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Yoga Stretching


No one is too madly busy to be quite unable to practice the art of relaxation at least once a day. Give to it a little of your time and it will repay you a thousandfold. What about those few minutes before you get into bed at night? Are you too busy then?

When you have made some progress with Savasana your feet will be set firmly on the Yoga path. Its great influence will begin to work for you. As you grow more and more able to smooth away the tensions in your body you will find that the tensions in your mind will also become less. Problems which seemed mountainous will, if you practice and perfect the art of relaxation, be reduced to a size whereby you can cope with and overcome them.

But to return to you lying on the floor and thinking yourself into relaxing those tense muscles. What about that mind of yours running round in circles? What about that eye of yours on the clock ? What about that nagging worry at the back of your mind that you should be up and about doing things? No, you are not really relaxing at all. Let us try again. Let us approach Savasana from another angle.

I want you to learn to stretch. A simple enough request but, you may ask, is this Yoga too? Just-stretching? It is indeed. As you read this book it will become more and more apparent to you that although Yoga is a Hindu science three thousand years old, a spiritually based way of life, a contemplative philosophy and a profoundly dedicated art, nevertheless it has a real and vital place in modern everyday life, your life. A simple thing like stretching is as much a part of Yoga as any of the more complicated postures which I will describe during the course of this book.

Stretching then. Lie down as before on your back with your legs and feet together and raise your arms above your head with the fingers interlaced. Now turn your hands palms upwards and you will immediately feel the increased stretch along your ribs and back. Stretch your arms as far above your head as you can and at the same time point your toes and push them forward so that you feel the tension in every part of your legs, arms and shoulders.

Concentrate on stretching thus far and when, after practicing a few times, you can fully tense your arms, shoulders and legs simultaneously, try at the same time to pull in your stomach muscles, arch your spine, and to complete the picture open your mouth in a gigantic yawn. You will not make a particularly aesthetic picture at this moment but remember that Yoga should always be practiced alone and in silence, if possible in secrecy.

It is not a science for the extrovert. So you can go ahead and pull faces to your heart’s content and if no one is any the wiser you and your health will be all the better for it.

Having stretched every part of your body, suddenly let go.

Remember that you must stretch everything you can to the utmost, before you let go, so that the ensuing relaxation will be all the more complete. And when you let go you are once more in Savasana but this time you should feel much more relaxed. But keep a wary eye open for those persistent offenders-eyes, lips, teeth, and tongue. Are you clenching them again? Train your mind to watch these key points throughout the day not only when you are practicing Savasana, and if you discover that you are clenching any of your facial muscles be stern with them. As I have reiterated, they need constant watching but your persistence will soon be rewarded not only in a new feeling of relaxation but also in your appearance.

For Yoga is a beauty treatment too. Those little tension lines around your eyes, lips, and between the eyebrows will not be given a chance to develop into deep, ineradicable wrinkles. Yoga, and particularly Savasana is the simple secret of how devotees of Yoga remain miraculously young looking even when well advanced in years, for nothing is so aging as stress. It puts lines on to the face, sends the eyes back into their sockets, and gives an aging droop to the figure. Having approached Savasana from two different angles, let us try a third.

Yoga, while based on a set of unchanging principles, is not dogmatic and there is much room for personal preference and capabilities. Yoga’s greatness lies in its ability to recognize every individual and not lump humanity together as so many other sciences do.

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


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