27 दिसंबर 2011

5 medication-free strategies to help prevent heart disease

5 medication-free strategies to help prevent heart disease

You can prevent heart disease by following a heart-healthy lifestyle. Here are five strategies to help you protect your heart.

Heart disease may be a leading cause of death, but that doesn't mean you have to accept it as your fate. Although you lack the power to change some risk factors — such as family history, sex or age — there are some key heart disease prevention steps you can take.

You can avoid heart problems in the future by adopting a healthy lifestyle today. Here are five heart disease prevention tips to get you started.

1. Don't smoke or use tobacco

Smoking or using tobacco is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis can ultimately lead to a heart attack. When it comes to heart disease prevention, no amount of smoking is safe. Smokeless tobacco and low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes also are risky, as is exposure to secondhand smoke.

In addition, the nicotine in cigarette smoke makes your heart work harder by narrowing your blood vessels and increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces some of the oxygen in your blood. This increases your blood pressure by forcing your heart to work harder to supply enough oxygen. Even so-called "social smoking" — smoking only while at a bar or restaurant with friends — is dangerous and increases the risk of heart disease.

Women who smoke and take birth control pills are at greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke than are those who don't do either. This risk increases with age, especially in women older than 35.

The good news, though, is that when you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease drops dramatically within just one year. And no matter how long or how much you smoked, you'll start reaping rewards as soon as you quit.

2. Exercise for 30 minutes on most days of the week

Getting some regular, daily exercise can reduce your risk of fatal heart disease. And when you combine physical activity with other lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight, the payoff is even greater.

Physical activity helps you control your weight and can reduce your chances of developing other conditions that may put a strain on your heart, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. It also reduces stress, which may be a factor in heart disease.

Try getting at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days of the week. However, even shorter amounts of exercise offer heart benefits, so if you can't meet those guidelines, don't give up. You can even break up your workout time into 10-minute sessions.

And remember that activities such as gardening, housekeeping, taking the stairs and walking the dog all count toward your total. You don't have to exercise strenuously to achieve benefits, but you can see bigger benefits by increasing the intensity, duration and frequency of your workouts.
3. Eat a heart-healthy diet

Eating a special diet called the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan can help protect your heart. Following the DASH diet means eating foods that are low in fat, cholesterol and salt. The diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products, which can help protect your heart. Beans, other low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish also can reduce your risk of heart disease.

Limiting certain fats you eat also is important. Of the types of fat — saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fat — saturated fat and trans fat increase the risk of coronary artery disease by raising blood cholesterol levels.

Major sources of saturated fat include:

Red meat
Dairy products
Coconut and palm oils
Sources of trans fat include:

Deep-fried fast foods
Bakery products
Packaged snack foods
Look at the label for the term "partially hydrogenated" to avoid trans fat.

Heart-healthy eating isn't all about cutting back, though. Most people need to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet — with a goal of five to 10 servings a day. Eating that many fruits and vegetables can not only help prevent heart disease, but also may help prevent cancer.

Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat, may decrease your risk of heart attack, protect against irregular heartbeats and lower blood pressure. Some fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are a good natural source of omega-3s. Omega-3s are present in smaller amounts in flaxseed oil, walnut oil, soybean oil and canola oil, and they can also be found in supplements.

Following a heart-healthy diet also means drinking alcohol only in moderation — no more than two drinks a day for men, and one a day for women. At that moderate level, alcohol can have a protective effect on your heart. More than that becomes a health hazard.

4. Maintain a healthy weight

As you put on weight in adulthood, your weight gain is mostly fat rather than muscle. This excess weight can lead to conditions that increase your chances of heart disease — high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

One way to see if your weight is healthy is to calculate your body mass index (BMI), which considers your height and weight in determining whether you have a healthy or unhealthy percentage of body fat. BMI numbers 25 and higher are associated with higher blood fats, higher blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

The BMI is a good, but imperfect guide. Muscle weighs more than fat, for instance, and women and men who are very muscular and physically fit can have high BMIs without added health risks. Because of that, waist circumference also is a useful tool to measure how much abdominal fat you have:

Men are considered overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (101.6 centimeters, or cm)
Women are overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (88.9 cm)
Even a small weight loss can be beneficial. Reducing your weight by just 10 percent can decrease your blood pressure, lower your blood cholesterol level and reduce your risk of diabetes.

5. Get regular health screenings

High blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage your heart and blood vessels. But without testing for them, you probably won't know whether you have these conditions. Regular screening can tell you what your numbers are and whether you need to take action.

Blood pressure. Regular blood pressure screenings start in childhood. Adults should have their blood pressure checked at least every two years. You may need more-frequent checks if your numbers aren't ideal or if you have other risk factors for heart disease. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury.
Cholesterol levels. Adults should have their cholesterol measured at least once every five years starting at age 20. You may need more frequent testing if your numbers aren't optimal or if you have other risk factors for heart disease. Some children may need their blood cholesterol tested if they have a strong family history of heart disease.
Diabetes screening. Since diabetes is a risk factor for developing heart disease, you may want to consider being screened for diabetes. Talk to your doctor about when you should have a fasting blood sugar test to check for diabetes. Depending on your risk factors, such as being overweight or a family history of diabetes, your doctor may recommend first testing you for diabetes sometime between ages 30 and 45, and then retesting every three to five years.

26 दिसंबर 2011



Each person has three elements of self – emotional, spiritual, physical. If you strengthen one, you become stronger. If you strengthen all three, you become your fitness potential.

