Monday, 27 August 2012

Sports And Spirituality

In the hoary past Indian Sages perhaps neglected the body in their pursuit of God. They felt the supreme necessity of renouncing the world, including all physical comforts. However in the West, this life of asceticism is not appropriate, there is no reason to equate spirituality with rigid asceticism. Physical fitness is of great importance in the spiritual life. The body is like a temple which houses our soul, by keeping the body fit we give the best circumstances for the Soul’s light to come to the fore. If we are plagued with physical ailments, meditation and a life of prayer is more difficult.

When we engage in sports like running we help our body shake off lethargy and infuse it with life spirit. Running also helps to clear the mind from our usual thought patterns. This is very refreshing and is good preparation for real meditation where we try to remove all thoughts completely. It is also helpful to meditate before running. If we get discouraging thoughts whilst running long distances, we can use the poise of our meditation to overcome these obstacles.

Also through running or other sports we can give ourselves the opportunity to practise self transcendence, going beyond our previous limitations. Self transcendence is not competing with others but with ourselves, and by stretching our capacities we can get tremendous inspiration. The mind likes to set limits on our capacities but by being in harmony with our self these limits can be surpassed.

Great saints and adepts have shown that we are more than the body and that ultimately the source for physical energy is a spiritual source. If we remain in the body consciousness we cannot be aware of this, however through prayer and meditation we can become more conscious of this inner strength. This spiritual energy allows us to go beyond the limitations of the mind. If we can tap into this stream of inspiration our body will be surcharged with dynamic energy and enable us to go beyond our preconceived ideas of what is possible.

The self transcendence we gain from sports is symbolic of the inner journey of ourselves. Through practising spirituality we can expand our consciousness and become more aware of our higher selves, in deep meditation we can become aware of the all pervading infinite consciousness; this consciousness is not static but constantly self transcending itself. In meditation there is no end to our journey of self discovery, unlike the physical where our progress has to come to an end at some time.

Sports can give us joy, but if winning is our only objective we are destined to be disappointed because at sometime we will fail to be victorious. Real Happiness comes not through separation but identifying ourselves with the winner. The best approach from a spiritual point of view is to do our best and then leave the result at the feet of the Supreme. Sri Chinmoy says:

“From the highest point of view, the goal is not to defeat anybody but only to compete with ourselves. When we compete with others, we are never happy. Today I may defeat someone in running, but tomorrow I will look around and see that there is somebody who is far better than I. Our goal is to do our very best and try all the time to compete only with ourselves. But whatever the result, we have to accept it cheerfully. We will do our best and then, whatever result God wants us to have, we will accept.”

Sri Chinmoy is a spiritual teacher who gives great value to the importance of physical exercise. In his youth he was a champion sprinter at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. On coming to the West he took part in several marathons and ultramarathons. Now aged 74 he is still breaking his own records for lifting various heavy weights. See videos on He keeps lifting to inspire others, especially older people. Sri Chinmoy’s philosophy is “never give up” and that “age is not a barrier.”

Finally sports offers a great opportunity for bringing unity between different countries. Sport has the capacity to transcend political barriers. If played in the right spirit sports can offer the chance for increased friendship between the different countries of the world. In particular the Olympics is one of humanity’s flagship opportunity’s to show we all belong to one world-family. Thus sports can play a vital role in bringing about greater world harmony.

By: → Richard PEttinger

Monday, 20 August 2012

Could Your Dog Be A Sports Star?

Dogs were traditionally working animals. They would have expected to be active all day, every day. However, in these modern days a dog's life can often be confined to indoors and with very few physical activities.

Dogs are animals that need exercise on a regular basis; in fact it should be daily. There are many reasons for this. For example, it can help to control the dog’s weight its appetite. It can also help to insure good quality mental health as well. If you do not provide for the dog’s daily exercise, she will likely find it in her own way, which may be a destructive manner. A dog that is bored is one the can become destructive digging up the yard and chewing on shoes. But, when you take this energy that the dog has and apply it correctly through various toys and exercise, great things can happen.

One game of catch a day is not enough exercise for your pet. Quantity and quality are quite important. For example, you can provide your pet with a daily walk. If you do so at the same time of the day each day, the pet will begin to look forward to it. And, take them to someplace different as often as possible. This will help your pet to explore with his senses. It is also a special time of bonding between you and your pet. Take your pet to a dog park where the leash can come off and he or she can do some socializing with other animals.

