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Sunday, September 25, 2016

The purpose of human life

Human life is meant for God realization, and the human being is given higher intelligence for this purpose. Those who believe that this higher intelligence is meant to attain a higher state should follow the instructions of the Vedic literatures. By taking such instructions from higher authorities, one can actually become situated in perfect knowledge and give real meaning to life.
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.9) Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī describes the proper human dharma in this way:
dharmasya hy āpavargyasya
nārtho ’rthāyopakalpate
nārthasya dharmaikāntasya
kāmo lābhāya hi smṛtaḥ

“All occupational engagements [dharma] are certainly meant for ultimate liberation. They should never be performed for material gain. Furthermore, one who is engaged in the ultimate occupational service [dharma] should never use material gain to cultivate sense gratification.”
The first step in human civilization consists of occupational engagements performed according to the scriptural injunctions. The higher intelligence of a human being should be trained to understand basic dharma. In human society there are various religious conceptions characterized as Hindu, Christian, Hebrew, Mohammedan, Buddhist and so on, for without religion, human society is no better than animal society.
As stated above (dharmasya hy āpavargyasya nārtho ’rthāyopakalpate), religion is meant for attaining emancipation, not for getting bread. Sometimes human society manufactures a system of so-called religion aimed at material advancement, but that is far from the purpose of true dharma. Religion entails understanding the laws of God because the proper execution of these laws ultimately leads one out of material entanglement. That is the true purpose of religion. Unfortunately people accept religion for material prosperity because of atyāhāra, or an excessive desire for such prosperity. True religion, however, instructs people to be satisfied with the bare necessities of life while cultivating Bhakti. Even though we require economic development, true religion allows it only for supplying the bare necessities of material existence. Jīvasya tattva jijñāsā: the real purpose of life is to inquire about the Absolute Truth. If our endeavor (prayāsa) is not to inquire about the Absolute Truth, we will simply increase our endeavor to satisfy our artificial needs. A spiritual aspirant should avoid mundane endeavor.
Source: Nectar of Instruction
 Raja Chandrasekaran.

A Rare View of China's Last Dynasty

In May of 1870, Thomas Child was hired by the Imperial Maritime Customs Service to be a gas engineer in Peking (Beijing). The 29-year-old Englishman left behind his wife and three children to become one of roughly 100 foreigners living in the late Qing dynasty's capital, taking his camera along with him. Over the course of the next 20 years, he took some 200 photographs, capturing the earliest comprehensive catalog of the customs, architecture, and people during China's last dynasty. On Thursday, an exhibition of his images will open at the Sidney Mishkin Gallery in New York, curated by Stacey Lambrow. In addition, descendants of the subjects of one of his most famous images, Bride and Bridegroom (1870s), will be in attendance.

 The wedding portrait of Zeng Jifen and Nie ji Gui, who were only recently identified. The bride is the daughter of Marquis Zeng Guofan, a high-ranking Chinese official during the Qing dynasty.

Left: A view of the Fragrant Hills Pagoda, which was part of the Grand Zongjing Monastery. The pagoda is embellished with glazed tiles of yellow, green, purple, and blue. Right: The 12th century pagoda of Tianning Temple, standing a few miles from the west gate of the city. It is one of the oldest buildings in the capital. Like many other Liao dynasty pagodas, the structure is solid. A sealed underground chamber holds Buddhist relics, statues, and sutras placed when the pagoda was built.

Thomas Child / Stephan Loewentheil Historical Photography of China Collection / Courtesy of the Sidney Mishkin Gallery


தஸ்லிமா நஸ் ரீன் பெண்ணியக் கவிதைகள்

( வங்கமொழியில்: தஸ்லிமா நஸ்ரீன் ஆங்கில மூலம்: கரோலின்ரைட் ) தமிழில் / சிபிச்செல்வன்
அதன் பிறகு (Thereafter)
என் சகோதரி ரவீந்திரநாத் தாகூரின் பாடல்களைப் பாடுவது வழக்கம்
அவள் சிமோன தி புவோவை விரும்பிப் படிப்பதும் வழக்கம்.
மதிய குளியலை மறந்து அவள் தன்னை மறந்து கார்ல் மார்க்ஸ்,
கார்கி, டால்ஸ்டாய், மற்றும் மாணிக் பந்தோபாத்யாய நாவல்கள் போன்றவற்றில் மூழ்குவாள்.
அவளுடைய பழைய ஞாபகத்தில் மூழ்குவதற்கு லாரா இன்கல்ஸ் வைல்டர்தான் பிடித்தமானவர்
போரைப் பற்றிய காட்சிகளைப் பார்த்தால், பாதி ராத்திரிவரை அழுது கொண்டேயிருப்பாள்.
என் சகோதரி அருமையான கவிதைகளை வாசிப்பாள்;
அவளுக்கு விருப்பமான சங்கா கோஷ், நீரேந்திரநாத் சக்கரபாரதி, நெருடா, மற்றும் யெவ்துஜூங்கோ
என் சகோதரி காட்டை நேசித்தாள், தோட்டத்தையல்ல;
அவள் சிலைகளை விரும்புவாள். ஒரு முறை இவற்றிற்காகப் பாரீஸ் போக டிக்கெட் வாங்கினாள்.
இப்போது என் சகோதரியின் கவிதை நோட்டில்
காய்கறி பற்றிய விவரங்களை எழுதி வைத்திருக்கிறாள்,
இப்போது பெருமையோடு சுற்றி வருகிறாள், உடல்நிறைய உலோக ஆபரணங்களை அணிந்து
அவள் பெருமையோடு சொல்கிறாள்
கலாச்சாரம் எக்கேடும் கெட்டுப்போகட்டும் அதுபற்றி அவள் கவலைப்படுவதில்லை.
அவளின் வீணை மீது தூசி படிந்திருக்கிறது, அவளின் தம்புரா எலி வலையானது
இப்போது அவள் கடை வீதிகளுக்குப் போய் வீட்டிற்கு தேவையான பொருட்களைச் சேகரிப்பதில்
கெட்டிக்காரியாகி விட்டாள்.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

