very easy to use, and can help one get great improvements in figure shape, and appearances. Having a good appearance makes one look attractive, and boosts the confidence of an individual.

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15 Key Life Categories for Successful Goal Setting

So, you’ve sat down and started goal setting. Where did you start? Your monster goal of course!

A monster goal is what’s most important to you at this point in your life. That’s a natural place to start. Well, whether it’s career, family or a special relationship, are you neglecting the rest of your life in your goal-setting efforts?

I have come up with 15 areas of your life that you could consider in your goal-setting plan. This will help you to take steps to build a balanced and more fulfilling life. Here they are in alphabetical order:

1) Artistic/creative
2) Career
3) Community
4) family,
5) Financial,
6) Fitness,
7) Friends,
8) Fun,
9) Health,
10) Learning/intellectual,
11) Living environment,
12) Personal relationship,
13) Psychological,
14) Recreation,
15) Spiritual

Of course, you don’t want to create goals in every single area of your life. It would be a little overwhelming and might actually work against you. Pick 3-7 of these areas in addition to your monster goal and then do your goal-setting process. As you’re doing this, consider carefully which areas might be most important to you.

Following is a brief overview of seven of the 15 areas with a few examples for some of them.

Artistic/creative – Do you have a yen to paint or do you love to sing? Maybe you like to carve wood, make soap or play a musical instrument. Including goals relating to activities such as these can add color and fulfillment to your life in a way that other goal-setting areas do not.

Community – This area includes such things as volunteer work with local groups (non-profit or other), or political, and social activities in the area where you live. It also includes organizations you belong to such as clubs and other social groups.

Financial – This area may be obvious in some ways and can relate to your career. But you may also want to consider goal-setting relative to retirement planning, savings and investing. You might also want to add learning about retirement plans or investment vehicles as part of this area of your life.

Fitness – Good health is the underpinning of a good life. And, because exercise is a major contributor to your health, goal-setting in this area is very important. To paraphrase Tony Robbins, you can have a lot of enthusiasm for success but if you can’t get out of bed in the morning, then you’ve got a problem!

Fun – Now you may be one of those people who never misses an opportunity to “let loose”. But if you’re like most people, this may be an area of your life that you neglect. So I say, life is too short not to have as much fun as you can while doing all that other goal-setting stuff! Telling jokes, being silly and generally letting down your hair are good goals to help keep your life balanced and joyful.

Learning/intellectual – Keeping your mind sharp and youthful is a worthy goal, wouldn’t you say? A few ways to do this are to take classes in stimulating topics you’d like to learn about, read new books/magazines and play mentally challenging games like chess and bridge.

Spiritual – For some people, this may not be an important aspect of life. For others, it could be the most important. Here, I’m not just talking about religion and traditionally spiritual issues. Goal-setting in this area of your life could include writing down an intention to forgive someone, to be more loving to others or to start a new practice such as meditation or yoga.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, all 15 areas are important, I chose the ones I felt most connected with as examples. As you go through the list, figure out what will give you the most satisfaction in your life; more friends, more money, more fun, a partner or any of the other areas. One good way to help make your choice is to rank each area on it’s importance to you on a scale of 1-10 (one = least important and 10 = most important). You’ll find yourself enjoying your goal-setting experience more than ever, but most important, you’ll be enjoying your life more!

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An Interview With Self-Realization Fellowship’s Brother Brahmananda

TIS: First of all, I wanted to offer my condolences on the passing of Sri Daya Mata.

BB: Thank you very much. It’s been nine days now.

TIS: Right. How is everyone in the Fellowship handling it?

BB: We’re doing well. We’re going to have a viewing of her body at Forest Lawn Memorial Park starting today for three days, and we’re having a public memorial service this Sunday at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

TIS: Well I originally had wanted to speak to you about the true meaning of Christ at Christmas, which I would still like to touch on, but thought Sri Daya Mata’s passing offered an opportunity to talk about death, specifically in relation humanity’s fear of it, especially here in the west.

BB: You know, two books came out of her lectures, one of which was called Only Love and the other is Finding the Joy Within You, and in that latter book, she gives a description of a death experience she had many, many years ago when Yogananda was still with us.

TIS: I haven’t read either of those, so would you mind elaborating on it?

