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WITH GRACE YOU CAN WIN ANY RACE By Donna Amrita Davidge This saying, or metaphor, which is the

title for this issue's article, is a saying coined by Yogi Bhajan, the Master of Kundalini Yoga. He has created many of these points to ponder. Another one is "Excuses are self abuses". Have you ever made an excuse when your behavior did not reflect the character and caliber to carry through and deliver? It is of course human to make mistakes but can we learn and grow from them? Yogi Bhajan also gives us seven specific steps to happiness. He says that without all seven you cannot be happy! The journey starts with commitment. He says we are meant to commit. For some of us this is not easy. We may be unsure in relationships, in our career paths and in what our life destiny actually is. Yet Yogi Bhajan says that if we cannot withstand the pressure that comes with commitment, how can the jewel of our consciousness develop into the diamond it was meant to be? "I push a person to excellence and nobody wants to be pushed. The only beauty in the world is duty, done and delivered. There is no better joy than that" Yogi Bhajan The other night I chanced upon an Italian film called "The Last Kiss". It followed four young men around age thirty on their individual paths and as friends. Three wanted freedom, finally fleeing in a van to parts unknown, leaving babies and family businesses in search of a life of noncommitment. The main character, whose girlfriend was pregnant, balked from commitment and made one mistake. But he realized in time that his happiness lay in duty, sacrifice and the ability to commit. He followed the seven steps only after learning that devotion was more fulfilling than commotion. He married, had a beautiful girl and held a responsible creative job. Sometimes he fantasized about joining his friends.but not really. He had found happiness, not without it's struggles and ups and downs, but he had found it. Maybe you wonder what these seven steps have to do with yoga. Yoga is a science and a technology that helps us learn from the inside out and not without honest awareness and self reflection. As Dharma Mittra, one of my teachers in New York, was quoted in the April 2004 Yoga Journal " People come to yoga to have the perfect figure or meditate so they can make more money at their job but the true purpose of yoga is Self realization". Yoga is a practice meant to enhance your respect, grace and trust. Yoga teaches us to deliver the work, to have honor and never lose our manners. Grace developed as we work to conquer ourselves is an attribute that helps us attain this Self realization. Here are the Seven Steps to Happiness as given by Yogi Bhajan: COMMITMENT Commitment will give you CHARACTER, all your facets, flaws and facts are under control. Yin and yang meet here. There is balance. It is not you who wins in the end, it is your character. Are your life habits demoting or promoting this? Character will give you DIGNITY, people start liking , trusting and respecting you.

This will give you DIVINITY where people have no duality or fear about you Divinity will give you GRACE a person of grace is gracious and has no hidden agendas This gives you THE POWER TO SACRIFICE you can stand pain for other people That sacrifice will give you HAPPINESS Another thing Yogi Bhajan teaches is that if you have manners you have everything "Let your manners speak for you, let your deeds prove you, let your deliverance impress you. Every person has a mission, every mission has a magnitude to deliver and fulfill the essence of magnitude. When one does it with devotion and conviction success comes from all sides" Yogi Bhajan He speaks of an attitude of altitude, which ultimately is the energy and attitude of grace, which is associated with the highest physical center in the body, the crown. Success often has superficial measurements in our society, such as socal status or income levels. Many of us feel under-accomplished as we assess our lives. How do we actually measure success, by other people's standards or by those set forth in a yoga practice? Success is a smile. Success is peace of mind. Success is a radiant face, whatever age. Success is how we treat others. As another Yoga Master Sivananda wrote to his student Ram Krishna in a letter dated December 1, 1943: "Think carefully. Decide correctly. Act faithfully. Speak truthfully. Live honestly. Work diligently. Talk gently .Behave properly. You are bound to succeed in any walk of life. You will have peace of mind. You will have a pure conscience. You will get inexhaustible spiritual wealth." Physically poses that allow us to feel our grace, like mountain pose, tadasana, are important to developing this feeling from within. The following meditation is especially effective for this as well. GRACE OF GOD meditation will give you self effectiveness. Any woman who does it will find grace in her behavior. Any man who does it will realize the grace in himself and thse around him. It may take a little time, but the results will be positive. This is an ideal way to prepare for sleep. Lie down on the back, fully relaxing your face and body, eyes closed. Inhale deeply through the nose, hold the breath in and repeat silently ten times "I am the Grace of God". (For men " I am in the Grace of God"). Exhale all the breath out through the nose and repeat silently the same mantra ten times. (I use my fingers to keep it straight!..counting on my fingers, which are relaxed in sivasana, corpse pose). Do this for a total of five inhalations and five exhalations, making this a total of one hundred times repeating the mantra. After the cycle is completed, come sitting cross legged, eyes still closed. Bring the right wrist resting on your right knees, palm up and index finger meeting thumb in gyan mudra(reversed hands for men). The left hand is by the left shoulder, as if taking an oath,