 Emotional · I Am
Knowing who you are and what you need is essential to achieving your goals and uncovering the goddess within that you truly love and can be proud of.
Spiritual · I Can
Motivate yourself to try something new. Show yourself love and take it to the next level because you want to do it for yourself and know that you can.
Physical · I Do
Tap into the deep self-awareness you’ve created, so you can realize and embrace that potential and create a beautiful, strong, unique you.


You can do every single move on this site without setting foot in a gym. Obviously, we don't have anything against health clubs and gyms: Kacy's worked in one almost all her life. But we know plenty of women feel uncomfortable in those mirrored rooms full of men or find health clubs too inconvenient and expensive. That's okay. With a little investment, you can transform your body without ever leaving your living room.
Here's what you'll need for the exercises on this site.
Comfortable, stylish clothes
Remember, Show It Love is about feeling good about yourself. So toss aside those ratty sweats, the body-hiding, tentlike giant tees, and all the stuff you wouldn't walk out to get the mail in, and break out something a little more stylish. Your workout clothes should be body-skimming enough that you can watch your form and see your muscles, but also loose enough to bend and reach comfortably.
A staff
Nothing makes you feel more like kicking some ass than wielding a big stick! Use a large 5- to 6-foot dowel rod or even a broomstick in the exercises where Kacy uses a staff.
A mat
If you're not working on a lightly carpeted floor, have a mat handy for the floor work to protect your back. If you don't have a mat, a folded thick towel will do.
Get ready to move and groove
Movement prep
Before starting, do five minutes of light cardio, like jumping jacks or running in place, to warm up your muscles and get them ready for action.
Starting position
Every move will start in the power position. Stand tall, keeping knees soft. Pull your navel to your spine and maintain a straight back and tight, firm belly. In this position, you’re guaranteed not to sleepwalk through your exercise or, worse, fall into sloppy form.
Times per week

You should perform Woman Warrior exercises three days a week, along with cardio exercises three days a week.
Each time you perform a move, it’s called a repetition, or rep. Perform 12 reps of each move. For single leg moves, perform 12 reps per side for a total of 24. For lean, toned, beautiful muscles, Kacy swears by using light to moderate weight (or sometimes body weight alone) and fatiguing the muscles through a full range of motion and high number of repetitions.
Each time you complete the designated number of reps for an exercise, it’s one set. You should go for three sets right away. If you can only do two, try lowering the weight. Concentrate on feeling your muscles and perfecting your form.

We believe some of the most powerful moments in life come to us when we play, whether it be for fun, or sport. By pushing the limits of our abilities through purposeful, balanced training we can elevate these experiences and continue to have adventures that impact our lives for years to come.

25 दिसंबर 2011



Valerie’s 5 rules for healthy living
1. Eat breakfast everyday! No seriously, I mean it! Studies have shown over and over again that people who eat breakfast are thinner than those that don’t. Starting the day with a nutritious meal jump starts your metabolism and sets you up for eating right for the whole day. No, your Starbucks latte and fat free muffin are not what I am talking about. You want your breakfast to include protein and a slow digesting carb.
My “go-to” breakfast options:
¼ cup of Eggology eggwhites scrambled with veggies (just about any will do, except potatoes) over 1 piece of Eziekel toast
1 packet of plain instant oatmeal with 1 scoop of chocolate Designer Whey protein powder with a handful of mixed berries or 1 tablespoon of California raisins
1 piece of Eziekel toast with 1 tablespoon of almond butter or all natural peanut butter (not JIF or Skippy)

2. Exercise (almost) daily. Exercising daily is the one sure way to relieve stress and fix a bad mood. But let’s not forget the big picture. Getting fit, and by this I mean getting stronger, becoming more flexible and increasing your cardiovascular endurance as well as changing your body composition, is the key ingredient to getting more from life. Having a fit body gives you more energy and more opportunities for adventure. Plus, think of your workout as the Norton Utilities of your body. It just seems to run better if exercised. It is a way to dump the stress and physically improve what we have.

3. Notice what makes you happy and then be happy about it! It is easy to get annoyed with life’s little inconveniences like being stuck in traffic, being on hold forever when you’re trying to reach customer service, or when the weather is too cold, too hot, too wet, etc. I like to notice things each day that make me happy and focus on that. More often than not it spreads out over the day for a general feeling of happiness. For example, if the sun is shining, for me, that means it’s a beautiful day and that makes me feel good. I live in LA so this happens a lot, but I still greet it each time as if I haven’t seen the sun in months. When I hug my dogs Cody & Lexi I feel happy. They get hugs many times a day so that adds up to a lot of happiness. I am always in a great mood after I workout, so I remind myself of this when I don’t feel like doing it. I feel grateful to have this body that can run and jump and play, even while I’m still working to improve it. I am happy when a client is really into their workouts so it is fun for me to work on new ways to help them achieve the body of their dreams. Do I get stressed, frustrated, annoyed or depressed? Of course I do, but I use the strategies above to help pull me out.

4. Eat more vegetables. This is a diet cliché for a reason. If you want to be thinner, have more energy, improve the quality of your skin and build up your immune system, then eat your veggies. These low calorie, nutritional powerhouses can do all that and more. Plus they fill you up without filling you out. Choose fresh, in season and locally grown when possible. Keep frozen on hand for emergencies. The key to getting your loved one to eat more veggies with you? Be a little sneaky and add different kinds to your salads, to your pasta and to your soups or casseroles. They don’t always have to sit separately on the plate. Take your kids with you to the farmers market and let them try the fresh fruits and veggies. The experience of choosing them might make them more inclined to eat them. The farmers market will also tell you what’s local and in season. All produce tastes better when it’s fresh.