BB: Sure, not at all. In fact, once for some reason, we were on a telephone conversation together and she related this story directly to me, but she writes about it in detail in the book as well. She’d had a long meditation one evening and went to bed, and there was a tremendous pain in her side and she wondered what it was. The next morning she didn’t show up for breakfast, so one of the other nuns looked in on her and found out she wasn’t well. The nun called a doctor who said she had to go to the hospital. She said, “No, I will not go unless Master gives his consent.” Well he was out in the desert, about 150 miles away and there was no phone. Finally, they were able to get a taxi to go out there, and Master commented to a monk beside him, “You know, this is her time to die,” but he told Sri Daya Mata to go to the hospital. So she was taken to the hospital, and there was an operation, and as the surgeon was making his incision, she had the knowledge that he had made a mistake, but she wasn’t in the position to say anything. Then suddenly everything vanished.

There was a tremendous golden light, and she saw the spiritual eye and heard the great Aum sound reverberating through her. She said she was in a state of timelessness, and was beholding her whole life at one time, in the same moment. And then, out of the Aum sound came a beautiful voice saying, “This is death. Are you ready for it?” And in the light of the spiritual eye, she saw the world that was ahead of her filled with tremendous joy and intense communion with the Divine; it made the world we live in seem utterly gross and burdened by darkness. So she replied, “Yes, Divine Mother! One does not come this far into the other world and then want to go back. Why would I hold on to such grossness, when this divine bliss lies ahead of me?” But then the voice said, ever so sweetly, “But if I ask you to stay for Me?” She said she felt this tremendous thrill of joy. So she said, “You would ask me to stay for You? Yes, Divine Mother. Let me serve You!” And the voice said, “All right, my child. Now sleep,” and she lost consciousness. The operation proceeded successfully, and of course she came out of it.

TIS: Wow, amazing.

BB: So that just shows you her consciousness, and that was forty years ago and she’s been with us ever since then–until now. Although, I’m not sure she isn’t with us now, because just a couple of days before she left, she said to Mrinalini Mata, vice president of SRF, “When I’m gone, I’ll continue to love you all.”

TIS: So could you talk about why you think death is so hidden, or feared, especially in our western culture?

BB: Because there’s no background. In the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, we find that this whole universe is one of ongoing spiritual evolution in which Spirit freezes itself into solid matter, and gradually evolves itself back into Spirit, and this is going on all the time. It goes through the various kingdoms, the plant kingdom, animal kingdom, human beings and back to Spirit, and we’re part of that. So after perhaps eight million lifetimes in other life forms, the soul is here in human form.

The soul is individualized Spirit. It’s not as though we were ever created. We’ve existed always, but Spirit formed us from Itself and is drawing us back to Itself. So, as human beings, we incarnate from lifetime to lifetime, gradually evolving spiritually. Initially we experience the universe and the world through our five senses and what we’re seeking is joy. Well, it happens that joy is the very essence of Spirit. So what we’re looking for is Spirit itself, and we don’t find it through the senses. Gradually, through trial and error, we find that’s not going to work, and then comes the idea that perhaps the source of joy is inside.

TIS: Right.

BB: Now the great ones of India found techniques to quiet the body and mind so that one can begin to feel the inner bliss, the inner joy, the inner peace of Spirit, and that’s what Yoga is all about. And that is what we practice in Self-Realization Fellowship. Now, not having that understanding, people have no idea what death is about. We have our traditional ideas of heaven and hell, which don’t seem particularly logical, and a lot of people believe there is nothing beyond this physical world. They’re often uncertain. There is something inside us that says life goes on, and yet this seems refuted by the senses. So there’s doubt, uncertainty, and when there’s that kind of doubt, fear arises and I think that’s why people are so afraid of death. It’s the possibility of the extinguishment of our consciousness. Intuitively we know this won’t happen, but the fear is there.

For years now I don’t think I have, myself, had any fear of death. But there is a certain attachment to this physical body that everyone has. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be in it. Even realized souls have attachments to the body. Lahiri Mahasaya, the Guru of Yogananda’s guru, who was a disciple of Babaji, when he heard the message from his Guru that he was going to soon leave his body, he went into deep stillness. It took him a while to get used to the idea, so it’s an interesting phenomenon. We’ve all gone through it many, many times, but we don’t remember that.

TIS: Thank you for that insight. It’s helpful (at least for me) to have that understanding. So the other thing I wanted to discuss with you was Christ and its true meaning at Christmas time. Sri Daya Mata would always put together a beautiful message on this for both Christmas and Easter and I was hoping you could elaborate on that.

