Saturday, September 6, 2014

Life infusing Sudarshan Kriya......




Breath was coming in gasps, as we all tottered to the cliff top. Each one of us had labored our way up, each battling lack of oxygen, heavy bagpack & high altitude. The clear azure sky & the glaring sun adding to the challenge.... wow what an engrossing adventure eastern Ladakh was meting out.

It had been a tough climb over the past four days, even for the very experienced trekkers, & as one of the amateur climbers, I was happy with what I had achieved till now. On one side was the deep blue Tso Moriri lake, reflecting the snow clad white shades of the enormous mountains & on the other side was our destination.... Stok Mentok.....a summit not many have managed to conquer till now. The treacherous morains made this climb one of the toughest in the region.

As the exhausted team stopped for a breather, a couple of us started adjusting their lenses for some awesome clicks, some settled down to bite into chocolates & catch their breath, while others just gaped into the beautiful quiet vastness of the surroundings.....it was surreal to say the least.
For me, I slowly sat down on a ledge, laid down my bagpack aside & closed my eyes. I needed my dose of energy....my daily Kriya & meditation. With the icy cool breeze rustling me softly, the chitter chatter around slowly faded away as the breath took over. Deep & long, yet slow breath started on its own, as if on auto pilot, & I could feel the energy evolving.....as I eased into my regular routine of Sudarshan Kriya, I could only be thankful to our beloved Guru, for having blessed us all with this omnipotent tool. Time stood still, as I could feel a fresh childlike energy rising within, making me quieter, yet stronger; enveloping me in complete peace & harmony. When I finally opened my eyes, others were staring at me with some kind of an awe....."How can someone look so peaceful & assured ??", was the first thing I heard, as I came out of my Kriya....."how do you do this Dada??", queried another.
I smiled again...... "Go attend a course & learn to get addicted to this magic....the Sudarshan Kriya".... I muttered softly.

Incidentally at more than 20,000 feet, it surely must have been one of the highest altitude to do Sudarshan Kriya...... thank you Guruji for every bit of Life that you have infused in me.

The pic above, is me doing my Kriya at Thiksey Monastry, just before we embarked on this trek......

Joy Gurudev...... enJoy Gurudev...

Sunday, July 6, 2014

World Cup 2014 QF : Netherlands vs Costa Rica 0-0 ( 4-3 via penalties)

The last of the QF matches between Netherlands & Costa Rica was a damp squib. It went goal less through full time & extra time & the Dutch finally crossed the line via penalty shoot outs. Costa Ricans were surprisingly subdued today, & lacked the bite they had shown earlier in the tournament. Having come up as toppers from the Group of Death, one expected them to be more confident. However, they played with a plan in mind & that was to somehow push the game into penalties, which they believed was their best chance to topple the men in Orange. With goalkeeper Navas, almost impregnable & on a couple of occasions, the woodwork coming to their rescue, the Ticos managed to hold the irrepressible Dutch attack to a frustrating draw till the full time & then the extra time. Dutch despite having more than 60 % of possession were repeatedly thwarted by the Costa Rican defense & coach van Gaal looked worried. But he yet again produced a master stroke, by replacing the goalkeeper Cillessen with giant looking Krul with just minutes left for the end of extra time. Krul managed to unsettle the normally composed Costa Ricans & made two critical saves to take the Netherlands to the semis. What was their weak spot, became their sweet spot, as the Costa Ricans were caught off guard. For the first time, the men in Orange had won a penalty shoot out in the World Cup finals. The upset that I had thought might happen in the QF, did not.

They now face Argentina in the semifinals, which should be an excellent match for the game of football. Both the teams have brilliant ball players & both of them play open attacking game. The one to hold nerves & tempers should go through. 

