“I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me. It would be a better world.” – Muhammad Ali
Good morning peeps, meditation done.
Quote for the Day:
“I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me. It would be a better world.”
Anyone who knows me will acknowledge that Muhammad Ali was my all time hero and inspiration and he had a huge effect on my life.
From my childhood when I would be allowed to set the alarm, get up in the middle of the night to watch my all time hero Muhammad Ali box.
Downstairs I would come in dressing gown, mini Afro, boxing gloves, performing a quick “Ali Shuffle” shouting,
“Float like a butterfly, Sting like a Bee, ain’t no one in the world pretty as me’.
Once the fight was on I would fight an almighty battle to stay awake. Unlike Ali I would always lose. Sleep would take me. I’d miss the fight. Be carried up to bed or wake at the end trying to convince my mum, that all the way through I had really been watching
As a teenager I read Muhammad Ali’s autobiography. In it Ali said he would run until he couldn’t run another step. Then he would tell his trainer to take him on another 10 mile run. He would do press-ups until he could not do a single one more. Then Ali would have the trainer count out a further 100 press-ups.
I would run from my house, through the village I grew up in, along a cinder path to the bottom of the South Downs, with Jack and Jill windmills at the top. I would run up that steep hill every day imagining I was Muhammad Ali. Pushing myself when I had nothing left. This early self-discipline really helped in my sport and dance careers.
I was lucky enough to meet him a couple of times through work most notably on an adidas Global Conference I was choreographing in Orlando. Backstage Ali shuffled round and slumped onto a chair. My then girlfriend – Cheri – and I asked his advisor if we could have a picture with him. He stood up, almost jumped up, and positioned himself next to the tall, slim and very beautiful Cheri. He placed his arm around her, and put his hand on her buttock, whispering,
“If I were 20 years younger…”
I replied in jest raising a fist,
“If you weren’t Champion of the World…”
That was one of the greatest moments and most memorable days of my life.
I later paid £3,000 to buy the limited signed edition of “GOAT: A Tribute to Muhammad Ali”
And now when my personal training clients train with me they do so under the watchful eye and inspiring portrait of Muhammad Ali amazingly captured by fabulous street artist and long-term friend Alex Young.
So when he died last year on Friday the 3rd of June a massive part of my life and memories died with him.
He will always be, “The Greatest” in my eyes.
Muhammad Ali’s funeral on Thursday June 9th was one of the biggest events in TV history with a worldwide audience of billions watching the boxing legend’s final journey.
The Muslim funeral for Muhammad Ali drew thousands of admirers to the boxer’s hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, where mourners prayed over the body of a man who battled in the ring and sought peace outside it.
An estimated 14,000 people, representing many races and creeds, attended the jenazah, or “funeral” in Arabic, where he was repeatedly feted as “the people’s champion.”
Speaking before the funeral family spokesman Bob Gunnell said:
“Muhammad Ali was truly the people’s champion and the celebration would reflect his devotion to all races, religions, and backgrounds.
“Muhammad’s extraordinary boxing career only encompassed half of his life. The other half was committed to sharing a message of people and inclusion with the world.
“Following his wishes, his funeral will reflect those principles and be a celebration open to everyone.
“Lonnie (his wife) and the entire Ali family invite everyone to join them for the celebration in Muhammad’s home town of Louisville, Kentucky.”
Ali, a three-time heavyweight champion known for his showmanship, political activism and devotion to humanitarian causes, died on the week before on Friday 3rd of June of septic shock in an Arizona hospital. He was 74.
“The passing of Muhammad Ali has made us all feel a little more alone in the world,”
Said Sherman Jackson, a Muslim scholar at the University of Southern California.
“Something solid, something big, beautiful and life-affirming has left this world,”
He said of a man who was forced to give up more than three years of boxing at the height of his career for his refusal to serve in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War.