BB: Christmas represents spiritually the birth of the Christ Consciousness within us. Our essence is Spirit and Spirit is Cosmic Consciousness. We have been frozen as matter, and we’re evolving back to Spirit, eventually getting rid of the shells of delusion that surround us. Christmas represents the awakening of the soul to what it really is, and its mergence with that Christ Consciousness, which Yogananda said is the intelligence of the Divine throughout all of creation. As the seasons go, this is sort of the bottom of the yearly cycle where spring and summer lie ahead of us. There’s a kind of seasonal awakening which is represented in this ancient holiday that we now celebrate as Christmas. Esoterically, one can say this symbolizes the birth of the Christ Consciousness within us.

Now, what does Christ represent? On the altars of the Self-Realization Fellowship temples and centers, we have pictures of Christ and Krishna, who represent the same kinds of consciousness, Krishna in the East and Christ in the West. There’s a cultural aspect to this that is quite interesting. Carl Jung understood that there is tremendous spirituality in the East, in India, but he wouldn’t go there. He wouldn’t take it on, or get into that religious philosophy because he felt it was dangerous to his inner consciousness, as he was born a Christian. He gave the example of a friend who went deeply into the I Ching, traveled to China, and totally immersed himself in that culture–and eventually went mad. So Jung felt it would disturb his psyche if he did something similar. Now what Yogananda has done is to make the highest teachings of India assimilable by the western psyche.

You’ve mentioned you’ve been reading The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You, the two volume set of Yogananda’s commentaries on the Christian Gospels. Selections from this work have been compiled in a much smaller book called The Yoga of Jesus, which is very nice.

TIS: Yes, I’ve read it in its entirety and it’s a wonderful introduction to the two volume series.

BB: It really is. The smaller book has the essence of the larger work, though it doesn’t have the marvelous introduction where Yogananda talks about his experiences with Christ, and the spirit of Christ that was with him as he wrote that scripture. But The Yoga of Jesus presents some key things, like the idea that at the birth of Jesus, the Magi–literally the priestly class in Iran or Persia at that time, were actually wise men from India, and as a youth Jesus went back to India to reciprocate that visit and thank them for it. Of course, there are other accounts of Jesus being in India. The Shankacharya of Puri, who visited the United States back in the 50’s through the auspices of Self-Realization Fellowship, told Sri Daya Mata that he had evidence in the Jagannath Temple in Puri of Christ being there. He was going to write about it but never had the opportunity. Yogananda said the same thing, and there are other sources, too.

So Jesus was in India and spent time there. He also spent time in Tibet with the Buddhists and then came back with all of that knowledge. Yogananda says that Jesus taught his disciples something very much like Kriya Yoga, which is our highest technique of pranayama, or control of life force, which brings the energy and consciousness inside. So Jesus was teaching that to his close disciples, but, to the masses he was speaking in parables — giving them ideas that would help them in their lives. What we’re teaching is what Christ really taught; he was a Yogi. That’s why we have the Yoga of Jesus.

TIS: Often during this time of the year, people debate whether Jesus was actually born on December 25th or not, does this date matter?

BB: I don’t think it really matters. Sure, there’s evidence that Jesus was born in the spring time, but it seems appropriate, as I said, to celebrate the birth of Christ Consciousness at this part of the yearly cycle.

TIS: Ok, so in closing could you talk a bit more about Jesus the man vs. the Christ Consciousness which was bestowed upon him?

BB: I suppose the key difference between our understanding of Jesus, and the traditional Christian understanding is centered in the third chapter of John, where Nicodemus is talking to Jesus. There’s the verse: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Those words indicate on the surface that the belief in Jesus, is the only way back to God. But, that can’t be. In the Bible, you have the example of Abraham as described by Jesus as being in heaven. Of course, Abraham had no experience of Jesus the man. When Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am,” he fully identified himself with that consciousness of God, the Christ Consciousness, the vast intelligence of God throughout the universe. He felt himself as one with that, and he spoke from that vantage point. He spoke of himself as that Christ Consciousness.

That doesn’t preclude the possibility that there have been other great saints who were also one with that consciousness, Buddha, Krishna, and others. The traditional view is that Jesus is the only son of God. He said: “No man cometh unto the Father but by me,” and he’s talking from this state of Christ Consciousness, saying no one can expand back into Spirit without going through the Christ Consciousness that he was one with. So to me, that’s the great misunderstanding of Christian orthodoxy. Yes, Jesus is the only way, but that means the Christ Consciousness is the only way. I believe that man’s consciousness has existed for countless years on this planet, and many other planets, and obviously, this spiritual evolution, Spirit back to Spirit is an ongoing thing that doesn’t depend on one particular man, but it certainly does depend on that consciousness of God.

TIS: Thank you. I really appreciate your time.

BB: You’re very welcome.

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