5. Love what you do but remember it’s your job, not your whole life. I absolutely love being a trainer. It has been almost 20 years now and I still get an absolute thrill turning someone on to fitness and seeing their confidence grow as they realize the potential of their body. However, it is also important for me to find other ways to feel fulfilled. Whether that is my family and friends or a new interest or hobby. I am constantly seeking ways to grow as a trainer and as a human being.

23 दिसंबर 2011




The holidays are around the corner and with them come the parties, food, and travel. Workouts get shortened or forgotten and temptations eventually get the best of us.
If you’ve worked hard to get fit this year then the thought of undoing it may send you into a bit of a panic.
Fear  not! I have a plan for you.  I call it “Fitness in the Bank” and it works like a charm.
Rather than wait until January to lose the holiday pounds, I’m going to ask you to do a little extra now, before things get too hectic, so you can “bank some fitness” and “save up some skinny”.
I have used this technique with clients before sending them off for a movie shoot or into their television season.  I know that with 17 hour days that go on for weeks and temptation from Craft Service (think warm chocolate chip cookies) that a couple pounds can creep back on.  This could definitely cause some panic if we hadn’t planned ahead and gone into it a little light and extra fit.  This is the idea behind Fitness in the Bank.
If you want to lose some extra pounds now and increase your strength and stamina, then try some of my tips below and put some Fitness in the Bank!

1.Go Harder
This can be achieved a variety of ways. You could lift heavier weights. You could perform exercisesthat use lots of major muscles, like squats, star push ups or Valslide sprinter lunges. You could do big circuits like I do or you could use your GymBoss timer and complete as many reps as possible in your 20-30 second work interval. The point is, you have to push yourself. If at the end of the workout you can ask yourself “could I have trained harder?” and the answer is yes, then you haven’t done your job. Always remember: Go hard. Go home. Put it in the bank!

2. Go Faster
Done properly, interval training is extremely difficult, which is why most people try to avoid it. However, if you want to scorch some calories and bank some fitness before the holidays, intervals are where it’s at.  Simply defined, interval training involves bursts of high intensity training with periods of lower intensity recovery.  For example: After your warm up, run 1 minute, walk 1 minute.  Repeat 10x and then cool down.
If you are new to this kind of training, I suggest to start with “Build Ups”.
This is how I explain them in my I Want My Bikini Body Express program.
Interval training is very effective for fat burning, but you need to ease into them. My favorite way to start clients on intervals is called “Build Ups”.
Head to a track or grassy field. You want a soft surface. You will need about 30-40 yards.
Start off in a jog and gradually increase your speed until you are at about 90% of your maximum at the end. Gently ease up and walk back to the start. Start with about 6 of these – work your way up to 10 or 12.
These will get you use to running faster. If you are already doing intervals, then I recommend that you shorten the duration and increase the intensity.
You will come to love the speed.

3. Go longer.
Add an extra 10-15 minutes to your workouts. As a general rule, I keep my workouts at about 40-45 minutes. However, I will call in the “go longer” chip when I need to bust a plateau or put some fitness in the bank. The best way to do this is to add some running intervals to the end of your strength workouts when your muscles are warm and your nervous system primed. (See the example above on how to do intervals)  However, if you haven’t really been pushing it in your workouts until now, then do 15 minutes of cardio before your strength training circuits.

4. Go more often.
Even when you are ramping things up, you still need to recover. But a special technique called “active recovery” will keep you feeling good and add some extra calories burned to your week. Active recovery emphasizes doing light exercise on your “off-days.” Try a hike on Saturday or yoga on Sunday. You can even rack up a couple of 2-a-days by  following your morning workout with an after work spin or yoga class.  A few weeks of this and you will be ready to cruise through the holidays.

5. Go Naked.
Okay, maybe not literally, although that may motivate you to get your sweat on. I’m talking more a la` the “Naked Chef” Jamie Oliver. Eat mostly organic, locally produced food, prepared simply without a lot of sauce, cheese or cream.
Skip the Starbucks Frappachino in favor of a black coffee with a bit of sugar or maybe an espresso. Go for grilled chicken with Val’s Easy Tomato Sauce instead of the chicken parmesan. Try roasted vegetables instead of anything “au gratin”. Consider berries or a piece of dark chocolate for dessert instead of ice cream or chocolate soufflé.
If you follow any—or several—of these tips, it won’t take long before this becomes your preferred way of training and eating. The best part? Even if you slip up during the holidays and have some mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie, you can still feel good knowing you “banked” some skinny ahead of time.

22 दिसंबर 2011



"Approach working out with gratitude."
Exercise is not a chore; it's a privilege. Think, How lucky I am that I found time in my busy schedule for myself and to take care of my body.
—Mari Winsor has sculpted the bodies of Vanessa Williams, Sandra Bullock, and Jamie Lee Curtis using Pilates.

