Yoga For Your Health…Pg-6
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.
But this is a book about Hatha Yoga so you will want to know the Yoga way to relax. Lie down on the floor and let go. That is all. And that is Yoga? It is indeed. It is called SAVASANA or the CORPSE POSTURE. Not a very pleasant name I agree but all the same it is one of Yoga’s most valuable and powerful weapons against ill health and stress. It is pictured in figure 1.
Try it. Lie down on the floor, no pillows, just a rug or the carpet. Leave off your shoes and wear as little clothing as possible. Whatever you wear must be light and loose fitting. Now stretch your arms above your head and stretch out your legs and feet. Go on, have a good stretch like your cat does before it settles down to sleep. Close your eyes and let your head roll to one side. Let your hands flop where they will and imagine that your