Jackson praised Ali for advancing the cause of black Americans during and after the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Others admired him for making Islam more acceptable and giving U.S. Muslims a hero they could share with the American mainstream. Imam Zaid Shakir, a founder of Muslim liberal arts school Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, led worshippers in prayers such as “Allah Akbar” (“God is greatest”) over Ali’s body, which lay in a casket covered with a black and gold cloth.
Ali and his family planned his funeral for 10 years, making sure it would honour his Muslim faith while also adapting to the demands of Western media-driven culture.
U.S. President Barack Obama also praised Ali on the Thursday in a Facebook live broadcast from the White House, showing off a copy of the same book I have, “GOAT: A Tribute to Muhammad Ali,” and a signed pair of boxing gloves gifted to him by Ali.
“It’s very rare where a figure captures the imagination of the entire world,”
“He was one of a kind and in my book he’ll always be the greatest.”
Ali was buried on Friday, after a funeral procession and before one final goodbye when thousands more gathered for an interfaith service.
Luminaries including former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and comedian Billy Crystal attended the event, at the KFC Yum Centre.
Mike Tyson was a pallbearer alongside actor Will Smith, boxer Lennox Lewis and some of Ali’s family and friends.
Muslim, Christian, Jewish and other speakers spoke of his fight for civil rights, while a message from President Barack Obama praised his originality.
The service, attended by dignitaries and by several thousand people who acquired free tickets, was held at the KFC Yum! Centre.
It started with a Koran reading in Arabic. Imam Hamzah Abdul Malik recited Sura Fosselat, Prostration chapter 41 verses 30-35, which includes the words:
“Truly those who say our Lord is God and are righteous, the angels will descend upon them saying have neither fear nor sadness but rather rejoice in this paradise that you have been promised.”
Local Protestant minister Kevin Cosby said:
“Before James Brown said, ‘I’m black and I’m proud’, Muhammad Ali said ‘I’m black and I’m pretty’.”
Rabbi Michael Lerner attacked injustice against black people and Muslims, saying,
“The way to honour Muhammad Ali is to be Muhammad Ali today – speak out and refuse to follow the path of conformity.”
Ali’s wife Lonnie told the crowd:
“If Muhammad didn’t like the rules, he rewrote them. His religion, his beliefs, his name were his to fashion, no matter what the cost. Muhammad wants young people of every background to see his life as proof that adversity can make you stronger. It cannot rob you of the power to dream, and to reach your dreams.”
Former US President Bill Clinton described Ali as “a free man of faith”.
“I think he decided very young to write his own life story. I think he decided that he would not be ever disempowered. Not his race, not his place, not the expectations of others whether positive or negative would strip from him the power to write his own story.”
Valerie Jarrett, an aide to President Obama who knew the boxer personally, read a letter from the president describing Ali as,
“Bigger, brighter and more influential than just about anyone in his era… Muhammad Ali was America. Muhammad Ali will always be America. What a man.”
The president was not there, as he was attending his eldest daughter Malia’s graduation.
Comedian Billy Crystal said:
“Thirty-five years after he stopped fighting, [Ali was] still the champion of the world. He was a tremendous bolt of lightning created by Mother Nature. Muhammad Ali struck us in the middle of America’s darkest night and his intense light shone on America and we were able to see clearly.”
“Ali will never die. His spirit will live on,”
Said boxing promoter Don King told Reuters from Thursday’s venue at Freedom Hall, the complex where Ali defeated Willi Besmanoff in 1961 in his last fight in Louisville.
Others on hand to pay respects included U.S. civil rights leader Jesse Jackson and singer Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens.
Ali rose to the top of the boxing world when black fighters were expected to be quiet and deferential. His braggadocio, even before he changed his name from Cassius Clay, startled white America. He further shocked Americans after he joined the Nation of Islam and adopted an Islamic name in 1964.
In the 1970s, Ali converted to Sunni Islam, the largest Muslim denomination worldwide. Late in life he embraced Sufism, a mystical school of the faith.
