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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Yoga Transformation Of Reproductive Energy

The Yogis possess great knowledge regarding the use and abuse of the reproductive principle in both sexes. Some hints of this esoteric knowledge have filtered out and have been used by Western writers on the subject, and much good has been accomplished in this way. In this little book we cannot do more than touch upon the subject, and omitting all except a bare mention of theory, we will give a practical breathing exercise whereby the student will be enabled to transmute the reproductive energy into vitality for the entire system, instead of dissipating and wasting it in lustful indulgences in or out of the marriage relations. The reproductive energy is creative energy, and may be taken up by the system and transmuted into strength and vitality, thus serving the purpose of regeneration instead of generation. If the young men of the Western world understood these underlying principles they would be saved much misery and unhappiness in after years, and would be stronger mentally, morally and physically.

This transmutation of the reproductive energy gives great vitality to those practicing it. They will be filled with great vital force, which will radiate from them and will manifest in what has been called “personal magnetism.” The energy thus transmuted may be turned into new channels and used to great advantage. Nature has condensed one of its most powerful manifestations of prana into reproductive energy, as its purpose is to create. The greatest amount of vital force is concentrated in the smallest area. The reproductive organism is the most powerful storage battery in animal life, and its force can be drawn upward and used, as well as expended in the ordinary functions of reproduction, or wasted in riotous lust. The majority of our students know something of the theories of regeneration; and we can do little more than to state the above facts, without attempting to prove them.

The Yogi exercise for transmuting reproductive energy is simple. It is coupled with rhythmic breathing, and can be easily performed. It may be practiced at any time, but is specially recommended when one feels the instinct most strongly, at which time the reproductive energy is manifesting and may be most easily transmuted for regenerative purposes. The exercise is as follows: Keep the mind fixed on the idea of Energy, and away from ordinary sexual thoughts or imaginings. If these thoughts come into the mind do not be discouraged, but regard them as manifestations of a force which you intend using for the purposes of strengthening the body and mind. Lie passively or sit erect, and fix your mind on the idea of drawing the reproductive energy upward to the Solar Plexus, where it will be transmuted and stored away as a reserve force of vital energy. Then breathe rhythmically, forming the mental image of drawing up the reproductive energy with each inhalation. With each inhalation make a command of the Will that the energy be drawn upward from the reproductive organization to the Solar Plexus. If the rhythm is fairly established and the mental image is clear, you will be conscious of the upward passage of the energy, and will feel its stimulating effect. If you desire an increase in mental force, you may draw it up to the brain instead of to the Solar Plexus, by giving the mental command and holding the mental image of the transmission to the brain. The man or woman doing metal creative work, or bodily creative work, will be able to use this creative energy in their work by following the above exercise, drawing up the energy with the inhalation and sending it forth with the exhalation. In this last form of exercise, only such portions as are needed in the work will pass into the work being done, the balance remaining stored up in the Solar Plexus. You will understand, of course, that it is not the reproductive fluids which are drawn up and used, but the etheripranic energy which animates the latter, the soul of the reproductive organism, as it were. It is usual to allow the head to bend forward easily and naturally during the transmuting exercise.

Article taken from “The Hindu-Yogi Science Of Breath” by Yogi Ramacharaka

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