World Cup 2014 QF : Argentina vs Belgium 1-0

After 24 long years, Argentina has made its way to World Cup semifinals, via a 1-0 victory over Belgium.
It wasn't a very pretty match to witness, but I guess, as the tournament is getting to the business end, the struggle to win is taking away the flair & finesse of the game called Football.
Today too, it was Higuain, who converted a half chance into a goal, with an opportunistic shot from the edge of the box, which caught everyone by surprise as the ball entered the right low end of the net in only the 9th minute of the match. Di Maria was quick to receive & float the ball to Higuain, who half turned & took a sudden right footer & goalkeeper Courtois was stranded gaping helplessly.
From there on, one had expected the Red Devils to fight back & they did hold better possession of the ball, but their attack lacked flair & the Argentinian defense was never really tested. In contrast, the Argentinian attack had more bite & they should have won the game with a better margin.
It was a disappointing match, as the Red Devils looked more & more clueless to attack. Changes by coach Wilmots had little impact, as Kompany, Lulaku, Hazard, Origi, all looked a shade below their best.
Argentina seems to be peaking well & the team is coming together as an unit.....it still is very dependent on Messi magic, but others seem to be adding value slowly but surely. However, the injury to Di Maria looks quite serious, as he got substituted within 30 odd minutes into the game & the ice pack on his thigh could not hide the grimace of pain on his face. His absence will dent the touch play of this team, & Messi might find himself cornered by opponents.


Saturday, July 5, 2014

World Cup 2014 QF : Brazil vs Colombia 2-1

The pre match predictions by most football pundits were that this Colombian team would pip a struggling Brazil in the QF match.....& there seemed to be plenty on reasons for them to say so. The Colombian til now had been close to being phenomenal...they had won all their matches till now with ease, including Uruguay, whom they had blown away in the round of 16. The team had no pressures of expectations & were playing free flowing football. In contrast their more superior opponents, host Brazil had yet not found their customary rhythm....it was only in patches & had scraped through in round of 16 against Chile via penalties.

But Big Phil, Scolari, coach of Brazil, had very specific strategies in mind.....& his team followed that to near perfection today, as Brazil looked like a well oiled machine...a team for the first time & ended clear winners 2-1 to romp into the semifinals. Colombia, ended their brilliant run & will be going home, heads held high.
Scolari made a tactical change in the opening line up, bringing in burly Maicon in place of Dani Alves & Paulhino was in for the suspended Gustavo. The team looked well knit & eager from the word go & Neymar was scorching immediately. After a free kick that looped dangerously past the goal post, Neymar earned a corner & his immaculate kick into the box beat almost every jumping head before an unmarked Thiaggo Silva coolly placed the ball into an empty net. The stadium erupted in a thunder as Brazil went up 1-0. The game got underway in frenetic pace as both teams tried to stamp their domination, however, Brazil looked far more assured & in control. In the midfield, Fernandinho ensured that Colombian mercurial midfielder & playmaker James Rodriguez was kept in check, by any means...fair or unfair & the Colombian, who had marveled the world over the past fortnight with his scoring abilities, looked truly cowered & helpless for the first time. Maicon, meanwhile was stamping his authority with bulldozing runs down the right flank as well as burly clearances while defending, leaving the Colombian forward line quite listless.
Hulk took over the task of Brazilian attack & was scathing in his runs....in fact goalkeeper Ospina was brilliant in depriving sure goals twice as Hulk unleashed his left footers... Brazil was unfortunate not to go up at least by one more goal, as the Spanish referee blew the half time whistle.
Second half was no different as Brazil continued to dominate possession. Captain Silva was unnecessarily booked as he collided into Colombian goalkeeper & blocked Ospina's attempted clearance. Neymar meanwhile earned a free kick as as frustrated Rodriguez brought him down midway into the Colombian half. David Luiz took the kick & what a fantastic kick it was.....looping high & past the diving Ospina into the far end of the net....it was Brazilian poetry in motion indeed. Brazil 2-0 up  with just about 20 minutes left to full time. It was most certainly Selcao football...the beautiful game called Joga Bonito, as Colombians looked scrambled out of the game. In between, they did put the ball in the Brazilian goal through a goal mouth melee, but the linesman had already raised the offside flag. There was a brief twist to the tale, as substitute Bacca broke into the Brazilian box as as David Luiz was clearing the danger, Julio Cesar brought him down & penalty was awarded. James Rodriguez fittingly wrong footed Cesar to bring down the margin 2-1, taking his tally of goal to 6 & Colombians had a fresh leash of life. But the game ended with same scoreline as Brazil finally prevailed 2-1 to reach the semis.
Towards the closing minutes of the game, an ugly tackle by Juniga in the Brazilian half, brought Neymar down....it was really a very ugly tackle as the stocky Colombian climbed onto the frail Brazilian who was turning with the ball, crashed his knee into the spine & pushed him hard into the ground with his hand.....certainly a red card. But the Spanish referee, Velasco Carballo, who had probably forgotten his cards in the dressing room gave nothing. The match had produced more than 50 fouls & yet the ref did not flash cards or speak to the offending players with authority, to control the game. Neymar had to be carried off in a stretcher & the news streaming in says, he is out for four weeks with a broken vertebrae. FIFA needs to take action against such fouls & the players need to be suitably reprimanded, if we have to save this beautiful game.
A sad & telling blow to Scolari's gameplan ahead & Brazilian hopes, but more than that football suffered as the talisman striker has been taken out. In fact two No 10 jerseys ended their world cup campaign today....Rodriguez for Colombia in defeat & Neymar for Brazil in injury. A stupendous win for Brazil, but at a huge cost.

