Yoga For Your Health – Pg 8
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.
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 ageing as stress. It puts lines on to the face, sends the eyes back into their sockets, and gives an ageing 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. Savasana, then, from a third angle. This one is rather more difficult but you may find it rather fun. It is called the A ngle Balance and you will see an illustration of it in figure 33. It is not as easy as it looks but it is well worth your perseverance.
Lie flat on your back with your hands at your sides, and legs together. Now raise your head and shoulders off the floor and at the same time raise your legs with your knees bent until you can grasp your toes. Now very carefully straighten your knees still holding your toes until you are in the position illustrated in figure 33. Hold this position for as long as