The Jason McElwain Story

Jason McElwain is autistic and also a basketball lover. So intense is his love for the game that he has remained associated with the high school basketball team for many years, helping with whatever the team needs, including handing out water. Because of his devotion to the game, the coach asked him to “suite up” for the last game of the season. This did not necessarily mean that he would get a chance to play, but at least he would know what it meant to sit on the sidelines. But in the last 4 minutes of the game, the coach pointed at Jason to get into the game. What happened next was completely unexpected. Watch the video to find out.

This is not just a feel-good video. It also shows that when the energy level rises, belief can turn into reality and the unexpected can unfold.

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Simplicity, Patience, And Compassion

Lao Tzu's Three Rules

Lao Tzu

Some say that my teaching is nonsense.
Others call it lofty but impractical.
But to those who have looked inside themselves,
this nonsense makes perfect sense.
And to those who put it into practice,
this loftiness has roots that go deep.

I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.

-Lao Tzu (The Tao Te Ching)

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How Does Pranayama Work?

How Does Pranayama Work

Pranayama is an integral part of the broader yoga system. We understand Pranayama to be a form of breathing exercises that when done properly can lead to the calming and centering of the mind-body system. But exactly how does Pranayama work?

In his book “Holy Science” Swami Sri Yukteshwar (Guru of Paramahamsa Yoganananda) explains: “Man can put the voluntary nerves into action whenever he likes, and can give them rest when fatigued. When all these voluntary nerves require rest he sleeps naturally and by this sleep the voluntary nerves, being refreshed, can work again with full vigor. Man’s involuntary nerves however, irrespective of his will are working continuously of themselves from his birth. As he has no control over them, he cannot interfere with their actions in the least.”

Sri Yukteshwar is talking about the somatic nervous system (the nervous system that is in our voluntary control) and the autonomic nervous system (the nervous system that we do not control consciously.) The autonomic system is part of the nervous system that controls our internal organs like heart and lungs.

The point Sri Yukteshwar is trying to make is that since our heart never stops beating or our lungs never stop breathing, our autonomic system never rests even when we sleep. He then points out that if we use Pranayama properly we can give our Autonomic nervous system rest and allow it to reinvigorate itself:

“If man can control these involuntary nerves by Pranayama, he can stop the natural decay of the material body and put the involuntary nerves to rest periodically, as he does with his voluntary nerves in sleep. After such rest by Pranayama the involuntary nerves become refreshed and work with newly replenished life”. He then continues, “In that way he saves his body from premature decay that overtakes most men…”

From ancient times Pranayama has been widely accepted as something by which we can maintain good health and elongate life. This essay throws some light on how Pranayama works. Now let us resolve to put this knowledge to use by making the practice of Pranayama a regular part of our daily schedule.

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Credits:This has been written by Raj Shah and edited by Ketna Shah.

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Life’s Purpose In Five Minutes

Adam Leipzig teaches us that life’s purpose can be learnt by answering these five questions:

1. Who you are?
2. What do you love to do?
3. Who do you do it for?
4. What do these people want?
5. How are they changed as a result?

One possible set of answers could be:

1. Who you are? [first name]
2. What do you love to do? “I design apparel”
3. Who do you do it for? “For men and women”
4. What do these people want? “Affordable clothing”
5. How are they changed as a result? “Look and feel their best”

This translates to:

“I design apparel for men and women who need affordable clothing to make them look and feel their best.”

So if you love to teach yoga the answer could go as follows:

1. Who you are? [first name]
2. What do you love to do? “I teach yoga”
3. Who do you do it for? “Busy men and women”
4. What do these people want? “A moment of peace”
5. How are they changed as a result? “Feel connected, renewed, and whole”

This translates to:

“I teach yoga to busy men and women looking for a moment of peace to make them feel connected, renewed, and whole.”

This technique works because it expresses your purpose in terms of service to others. It allows you to orient your actions to face outwards and allows you to provide a larger framework for your actions.

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They’re Singing Your Song

Singing Your Song

When a woman in a certain African tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness with a few friends and together they pray and meditate until they hear the song of the child. They recognize that every soul has its own vibration that expresses its unique flavor and purpose. When the women attune to the song, they sing it out loud. Then they return to the tribe and teach it to everyone else.

When the child is born, the community gathers and sings the child’s song to him or her. Later, when the child enters education, the village gathers and chants the child’s song. When the child passes through the initiation to adulthood, the people again come together and sing. At the time of marriage, the person hears his or her song.

Finally, when the soul is about to pass from this world, the family and friends gather at the person’s bed, just as they did at their birth, and they sing the person to the next life.

To the African tribe there is one other occasion upon which the villagers sing to the child. If at any time during his or her life, the person commits a crime or aberrant social act, the individual is called to the center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around them. Then they sing their song to them.

The tribe recognizes that the correction for antisocial behavior is not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of identity. When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.

A friend is someone who knows your song and sings it to you when you have forgotten it. Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused.

You may not have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song to you at crucial life transitions, but life is always reminding you when you are in tune with yourself and when you are not. When you feel good, what you are doing matches your song, and when you feel awful, it doesn’t. In the end, we shall all recognize our song and sing it well.

You may feel a little warbly at the moment, but so have all the great singers. Just keep singing and you’ll find your way home.

Credit: This is from a story told by Alan Cohen in his book “Wisdom Of The Heart”.

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