"Be accountable for each mouthful."
Most people eat emotionally. We constantly put food into our mouths unconsciously. Keep a food journal, and learn about portion sizes and the actual calorie counts in foods so you really understand what you're eating. It's not about starving yourself; it's about being fully aware of what is going into your body.
—Teddy Bass has gotten Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz into shape; his workouts incorporate Pilates and dance

"Be virtuous."
If you knock out your workout first thing in the morning, you will carry a feeling of achievement and virtuousness with you all day. It sets the tone. This sense of virtue will influence other aspects of your life. You will make healthier and smarter food choices.
—Valerie Waters has whipped Jennifer Garner , Elizabeth Berkley, and Poppy Montgomery into shape.
"Celebrate the body you have."
You have to start by appreciating the body you have. Life is a gift, and we must rise to the occasion. You can become your potential if you focus on three things: mind-set, motivation, and movement. They encompass the emotional, the spiritual, and the physical. You have the right and the power to change your body. The more secure you are, the more you love yourself, the easier it is to make physical changes occur. With self-acceptance and clear intention, change will follow
 —Kacy Duke, cofounder of Equinox Fitness Clubs, has trained Iman, Julianne Moore, Mary J. Blige and Kirsten Dunst.

"Work out for a higher purpose."
Train with a specific goal in mind. Whether it's winning a tennis match, losing weight for a milestone birthday, or running your first 5K, having a goal will elevate your motivation and increase your commitment. Interest fades when you make open-ended goals with no deadlines; the gym should be a means to an end. If you train and think like an athlete, you'll work harder, and your body will change as a result.
—Jamie Milnes specializes in athletics-based workouts. His clients include Cindy Crawford

"Do a super amount of squats for a great butt."
I call this move the Ten-Squat Trick:

"Strengthen from the outside in; nourish from the inside out."
I believe in mindful exercise and nutrition. There are no mindless movements. Everything you do should have a purpose. Put your mind into each muscle you are working on to control the effectiveness of your workout, and into each bite of food you are ingesting. By doing so, you can self-police and self-correct. Take a moment, pause, and think about why you are doing something and what its effect will be. By shaping and toning your body on the outside, your inner core and internal self will become stronger. And by properly enriching your body with whole foods and keysupplements, your inner health will appear externally. It's the yin and the yang. Be conscious. Transform your life.
—David Kirsch's clients include Heidi Klum  Liv Tyler, Ellen Barkin, and Anne Hathaway

18 सितंबर 2011

Mantra: mode for self discovery Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Mantra: mode  for self discovery
Swami Satyananda Saraswati
given at the Dublin Convention on Sept. 22nd 1979

For thousands of years, you and your ancestors have been working on mind control, and most have either failed or slipped into a state of hypnosis. The mental process is an involuntary process and you cannot cut through it at any point you like. Even if you can stop the thoughts, you can't stop the process. Mind, thought and consciousness maintain their level. You only have the satisfaction of knowing that you have created a vacuum in your mind- shoonya, void, a thought free mental area. But that's all delusion; man can never be free from the thought process.
You not only think on the conscious plane - you think even though you are unconscious. When you are extrovert and preoccupied, an unseen, eternal, unbroken and protracted process of thought movement continues behind the mental curtain. You don't see anything but there is constant movement.

Mind is not a homogeneous substance- mind is a replica of proto-matter, universal mind. You talk about controlling the mind, but what are you talking about? You can definitely streamline and channelize your emotions, the pattern of your thinking and the structure of your ambition- the social mind. But the real mind is invincible and is completely indomitable. Therefore, intelligent people must realise that in order to understand and control the thought process you have to go into the deeper spheres of your mind. That is the science of mantra.
The process
Mantra is not the name of a god or goddess or of a person. It is not a holy word or part of a hymn.
Mantra is not sacred, nor is it a tool for concentration. It is a vehicle for expansion of mind and liberation of energy.
The sounds which you receive and the sounds you make, create resonant waves in the depths and surface of the mind. These sound waves have various forms known as mandalas which go deep and hit the depths of the mind. If you take a pebble and throw it into a pool- circles, waves or ripples are generated. Deep freeze the whole pool immediately and then look at it- follow the ripples and find the point where the pebble hit the water.
The process of mantra is very similar. First of all fix your mind on the nose tip or one of the centres. This is very important, because when the eyeballs move, the rhythms of the brain are affected and shadows move- the level of consciousness does not become steady. For that reason the eyes have to be absolutely steady. In order to create steadiness, you have to find one centre, the nose tip, close the eyes, and fix your mind there. That is point one. Secondly, the nose is directly connected with the perineum, which is the seat of the most important centre in the body- mooladhara chakra. When you concentrate on the nose tip the impulses keep moving from the nose tip right down to the perineum.

After you have been concentrating on the nose tip, become aware of the breath, the natural breath which moves at the speed of fifteen rounds per minute. The breath has to be felt at the nose tip, flowing through both the nasal orifices. Then synchronise your mantra with the natural stream of the breath, either one mantra with inspiration and one with expiration, or more than one mantra with inspiration. That all depends upon the length of your mantra and on your personal choice.
Unlocking Pandora's box
What happens when you are practising mantra ? More and more thoughts express themselves. Mind becomes wild. As long as you are occupied, you are quiet; your mind is peaceful. But when you begin to concentrate on the mantra, everything comes out from the depths. Does this mean that you are not progressing? Is it a negative symptom? No- during the period when you practise mantra, the wilder the mind becomes, the better it is for you. It is not clarity, tranquillity or passivity of mind that is required. The most important thing is to face the mind- to see the entire process.
Thinking is not a process- it is a panorama. Mind does not move, mind does not walk, mind does not run. It is just a thing. But you see the mind in parts, therefore you think it is moving, just as you see the sun moving but the earth not. This is one of the most important things that all of us must understand. This idea is very important in yoga. It influences the whole mental condition, the state of being. You feel thoughts moving, emotions running wild, passions assailing you. But that's your experience, your feeling- that's not a fact. You see the whole thing, part by part, and therefore you feel that the mind is moving from past into present and from present into future, from future into past and from past into future. But it is not like that. Universal mind is a homogeneity; it cannot be separated by time and space. Time and space are in its womb.