How the muscles are working in the Exercise & Yoga Anatomy

There’s a lot to learn about the human body and it's easy to get overwhelmed. As a yoga teacher, it’s helpful to remember that the biggest reason to discuss anatomy is to facilitate healthy practice and help students understand what’s going on in the body.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are some key aspects of anatomy that are helpful to know. One note: When I say “major” in the list below, it refers to the more commonly-used parts of the body versus every little bone or muscle contained therein. This doesn’t mean you may not want to learn this additional information; it means it’s a place to start.
1. Major movements of the body.
Yoga is a practice of connecting movement to breath. "Movement" can be described in various ways, but in order to understand it from an anatomical perspective, we need to know the planes of the body and how moving different body parts creates actions such as flexion, extension, and internal and external rotation. The challenge isn’t in understanding these movements in theory; it’s in applying them to different body parts and poses. Often in one pose, there can be 3 or more actions taking place concurrently.
2. Major bones of the body.
The body is comprised of 206 bones; there are 26 in the foot alone. While it might be your passion to understand and be able to name all 206, it may not be necessary in order for you to develop a baseline of understanding for teaching yoga. Certainly bones in the arms, legs, and torso are essential to know in order to understand the basic structure of the body. Also, knowing the names of the bones will come in handy as you start to review the origin and insertion of the major muscles.
3. Major joints of the body.
We know yoga is a movement-based activity and we know the body is made up of bones and muscles (among other parts). Joints are between bones and understanding the types of joints in each part of the body has significant implications for the kinds of movements that are safe and accessible and the kinds of movements that are more risky, especially depending on a practitioner’s knowledge, degree of strength and flexibility.
There are several types of freely moveable joints (hinge, ball and socket, gliding, ellipsoid, pivot and saddle). At a minimum, it’s helpful to understand each one and to identify some parts of the body where they appear.
4. Major muscles of the body.
This is one of the toughest topics to wean down to just what is “essential." The easiest way to begin? Start with body parts, like “trunk,” or “shoulder,” and “hip,” and examine the muscles in these areas. One book that does this quite well is Blandine Calais-Germain’s, Anatomy of Movement.
5. The structure, composition and function of the spine.
The spine is the central axis of the body and as such, understanding it’s composition, function and surrounding muscles can help you in the presentation of poses as well as creating custom sequencing for students experiencing back pain, injury or chronic conditions. Start with its physical structure (bones, joints and discs) and work outwards (muscles, tendons and ligaments).
6. Muscles in action in essential yoga poses.
Just as we have to start somewhere in order to start our review of muscles and bones, we have to start somewhere when it comes to applying this information to the postures! Start out by taking 5 standing postures and identify the muscles in action. A good book for reference is Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews’ book, Yoga Anatomy.
7. Alignment that could put the body at risk.
Once you have a basic understanding the components of the body, its movements, and have reviewed key poses, you can begin to understand the kinds of movements that put the body at risk. For instance, understanding that the knee is a hinge joint helps us recognize that flexion and extension are healthier movements than taking the knee into flexion as you would see in a pose such as Pigeon (where the shin is moved to the side). Understanding how the spine works can help us as we work with people in forward bends.
Yoga teacher trainings include anatomy as part of the basic 200-hour program. How this information is presented can make a huge difference in terms of your ability to absorb the information. Presentations that include both the key information but also practical examples (such as identifying which muscles are needed for an effective transition from High to Low push up) can be wonderful for helping you walk away with information you can use in your classes.
Remember, your role as a yoga teacher is to understand anatomy in the context of yoga. Also know that as students ask questions about sensations, pain or tightness in their bodies, don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know,” and go look up the information.
Be sure to get back to them so you can test your ability to speak freely about what you’ve learned. Another way to test your knowledge is to create sequencing around different movements, muscles, and joints. So, for instance, creating a class around hip flexion, extension, internal and external rotation gives you a chance to learn the muscles that create these actions and create a sequence that supports them.
Most of all, recognize that understanding this information takes time and is really a life-long endeavor.
Have patience and enjoy the learning!