Sports for dogs?

Did you know that dog’s can do sports as well? There are many things that you can teach your dog to do that will be fun to play and provide them with the exercise that they need. For example, Frisbees are a great choice as is flyball and agility. There are Frisbee competitions that your dogs can participate in. In this case, you’ll see pets flying into the air to catch the Frisbee that an adult is throwing. You may see the dog twist and jump at the same time. In fact, some of them are choreographed routines that are nothing short of amazing but they are fun and exercising for the pet.

Flyball is another choice. Here, there is team play. Four dogs per team take turns running through a course. They may have hurdles in them as well. When the dog completes the course, he will trigger a box to will force a tennis ball into the air. The dog catches it and races back through the course again. Then, once the dog gets through, the next team mate goes. A team will win based on time and the fewest errors.

Agility is another sport for dogs. Here, the dog is to run through an obstacle course. The goal is to be done in the fastest amount of time. In this sport, though, the owner will run alongside the dog encouraging it over the hurdles and other obstacles. The goal is for the dog to obey the owner’s commands and directions. A good doggie workout will include things like tunnels, see-saws and a wide variety of jumps. All of these sports allow for the exercise of the dog as well as the mental fitness he needs as well.

Alternatives to sports?

Not sure if the sport is right for you? You can keep your dog going by giving him toys that will help to stimulate not only exercise but also mental challenges. For example a dog puzzle places a treat for the dog into a hollow container that he will have to work off to get to the treat. Through nosing it around and rolling it, the dog gets the treat and the reward.

By: → Niall Kennedy

Monday, 13 August 2012

How To Buy A Used Sports Car

Don't we all dream of owning a sports car? Although buying a used vehicle does not come with a "new car smell," owning a vintage sports car is a fantasy for a lot of us. Better yet, there are great advantages to buying a used sports car.

There is something special about buying an older model sports car. Many older sports cars are even collectibles and their classic style holds great value. Sports car enthusiasts recognize quality and seek to preserve it.

There is never a guarantee you are going to purchase a winner as opposed to a lemon, there are many things you can do to increase your chances of success. The two most important things you can do is research and investigation. Do your homework first, look into the type of sports car you would like to purchase first. Then, when looking at used cars make sure to really investigate the car before making an offer.

Start your conquest by researching the car of your choice. The first place you should look is Kelly Blue Book to determine the estimated value of the sports car you want to buy. Then ask around about the car, maybe a local mechanic, or a friend with sports car knowledge. The internet is an outstanding resource as well. What kind of problems does the car experience? Find out what you need to look for when inspecting the car for yourself and what kinds of questions you need to ask the salesman and a mechanic. It is also important to look at numerous resources to determine an appropriate price the make and model of the car you are researching.

Developing a notebook with questions and notes is a handy tool. This way you can bring your notebook when looking at used cars. You will know what questions to ask about the car and appear organized to the seller.

The next step is investigating the real live car. You have a good idea of what to expect and what to look for when looking at used sports cars, now it is time to put your research to work.

Ask the current owner for service records, or even invest in a vehicle history report on the internet if it is not provided. Ask lots of questions about the car you are looking at and find out everything you can possibly think of.

Now is the time to take a close look at the car itself. First check the condition of the car, inside and out. Look for problem areas that you wrote down in your research. If you are not a car expert, have the car checked by a trusted mechanic. Often they will give it a once over for free or minimal charge. This could save you a lot in the long run. Note areas that need fixing and about how much it is going to cost you. Consider this when looking at the price tag of the car.

Take the car for a test drive. Look for any issues with the transmission. Are there any other things you should be looking for indicated by earlier research? Beware of sellers that do not let you take the car for a test drive or to a mechanic for a check up, they are probably trying to hide something.

Finally, if you are happy with your inspection and all other reports show that the car is in good condition, it is time to make an offer. Consider any problems noted on the car and what needs to be repaired when making an offer on the sports car.

Once you decide on a fair price and the paper work is signed, it is your turn to drive off as a happy buyer, because you did the necessary research and investigation for a fun yet safe and reliable sports car of your dreams!