Its going to be Brazil vs Germany in the semis. A humdinger of a match for sure. It will be the Brazilian attacking flair against an extremely organised German defense. Brazil will most certainly miss Neymar & T Silva & that makes Germans a shade favourite, but then its semifinals & the home crowd will be raucous in support to lift the spirits of Joga Bonito.... Can the Selecao believe in themselves.... can Hulk & Oscar & Fred finally find their goal scoring boots..... the defense & midfield is gradually falling into place & now they need to score at will......well probing questions indeed... lets all wait in anticipation for tuesday night....



World Cup 2014 QF : Germany vs France 1-0

The first of the QF matches between Germany & France was expected to be a high octane grueling encounter, but as a game, it failed to live upto its claims. Germany won 1-0 through a 12th minute goal by Mats Hummels, the Borussia Dortmund defender, who held off the challenge from Varane to head past the French goalkeeper Lloris off a Toni Kroos free kick. It was a hard fought game alright as Germans emerged winners, reaching the semifinals for the fourth time consequently.....probably a record of sorts. No wonder, they are statistically the most consistent team in the World Cup, even ahead of Brazil.
The Germans had planned their game well with a 4-5-1 combination, & Lahm was back in his customary full back position. The midfield as usual was the fulcrum of this team, & Schweinsteiger, Khedira, Kroos, Ozil & Mueller (today in midfield), were marshaling the territory with precision & Klose as lone forward upfront.
The Germans wee more keen to hold onto the slender lead they had sneaked in & went in counter attacks. The first half was clearly Germans control. Second half, saw France  shrugging off the rustiness & testing the German defense. Benzema, Pogba, Griezmann, Valbuena started knitting well, but the finishing was poor, as Germans started to control again. In fact Mueller could have sealed the match, but his weak shot off a beautiful Ozil cross down the left flank was cleared easily by Lloris.
In the dying minutes of the game, with four minutes of injury time, Neuer was fantastic & made two extremely crucial saves from close range, as Benzema smiled in frustration. It was clinical Germany that had rolled past France, who rarely put pressure & were good only in patches. Les Bleus were derailed by the more organised Duetsche engine. With both teams having multiple stars, it was expected that the match will produce some scintillating  football, but that was not to be. Both teams struggled in creativity & the ball mostly hovered midfield.

However, the Germans are not looking very organised in attack. The defense & midfield is looking strong & Neuer under the bar has been inspirational, but converting attacks into goals is looking increasingly difficult. If they concede a goal early, they may well struggle to equalise. Joachim Lowe will have his job cut out once he knows whom they face.... Brazil or Colombia, .....both known for free flowing attack & have a regular penchant for scoring. Against such sustained attacks & in trying playing conditions, Germans may just about implode. 

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