Therefore, when you are practising mantra, you should be happy when your mind is developing the areas concerning the past, present and future. When evil and criminal thoughts are awakened in your mind, or when you have thoughts of God and compassion-it is all the same. If you want to crush the evil idea, you must crush the good idea as well. This is a very important point, and it is here that the whole process of life, of evolution, is stuck. Those people who have been able to transcend the barriers of life, have done it only after realising this.

You expect the mind to be calm like a moonlit night, free from clouds and thunder. That's not expecting something which is possible. When you practise your mantra, please remember that you are not practising it to stop this eternal process; to crush the basis of your faculties, your knowledge, your enlightenment. To crush the mind is to kill life. To suppress an emotion is to destroy the very base of your ambition and desire. Man cannot be anything unless he has the whole mind to work from. The greatest discoveries in history, the greatest victories, the greatest paintings, compositions, and realizations-what are they, but products of the mind.
Therefore, when you practise mantra, please be aware of whatever comes to your mind. Do not put things into categories and compartments: 'Very nice thoughts I had today, thank God.' Or, 'Today my meditation was very bad; throughout the practice I have been having horrible thoughts.' No, this is where we are making a great mistake. When you fix your mind on the nose tip, on the breath, and on the mantra - the deeper you go the greater will be the manifestation of the whole mind.

Forget about control
The mind has infinite experiences, pictures, realisations and ideas. Therefore, I cannot agree with those people who say: 'Close your eyes, control your mind and practise mantra. You will come to the light.' I have practised not for one or two years, but for a whole lifetime, and I know this is not the way.
By trying to control the mind, you are creating a split in your personality. Who are you and whom are you trying to control? As you practise mantra, every time a bad thought comes, you set it aside. Who is doing this, and with whom? Who is the controller, who is controlled and who controls the controlling process? It's all you - one mind, myself, and two perceptions. You are creating a conflict between the two perceptions that have arisen in you. That's why the whole civilisation has become schizophrenic and neurotic. For that, you are responsible; your religion, your system of spiritual life, is responsible.

Man does not live by faith or belief. Man lives by an absolutely cruel sense of discovery, and great things have come out of it. Faith and belief have their limitations, but discovery has no limitations. You can explore into eternity, into infinity and keep on going as far as you will. That's discovery, that's adventure. But once you stop and say, 'I have found it', that is faith or belief, and that is setting limitations to your capacity, to your potentialities.
So when you practise mantra, the deeper you go, the greater areas of the mind you explore. You will not only see the passions, ambitions, dreams, and compassions; you will see horrible fears, thoughts which you could never think on the mental, psychic or para-psychological planes. There is not one moment in the life of a practitioner when the mind is totally vacant.
People come to me every day saying, 'Swamiji, my mind is very restless and I am not able to concentrate. Kindly give me a mantra.' I have to tell them, 'This is not possible. I don't teach mantra for this purpose. But if you want your unconscious to be exploded, if you want the great treasure to reveal itself, then, I can give you a mantra.'
The science of mantra is not a branch of hatha yoga; it is a part of tantra. In tantra it is said that mantras can influence the totality of human consciousness and destiny. Therefore, when we set out to practise mantra, we should forget one point, control of mind.

Mantra can be practised at any part of the body, not only the nose tip. You can practise mantra awareness at the navel, the centre of the heart, the eyebrow centre, or even sahasrara chakra - the crown lotus on top of the head.
There are four ways in which mantra can be practised: (i) baikhari - aloud, with the mouth; (ii) upanshu - whispering, with movement of the lips; (iii) manasik - silently in the mind, with no movement of the lips or tongue, no stir in the throat; (iv) ajapa japa - spontaneously with the breath.
When the sound is produced in these four different forms, it has different types of waves. When you chant Om aloud or in a whisper, it creates a standing wave. When you repeat it silently in the mind, it produces a resonant wave. Spontaneous mantra synchronised with the breath creates a continuous, rhythmic wave which has a long range of vibration. When you chant the mantra with your mouth or lips, it has a short range of vibration, a very quick rest period.

This doesn't mean to say that you should not chant aloud, but this is the lower form. Feeling the mantra spontaneously is the higher form. For the best results, mantra should be practised in the following sequence: First chant aloud, producing the sound with your mouth. After a few months, just whisper it on the lips, without producing any vibration. Then later, after a year or so, fix a point at the eyebrow centre, nose tip, or in the heart, and repeat your mantra silently there, synchronising it with the pulse beat. Finally, practise spontaneous awareness of the mantra with the rhythm of the breath. This is the most important form. If the mantra is to penetrate the inner consciousness, to reach the point where thoughts originate, where consciousness emanates and evolution begins, then this last form of spontaneous mantra awareness, ajapa japa, must be practised.

