Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Sunday, October 13th, 2019

Tirupati, India


This is about the most austere practice that I have to go through.  Perhaps I can speak for some of my peers as well.  It is not the 33 degrees Celsius heat, which feels like 40, that has become the challenge.  The snacks  and juices at meeting sessions are satisfactory.  The company itself is beyond any heavenly requests and  I’m in the midst of the best saints.  What really poses a difficulty are the long sit-down sessions. 

The topics of the meetings are important, for sure.  I just crave formal stretch breaks.  Maybe some aerobics would do?  Why not some ‘Krishna Zumba’!?

At the end of today’s session, very unconsciously, I displayed a grin, and Niranjan Swami asked for a kind explanation. 

“I wasn’t aware, “ I said.  “I just feel relieved.”

He laughed.

Don’t get me wrong.  The men and women who sit in the room are precious.  Just a little ‘Zumba for seniors’ could make all the difference.  I think I’ll suggest it to one of the facilitators, even if it’s just in jest.  Let’s see what will happen.

Yamala Arjuna came from Delhi to join us.  My room is not totally private.  It was like this sometimes in Mayapur, when my room was also crammed with young actors.  For some reason,  I like the company.  In fact, outside my door, I place a strip of sticky pad over the ‘NOT’ on the sign DO NOT DISTURB.  I do, however, sometimes desire my private moments, and then I tell the gang to abandon ship.

May the Source be with you!
5 km

Saturday, October 12th, 2019

Tirupati, India

Great Article on Walking Research

Pragosh, from Ireland, forwarded the following article: “Slow Walking at 45, a Sign of Faster Aging” by Philippa Roxby-Health Reporter, BBC News

“How fast people walk in their 40s is a sign of how much their brains, as well as their bodies, are ageing, scientists have suggested. Using a simple test of gait speed, researchers were able to measure the ageing process. Not only were slower walkers' bodies ageing more quickly - their faces looked older and they had smaller brains. The international team said the findings were an "amazing surprise".
Doctors often measure gait speed to gauge overall health, particularly in the over-65s, because it is a good indicator of muscle strength, lung function, balance, spine strength and eyesight. Slower walking speeds in old age have also been linked to a higher risk of dementia and decline.
'Problem sign'
In this study, of 1,000 people in New Zealand - born in the 1970s and followed to the age of 45 - the walking speed test was used much earlier, on adults in mid-life. The study participants also had physical tests, brain function tests and brain scans, and during their childhood they had had cognitive tests every couple of years.
"This study found that a slow walk is a problem sign decades before old age," said Prof. Terrie E Moffitt, lead author from King's College London and Duke University in the US.
Even at the age of 45, there was a wide variation in walking speeds with the fastest moving at 2m/s at top speed (without running). In general, the slower walkers tended to show signs of "accelerated ageing" with their lungs, teeth and immune systems in worse shape than those who walked faster.
The more unexpected finding was that brain scans showed the slower walkers were more likely to have older-looking brains too. And the researchers found they were able to predict the walking speed of 45-year-olds using the results of intelligence, language and motor skills tests from when they were three.
The children who grew up to be the slowest walkers (with a mean gait of 1.2m/s) had, on average, an IQ 12 points lower than those who were the fastest walkers (1.75m/s) 40 years later.
Lifestyle link
The international team of researchers, writing in JAMA Network Open, said the differences in health and IQ could be due to lifestyle choices or a reflection of some people having better health at the start of life. But they suggest there are already signs in early life of who is going to fare better in health terms in later life. The researchers said measuring walking speed at a younger age could be a way of testing treatments to slow human ageing. A number of treatments, from low-calorie diets to taking the drug metformin, are currently being investigated. It would also be an early indicator of brain and body health so people can make changes to their lifestyle while still young and healthy, the researchers said.”

May the Source be with you!
4 km

Friday, October 11th, 2019

Tirupati, India

Bats All About

Bats were all about on the veranda I was pacing on while doing my japa, at 2:30 a.m.  Then a power-outage occurred in the whole neighbourhood.  The lights failed us for a minute or so.  Imagine what life was like before electricity.  Night was night.  Day was day.  Fire was an important commodity then.

Two hours later, mangala aroti began: the first ritual, prayer, mantra, and movement of the body. 

Anuttama gave the Bhagavatam class.  Before he began, he insisted the room be divided, one section for men, one for the women.  I assisted in this.  Let’s go for fairness.

I’m meeting old friends—Niranjan Swami, Radhanath Swami, Pragosh, and Kalakantha from Gainesville.  Kalakantha is one of those activists promoting women to be gurus.  I’m with him for that approval.

I managed to give one of those talks, “Tales From Trails,” to a number of local, white-clad monks.  It certainly is another world for them hearing about bears, cougars, antelope and the wildlife of Canada in their regimented monastic setting.  They were in a wonderland.

At the end of today’s second session of discussion, four mahants (priests) from the Balaji temple, came dressed in their traditional unsewn cloth, with boldly marked tilak on their foreheads, and chanted ancient mantras in unison.  We were transported to another world. 

May the Source be with you!
5 km