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Yoga Spirit by Steve Nakon

A Strategy for Healthy Living

Maintaining inner balance, reducing stress, and engaging the body’s self-healing powers are essential to lasting health and wellbeing.

One of the many benefits of yoga is that it can be used as a therapeutic tool. Although yoga promises no magic pose or posture that in and of itself can cure disease, yoga does present a science that includes principles of movement, attention to the breath, and awareness of consciousness. In today’s world where our daily lives are filled with stress and tensions, yoga is a proven antidote. It provides a strategy for healthy living.

Each of us is an individual made up of a group of complex systems working together. Although our needs and conditions are different, there are some common conditions that most of us experience at one time or another. Sore backs and tight shoulders are one; digestive problems are another.

Personal Practice Exercise

This exercise helps to relieve the common condition: tension in the neck and shoulders. It also stretches the body along the spine. Start standing with your hands resting at your sides. Take a few deep, full breaths noticing and relaxing your shoulders and your arms. Do a few shoulder rolls, up, back, and around. Slowly bend forward with your knees slightly bent. Place your hands on your thighs and allow your hands to slide down your legs as you exhale and bend forward. Continue slow, smooth breathing as you allow your hands to reach comfortably toward you ankles. Don’t be to concerned how deep a forward bend you achieve or how far your hands reach. Relax, pay attention to your back and spine. Surrender, let go, let your arms and hands dangle in the deepest expression of the pose. Keep your knees slightly bent. After two or three deep breaths, begin to slowly rise up, vertebrae by vertebrae back to standing. Take your time coming up. Don’t rush; enjoy the journey. Stand quiet and see how your breath behaves.

This exercise is best performed on an empty stomach and not recommended for those with back issues or disturbances.

This Yoga Spirit article was originally published in the Transitions Bookplace Newsletter, September/October 2002

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