Acceptance of the mind is a very important attitude, especially during the practice of mantra. To live with our own thoughts and feelings is very difficult. People suffer from inferiority and guilt due to their own mind, their own mental behaviour. If you can come out of this by understanding and accepting the mind, many people will want to receive guidance from you. It doesn't matter how long you can sit in the lotus position. You can hold your mala for fifteen years and still be wrestling with the mind. What matters is that you learn to live with the mind, to understand the mind, and to utilise the perceptions that it is projecting before you. Whenever the mind is disturbed, you must find out what is the cause of the disturbance - the sound, the individual, the situation. Try to become a witness of all that is happening- this is the attitude that must be developed in the practice of mantra. Finally, when you have finished the practice, put your mala down and stop the mantra. Fix your mind on one point, for example, the nose tip or eyebrow centre, for five minutes and visualise the symbol of your mantra there.
If you continue this practice regularly you will treat your own mental problems, and correct your abnormal mental behaviour. You will be your own mental doctor. As well as this, you will develop an intimate friendship with the mind, and all of its fantastic faculties will open up to you. This mind is telepathic, clairvoyant, psycho-telekinetic This mind has infinite qualities- it can create a poem and make you a Milton. It can decide your future and make you a warrior, a soldier, a statesman or a saint. But we must know how to make use of this mind.

Tranquillity is not necessary when you practise mantra, nor is it the aim. If you want to get rid of hypertension, blood pressure or coronary stress, and you are trying to make the mind tranquil, you can expect another heart attack. Tranquillity is an ideal. Man has to learn to live with reality. Nature is living with stress. The universe is living with stress. How long do you want to be like soft butter? Learn to live with stress. That is the ultimate aim. Stress is struggle; struggle is life, and life is progress.

The tantric approach
Why did the tantric tradition give us mantra? In the tantric texts it says that even a person who can't walk, talk, see, or hear, who is absolutely destitute, with everybody against him, can practise mantra and become enlightened.
Mantra eliminates sickness and madness, not by controlling the mind but by letting the mind open itself. The more you practise mantra, the more you see on the beautiful television before you. You will have endless thoughts, dreams and visions. The practice of mantra lets all the wild animals out of the cage. You may think this is not at all necessary, but I have found that before you can get peace of mind, before you can transcend the mind, you must be able to face all the disturbances of the mind.
If I have a problem and am unable to sleep for three days, I don't care that my mind is agitated. I believe that the mind must face truth honestly. If I am up against the agony of death, I must face it and experience it. If I am feeling the turbulence of passion, I must face it and experience it.
The purpose of mantra is not to make the brain inactive to these things, but to increase its sensitivity and awareness. This is the tantric system and it teaches you to face facts, with your eyes open. We don't want people to be like ostriches. Are you ready to unlock the mind and face its manifestations, or do you still want to put a cover over them? If you want to put a cover over them, then you have the hypnotic aspect of mantra meditation. But if you are willing to face them and work them out, then you have the tantric aspect, and mantra is the way.
Satsang on Mantra
I have tried many mantras and have become confused. How do I know which one I should persist with?
Well, the question could be put in a different way, 'I have married so many times and nothing has succeeded.' You see, the first thing is to stay with one mantra and continue it. Don't go on changing the mantra. Don't go on jumping from guru to guru. There is only one secret of success- stick to something. Even if you are stuck to a very ineffective system it does not matter. Maybe you will reach the goal a little later, but you will reach it. Don't get fed up with the practice. If you are practising my system stick to it, and if you are practising some other system stick to that. One guru, one mantra - that is called spiritual chastity.
Remember the words 'spiritual chastity'. Don't go on with your old habits of flirting, or at least don't project them into your spiritual life. In material life you may go from this husband to that husband, from this wife to that wife, from this job to that job, from this flat to that flat, from this country to another, and it may all work out all right. But in spiritual life only one thing will work- one-pointed chastity of spiritual purpose.

What is the difference between a personal mantra and a general mantra?
Up to the point of initiation, you can practise any general mantra, but once you have been initiated into a mantra, this becomes your personal mantra and it should not be changed.
There are also special mantras which can be utilised for specific purposes such as influencing your destiny, or to overcome a specific problem. These mantras are discontinued as soon as they have fulfilled their purpose, and are then classified along with the general mantras.

If you already have a guru, is it possible to receive a mantra from another guru?
According to my understanding, the guru has to be properly defined. If you have learned yoga from someone, he is your yoga guru. If you have learned the Gita or the Bible, he is your Gita or Bible guru. If you have been going to him for a long time and learning about spiritual life, then he is your spiritual guru. If he is a spiritually illumined person and you have great respect for him, he is also your guru. Accordingly, one can have many gurus, and the person who gives you a mantra is your mantra guru. So if you have a spiritual master, a Gita or Bible master, a raja yoga or tantra yoga master, you can also have a mantra master. Guru has two aspects :(i) he teaches you; (ii) he can help you to illumine your consciousness. So you can have these two aspects in one person or in many persons.

What is the benefit of receiving a mantra directly from the guru?
When the mantra is heard from the guru, it is registered by your atman. Then it becomes the seed which grows as you practise your sadhana.
What is the difference between a tantric mantra and a vedic mantra?
Tantric mantras are those which influence the deeper nature of the universe. They are also intended to fulfil certain desires of man. Tantric mantras are very powerful and when you practise them, they create a great force in the atmosphere.
Vedic mantras are intended for worship of the divine and for self-realization. They change the nature of a person and make him more devotional.