palm flat and facing forward. Tense only one finger of the left hand at a time, as you repeat five times aloud " I am the Grace of God". (Start with the little finger, the pinky). Meditate on the governing energy of that finger. Concentrate on the particular characteristics you want to correct. Continue the sequence until you get to and do the thumb. Afterwards relax as you wish. Here are the governing energies of the fingers: Pinky- Mercury, power to relate, communicate and make decision Ring finger- Venus and Sun, physical health and vitality, grace Middle finger- Saturn, channel emotion to devotion, learn patience Pointing finger- Jupiter, wisdom, expansion and knowledge Thumb- Positive ego One note, if GOD seems religious to you, we are taught that it is the energy of the universe that Generates Organizes Delivers or Destroys all This is a lovely meditation. Grace is a contained energy that we can all win by developing!! One way of thinking of grace is non-reactiveness, responsiveness instead. Yoga and Memory MODERN METHODS FOR MEMORY DEVELOPMENT The concept of memory development in modern science is again limited to increasing the capacities of the brain cells... to increase the ability to recall and recognize ... to gain mastery over this process at best. Logical method : this consists of observing meaning and connection such as similarities, contrasts, relationships, and organizing the given material, accordingly. Understanding the meaning of the material : if attention is paid to the meaning of the lesson, there is no doubt that the material is remembered much better. This is called rational memory. However, this is not applicable to all material, e.g., multiplication tables cannot be understood. Over learning : this is another method, which means learning a lesson beyond the point which the learner can reproduce the lesson without committing an error. This "over learning" makes the lesson set in firmly. Many motor skills, such as swimming or riding a bike are never forgotten because we would have practiced them far beyond the level of an errorless reproduction. Spaced and unspaced learning : studying continuously without space, rest or relaxation in between, is called unspaced learning. Studying with a break in between is called spaced

or distributed learning. Experiments have shown that spaced learning is far better than unspaced learning. Mnemonics: This is the name given to different artifices by whom memory of a series of disconnected facts or figures is made simpler. e.g. a mnemonic to remember the colors of the rainbow is 'Richard of York gained battles in vain' - for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. However, when we make up a mnemonic ourselves it is the most useful for us. How practicing yoga may help in memory development a. Deepening perception functioning optimally, some aspects of perception will be lost or blunted. The first step, then is to increase the sensitivity of these pathways. This can be done by stimulations (through kriyas) and relaxation (shavasana, pranayama, and indeed any yoga practice). b. Reducing distractibility and increasing the attention span yogic exercises aim at reaching (ultimately) a state of mental transcendence. One aspect of this state is to have the ability to alter one's mental functions at will. Even if this super awareness stage is not attained, some measure of mental control is certain, which allows a person to direct his attention to the material which has to be memorized to the exclusion of other thoughts. c. Activating dormant areas It is interesting that even an acclaimed genius uses not more than 10% of the full brain potential. Most of us use less than 5% of our full brain capabilities. Yogic practices may help in activating dormant areas. d. Sifting useful memories from useless ones for our overall development Memory development should ideally help us to reach the very source of our thoughts and our existence (in yogic lore Anandamaya kosa). One of the way in which this can occur is if constructive, useful memories are retained, where as purposeless ones which generate displeasure and ill will are erased. What practice can you do to improve memory? before you start studying clear your mind by doing kapalabhati (40-60strokes/min), Suryanuloma (9 rounds), Chandranuloma(9 rounds) and Bhramari (5rounds). This capsule of yoga can be used several times during your study period.

This clears all unwanted disturbing thoughts and makes the background clear, so that whatever if you perceive and understand can soak into deeper layers of your memory system. CANDRA ANULOMA VILOMA PRANAYAMA Sthiti: Vajrasana Practice Adopt Nasika Mudra with your right hand. Close the right nostril with the tip of the thumb. Inhale and exhale slowly through the left nostril (Candra Nadi) only. Keep the right nostril closed all the time during the practice. One cycle of inhalation and exhalation forms one round. Practice nine rounds. Note Time taken for exhalation should be longer than inhalation. Anxiety patients may practice this Pranayama 27 rounds before breakfast, lunch, dinner and before sleep (4 times a day).