By: → Jake Newberry

Monday, 6 August 2012

Bet On Sports Like A Pro

Sports betting is a challenging form of betting and despite its seeming lack of strategy and complete reliance on knowledge of the event, good sports betting actually relies on a great deal of strategy which must be used in order to win. The most important tactics involve a close analysis of the information upon which a sound judgment must be based and thereafter the bet must be placed. A winning strategy takes a few salient factors into account which are:

1. The amount of the bid
2. The kind of bet
3. The odds on offer

Sportsbooks in the US and Bookmakers in UK are entities that accept sports bets. The bets can be placed predicting the outcome of several sporting events like Baseball, Snooker, Basketball, Hockey, Soccer, Football, Tennis and hundreds of other sports and atheletic activities. Just to cover some basic definitions: a sportsbook is the one that accepts the sports bet. An oddsmaker is the one who sets the odds of betting.

Betting the Odds

In order to place a bet, you must first select the type of bet and the amount you will wager. This naturally will depend upon the odds that are being offered. Before you go ahead and place the bet, carefully scrutinize the range of available odds.

The odds must be in the ratio of at least 2:1 for the bet to be worthwhile. Another factor that must be taken into account is the amount being given by way of commission to the sports-book. This ideally should be a minimal percentage of the total value of the odds.

Given below is a list of some common kinds of bets:

. Single or Straight Bet: This is betting in its most basic form and allows you to bet at given odds, upon a winner.

. Point Spread: Under this bet one can bet on one of two selections that have been equated through the allocation of suitable points. In the Point Spread the number of allocated points are shown with a + sign for the favorable side and a – sign for the underdog. In order that the better wins, the favored team must win by more than the Point Spread. On the flip side, if a bet has been placed on the underdog, that team has to lose by less than the Point Spread for the better to win.

. Buy Points: This involves moving the Point Spread positively, by paying a price.

. The Moneyline: This type of bet is simply on who will win. It establishes the odds for each side but is the reverse of the Point Spread, with a – sign standing for the favorite and the + sign for the underdog.

. Total Bet: This is similar to point spread bets, only in that the better bets on the total points scored.

. Over/ Under: This is a bet as per which the number of points scored by the teams in any game will be beyond/ over OR below/ under the total set by the oddsmaker.

. Parlay of Accumulator: This is a way of betting on multiple sporting events in the hope that a big payoff will be made if all win. The picks made are in relation to the point spread. Even if one event does not win or draw, the better loses the entire bet. Huge amounts can be made through parlay betting, in the event of a win.

. Teaser: A teaser is similar to a parlay, however it has the option of adding or taking off points from one or more than one Spread bets. The odds depend upon the number of points the spread is moved as well as upon the number of teams that are combined to form the teaser.

. Futures: These are bets on who will win the championship in the event that there are more than two possible teams to bet on. Substantial variations between sportbooks exist in house edge on futures.

. Buying Half a Point: In this, the straight bet player gets the option of moving the point spread half point to his advantage. The most appropriate time to buy a half point is when one team is favored by 2.5, 3, 6.5 or 7 in football. This is primarily due to the fact that several games end in a 3 or 7 point difference. The extra half point may end up turning a loss to a draw or a draw to a win.

Of all these types of bets, three types of bets are prominent and must be used for the simple reason that they are simple themselves, are easy to win and have a good chance of winning. These are the Straight bet, the Doubles and the Future.

Here are a few Betting tips that will help you to place the Best Bets and push you towards a big win, they are:
1. Always make an intelligent analysis of the odds and the offer of the bet.

2. For a simple bet, stick to the Straight bet as it is non-complicated and has good winning prospects.

3. Bet wisely by keeping your selections limited. Also try to limit the influence of bias in your betting. If you are a fan of a team try to limit the effect of that favoritism when betting.

4. One of the most rewarding bets is the ‘Future’ bet but only if you know a lot about the sport being played and about the players.

5. By betting regularly though systematically and in an analytical manner, one can improve your judgmental ability.

6. Contain the urge to bet with you winnings immediately. If you do not follow the standard rule of 50%, at least put some of your winnings back into your pocket.

7. Make sure your sportsbook is a member of a known Gambling Association, makes a quick payment and is easily accessible. Read in between the lines, about matters pertaining to disputes.

8. Train yourself to look for value odds – you will master this art soon, with time and practice.

9. If deciding between two seemingly equivalent choices, trust your judgment and not that of those who have bet before you. In so doing, choose a selection with a little higher risk so as to hike up the winnings.

10. Bet on games and leagues where the sportsbook’s commission is the least. This is often in the sport or sports with which that sportsbook does most of its business, as it is likely the most efficient in that area.

By: → Rich McHagans