Is it necessary to pronounce the mantra correctly?      
If you make a mistake in pronouncing the vedic mantras there is no harm. For example, if you are repeating the mantra Om Namah Shivaya and you say Om Nomoh Shivaya, it won't make much difference. But the tantric mantras must be pronounced absolutely precisely and correctly.
I have found that anyone who listens with awareness can produce the correct sound of the mantra. At first you may not be able to repeat the correct sound aloud, but you can perceive it. After hearing a melody several times, you can think it in your mind, even though you may not be able to sing it. In the same way, if you listen to the pronunciation of the mantra, even if you do not repeat it aloud, you will conceive the correct sound in your mind, and this is enough.

Is the intellectual meaning of mantra important?
The mantra is a combination or assembly of powerful sound waves. As such, the intellectual understanding of the mantra is not at all necessary. It is not the meaning, but the sound waves created by the mantra which influence the cosmos in the brain and outside. There are some mantras which don't even have a meaning.
The mantra has two basic aspects: sound and form. For example, when you chant Om, it is a sound; when you write Om in script, it is a form. So every mantra has a sound and a form, but the most powerful aspect is the sound. All educated people have a concept of script in their mind. If you are not educated and have no concept of script in your mind, then you will conceive Om as sound only. The problem is- you are not able to separate the sound from the script. If you repeat the sound Om, it is not only the sound, but also the script which follows it. When you are practising a mantra, gradually try to leave the idea of script and follow the sound.

How should the practice of mantra be integrated into the daily routine?
Practise for ten minutes early in the morning before everyone gets up, and again at night just before you go to bed. Also try to remember the mantra and repeat it mentally throughout the day, when you are at work or just sitting.
How important is regularity?
Mantra is so powerful that it can change your destiny, economic situation, physical structure, etc. If you want the mantra to change the whole structure of your life, you must practise it regularly, every morning and evening.
Why is it recommended to chant mantra aloud in the beginning?
Unless your mind is steady and one-pointed, mental repetition of mantra can bring more dissipation.
What is the purpose of chanting Om in groups?
Om chanting is done in groups to raise everyone at the same time. There are two types of Om chanting used for this purpose. One practice is where everybody chants aloud together O-o-m-m-m-m- The other is where everybody chants silently Om, Om, Om. The latter is a relaxed way of chanting used for chakra work. It allows you to be independent. When the group is chanting Om aloud together, they have to keep their minds on each other, but when you are practising silently, you can chant freely in your own rhythm. Om is a combination of three sounds 'A', 'U' and 'M'. These three can be pronounced in different ways according to grammatical rules. Generally, however, the combination of 'A' and 'U' becomes 'O'. Thus the pronunciation is really O-o-m-m-m-m'
 How does a mantra act scientifically?
Every sound and form has a different archetype inside the brain. The process of knowledge takes place through these archetypes. As I am talking to you, knowledge simultaneously takes place inside you, but this process is not based on the actual sounds I am pronouncing. As soon as the sound goes into the brain, it changes its waves and assumes various geometrical patterns. These patterns are the archetypes. Now, in science, the principle is that perception and cognition take place inside through the intermediary archetypes, and what we perceive is not exactly as it was outside.
There are infinite archetypal patterns. In yoga they are known as mandalas and yantras. Scientists have found that by producing certain sounds, certain flower-like shapes were formed. When certain mantras were chanted, they found that they created the archetype of a lotus flower. That is why the lotus is so common in spiritual literature. In the same way, different forms can be created by different mantras.

Sound is a force, and this force affects a certain part of the universe and creates ripples in the vast ocean of the cosmos, just as the electromagnetic or radio waves can't be heard even though they pass through the atmosphere. In the same way, a mantra has its own field by which it travels. In this universe which we see around us, there are thousands of channels of waves. We call them layers or zones. In one layer radioactivity travels, in another layer electromagnetic waves, in the third layer thought waves.
When you produce a sound it attains a certain frequency. If your mind is dissipated then the frequency is low. If your mind is one-pointed, then the frequency is high. Your mind is a part of the cosmic mind. When you are in concentration, you are a part of the cosmic mind, but when your mind is not concentrated, then you are not in communication with the cosmic mind.

Are the vedic gods created by the archetype of mantra?
Yes, in fact the gods and goddesses that we hear about in religion are only archetypes. Gods and goddesses like Shiva and Parvati are divine archetypes. In Sanskrit, these vedic deities are known as deva, meaning illumination. When your mind is illumined, you can see so many things inside. Within this cosmos there are infinite forms. The human brain is a miniature universe, and whatever you see in the whole cosmos is contained inside. If you can illumine the inside then you can know all about the outside.

What is anusthana and how is it practised?
Anusthana is a traditional practice in which a particular mantra is chanted. There are many kinds of anusthana but the two most important are sadharana anusthana and purashcharana anusthana. Sadharana anusthana is done on all nine days of Navaratri. During this time, simple, bland food is taken and no work is done. Purascharana is a long anusthana in which the mantra is repeated as many hundreds of thousands of times as the number of matras or letters it contains. For example, if the mantra is Om Namah Shivaya, it must be repeated 500,000 times- this means 5000 malas. This can be completed in a short period of time or over a long period at your convenience. If you do not want to undertake the full number, then you can do only half or one quarter. Anusthana is initiated on an auspicious day, for example, the day of an eclipse, when the number of mantras, and perhaps the duration of time, is fixed and a sankalpa or vow is made to complete them. After many years of practice, the sound waves awaken the causal body. We call this mantra siddhi, the perfection of the power of mantra.

