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Yoga For Relaxation & Stretching


No one, I think, would disagree with me when I say that the pace of modern life, especially in the big cities, is destructive.

Why, but why is everyone intent on doing something all the time ? Do they imagine they are missing something if they go to bed with a book, or sit and think, or just sit? Some people cannot tolerate being alone. Their own company is inexpressibly boring and depressing. But why? If only these unfortunates could catch even a solitary glimpse of the rich inner life of the spirit, and the awesome power of clear thought.

People who rush about in a frenzy are often not the ones who get the best results. What about the man who has had the time to think ? Who has made the time to think ? While others rushed dizzily past him he has been evolving ideas, building and planning in his slow but constructive mind. It has been said that much of the good work of the world has been done by the dull man who has done his best.

Yoga will not teach you to be dull, rather the contrary it will teach you to be more magnetic, but it will show you the importance of knowing when to slow down. The ancient Chinese believed in the theory of ‘masterly inactivity’ and this served to lay down the foundation of a unique civilization. By ‘inactivity’ I do not mean idleness, laziness or mental inertia.

Yoga is not for the lazy. No, Yoga’s inactivity serves as a breathing space among the bustle of everyday life so that one can recharge the batteries of one’s physical and mental processes to pursue life with renewed energy and clearer thought.

Yogis realized, centuries ago, that the mind always functions better in a state of relaxation. Force yourself to work and the result is a headache, weariness, and a lack of spontaneity. In those fields of work where creative ability is constantly called into play this spontaneity is of vital importance. No one wants to read, hear, or look at something dragged from a fogged and tired brain.

Yoga’s first lesson, then, is how to relax. I do not wish to be an alarmist but the sheer inability to relax sends many millions of people to their graves ten, twenty, sometimes forty years before their time. So let us first consider how you are, here and now, going to cheat the undertaker of those precious years of your valuable time.

First of all do not confuse relaxation with inertia. Relaxation has been defined as ‘a conscious transfer of energy from one department of nature to another after an extreme tension of body and brain’.

A mere change of occupation is a form of relaxation. This is why many office workers play football or tennis at weekends, why many manual workers sit and watch television, why many ‘brain’ workers have hobbies that involve working with the hands.

For your first lesson in relaxation let us consider that mid-morning cup of tea that most people look forward to. What do you do when it arrives? Stand and gulp it down and maybe throw another one down your throat after it? Try again. No matter who you are, a busy housewife and mother, a secretary, a company director, a cabinet minister, or a ballet dancer, stop when that cup of tea arrives.

Stop,whatever you are doing, sit down quietly even if all hell is let loose around you, and enjoy that cup of tea. Drink it slowly. Try to forget, even if you have only five minutes to do so, all your immediate cares- the shopping, the laundry, that lost letter, that copy your editor is screaming for, that order you forgot to push out. Let it wait. What is the very worst thing that can happen if you drink a cup of tea in peace and quiet? Why nothing. And how much better you will feel for it, how much easier things will seem after your few moments’ respite. Relax periodically and you double your efficiency. If you doubt me then try it and see.

Article Extracted From “Be Healthy With Yoga” By Sonya Richmond

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