Ali’s boast of being “the greatest of all time” and his ability to “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” stoked controversy at home, while his criticism of the U.S. war in Vietnam earned him admiration in much of the developing world.
With time, even his American critics grew scarce, and he achieved near mythical status as he lit the flame to open the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, by then muted and trembling from the Parkinson’s disease that afflicted him over the final three decades of his life.
One admirer, Ali Shah, 45, travelled from California to attend saying,
“It didn’t seem too much to spend a couple days travel to pay respects for a lifetime of inspiration by my hero, Muhammad Ali, my namesake and hero,”
Shah went on to say,
“He’s just been a positive inspiration for me for as long as I’ve had memories.”
Among those attending the service were King Abdullah of Jordan.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended Thursday’s prayer ceremony and had been due at the service, but cut short his visit to the US. The reasons for his departure are not clear, though there are reports of differences with the funeral’s organisers.
The motorcade procession began at about 10:35 local time (14:35 GMT), more than an hour behind schedule, and took the coffin past Ali’s childhood home, then the Ali Center, the Center for African American Heritage and then down Muhammad Ali Boulevard.
Onlookers lining the roadside waved, took photos and chanted “Ali, Ali” as a cortege led by the hearse carrying his coffin drove through the downtown area.
Fans threw flowers at the hearse and rose petals were scattered along the route.
In one neighbourhood, several young men ran alongside the vehicle carrying a placard which read:
“Ali is the greatest, thanks 4 all the memories.”
The cortege then brought the coffin to the Cave Hill cemetery, where Muhammad Ali was buried in a private ceremony. Actor Will Smith and ex-boxer Lennox Lewis were among the pallbearers.
In 1964, Ali famously converted to Islam, changing his name from Cassius Clay, which he called his “slave name”.
He first joined the Nation of Islam, a controversial black separatist movement, before later converting to mainstream Islam.
In his boxing career, he fought a total of 61 times as a professional, losing five times and winning 37 bouts by knockout.
Soon after he retired, rumours began to circulate about the state of his health.
Parkinson’s Syndrome was eventually diagnosed but Ali continued to make public appearances, receiving warm welcomes wherever he travelled.
He lit the Olympic cauldron at the 1996 Games in Atlanta and carried the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony for the 2012 Games in London.
Ali was named “Fighter of the Year” by The Ring magazine more times than any other fighter, and was involved in more Ring “Fight of the Year” bouts than any other fighter.
He was an inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and held wins over seven other Hall of Fame inductees.
He was one of only three boxers to be named “Sportsman of the Year” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC.
Ali was mourned globally, and a family spokesman said the family “certainly believes that Muhammad was a citizen of the world … and they know that the world grieves with him.”
Politicians such as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, David Cameron and more paid tribute to Ali.
Ali also received numerous tributes from the world of sports including Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Floyd Mayweather, Mike Tyson, the Miami Marlins, LeBron James, Steph Curry and more.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer stated,
“Muhammad Ali belongs to the world. But he only has one hometown.”
Ali was shown love by everyone of all races and religions and the way his life was celebrated through his funeral by all races and religions all around the world, shows us how we can and should all live together as one in peace and harmony.
Yoga teaches us to treat all people and animals equally and compassion through Ahimsa, which means ‘not to injure’ and ‘compassion‘ and refers to a key virtue in Indian religions. The word is derived from the Sanskrit root hiṃs – to strike; hiṃsā is injury or harm, a-hiṃsā is the opposite of this, i.e. cause no injury, do no harm.
Ahimsa is also referred to as nonviolence, and it applies to all living beings including all animals in ancient Indian religions
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So what are you waiting for, the time will never be better than it is right now?
Let’s love everybody like Muhammad Ali and make our world a better place to live in,
Have a Thoughtful Thursday peeps.
May all your dreams come true.
Breathe, Believe and Achieve
Be Happy, Healthy and Wise
Keep on Winning Smiling and Living the Dream