17 सितंबर 2011

Osho – To know God is totally different than knowing about God

Osho – To know God is totally different than knowing about God

question – i wish i could know more about god. can you help me, beloved master?
osho – There is no way to know more about God. You can know God, but you cannot know more about God. Knowing more about God is not knowing God. Knowing more is knowledge; knowing God is a totally different dimension. Knowing about is knowledge – you can go on, about and about and about, but you will never reach to God. To know God is totally different than knowing about God.
You can know much about love without knowing love at all. You can go to the libraries and you can consult the encyclopedias and you can collect all knowledge possible about love — but if love has not happened to you, if that fire has not happened to you, you will not know what love is. You can collect all the stories about love — Laila and Majnu, Shiri and Farhad — you can collect stories about all the lovers of the world; that too won’t help. Love has to happen to you; you have to fall into love. You have to take the risk, you have to gamble — only then will you know.
You say, “I wish I could know more about God.” So, first thing: knowing more will not be of much help. That’s how a person becomes a pundit, a scholar-knowledge. I am not here to help you become more knowledgeable; you already have too much knowledge. I am here to destroy your knowledge, to take it away from you. You have to learn how to unlearn.
And then you say, “I wish.” Wish is a very very weak thing. Just by wishing, nobody can move towards God. More urgency, more deep desire is needed… desire which becomes a flame in you. Hunger is needed; wishing won’t help. Thirst is needed… as if you are lost in the Sahara desert, and for miles all around just sand and sand and the burning sun, and not a drop of water with you and you cannot see any greenery anywhere, and you are thirsty, and your whole being is at stake — any moment you can die — and the thirst goes on and on and you become a flame… in that thirst, God is possible.

Become thirsty. Wishing is not enough; wishing is too weak. I have heard…
A hungry-looking tramp stopped at a farmhouse and asked for some food. The housewife brought him some and he sat on the back step enjoying all she had set before him. As he sat there, a little red hen dashed by, being chased by a rooster. The tramp threw the rooster a piece of his bread. It stopped dead in its tracks and greedily swallowed the bread whole.
“Gee!” said the tramp. “I hope I’ll never be that hungry.”
You have to be tremendously hungry. It is not just a curiosity. God cannot be an object of your wish. God is not a wish-fulfillment, God is not your dream. God has to go like a flame into your guts. When you start feeling that nothing else matters, when God is the first priority and you are ready to sacrifice everything. When God becomes such an absorbing, urgent desire that even life is not meaningful any more without God-only then. And then there is no need for anybody to help you, your desire will do the work.
In that urgent thirst, in that intensity, all that is darkness in you disappears. In that flame, all that is useless burns down. You come out as pure gold. God is your reality as much as it is my reality. God is as much your reality as it was Jesus Christ’s or Gautam Buddha’s. The difference is, you have not yet been able to sort out the chaff from the wheat; the wheat is in you, but too much chaff is there. In a tremendous desire to know, to be, the chaff burns down — and there is no other way.
When you go to a master, he in fact does not help you to reach to God, he helps you to become more and more thirsty. He helps you to become more and more intensely hungry. He gives you thirst and hunger; he gives you a mad passion for the impossible. One man came to Buddha and asked, “If I come and follow you, will I be able to know truth?” Buddha said: That is not certain. I cannot guarantee. I can guarantee only one thing, that I will make you more and more thirsty. Then everything depends on you. I can transfer my thirst to you and if you are ready to allow that much thirst… because it is painful. The journey is painful; all growth is painful. If you allow me to create that much pain in you, that very pain will purify. Pain is a purifying process.

So never ask about God as if it is your wish, and never ask that you would like to know more. God either is known or not known — more or less is not the question. You cannot divide God — “I know a little bit and somebody else knows a little more, and somebody almost half, and somebody a hundred percent.” God cannot be divided; either you know, or you don’t know. And the knowledge of God is not like any other knowledge. It is not like scientific knowledge, that you can go on knowing more and more and more, never ending, the procession continues. It is not a knowledge from the outside. The knowledge of God is not like knowledge, it is more like love. You disappear in your beloved — that is the only way to know. And the more you disappear in your beloved, the more you
know that “I don’t know.”
The greatest knowers of God always say they don’t know. They are like drops in the ocean — they have fallen into the ocean and disappeared, and the ocean has fallen into them and disappeared. Now, who is the knower and how is the known?
Kabir has said: I was searching and searching and searching, and then I got lost, and then happened the miracle of miracles. When I was not there you were standing before me. And when I was there and searching and searching, you were so far away — not even a glimpse. And now, look… I have disappeared. Searching, searching, I got lost, completely lost; my whole search absorbed me, destroyed me completely. Now I am no more… and my Lord, you are standing before me.
Kabir has said that the seeker never reaches to the sought. Man never confronts God — because unless you disappear he cannot appear, so there is no meeting-point. When you are, he is not; when he is, you are not — so how can you claim that “I know?” You are not — only then, he is. When the knower disappears, the knowledge appears; it cannot be just a wish-fulfillment.
I can help you to become a flame — thirsty, hungry, burning; I can give you the pain. Then everything else depends on you — how much you go into that pain, into that fire. You can take a jump, and God can happen in a sudden moment. There is no need to wait, there is no need to postpone. This very moment it can happen… if you are ready to go into that pain totally.
Source: Osho Book “The Divine Melody”