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Basic Yoga Exercises to Brighten Your Day

Nov 28, 2007
There is a yoga routine you should adopt the moment you have opened your eyes in the morning and are ready to get up.

First of all, learn to wake up properly. Do some stretching. Stretch your arms, yawn several times, stretch your legs, and stretch your whole body. While you are still in bed, do the following stretching exercise:

Keeping your feet together, toe to toe, start to push out the right leg, without raising it off the mattress, as if wanting to lengthen it. The pull will be felt from the hip down and the leg will be momentarily lengthened by an inch or more. Hold your leg in this position while you count to sixty, then relax, allowing the right foot to become even again with the left one. Repeat with the left leg.

This exercise stretches the spinal column and tones up the sympathetic nerves. It has a rejuvenating effect on the entire body. As this is a very potent nerve exercise, you must be careful not to overdo it. Sixty seconds for each leg is the maximum. You may, however, repeat the exercise again in the evening, if you wish. If your mattress is too soft, don't do this in bed, but wait until you are ready to do the other exercises on the floor and simply begin with this one.

Except when in danger or emergency, animals never jump up, but keep yawning and stretching for quite a while after coming awake; then they slowly get up on their feet. Imitate them. When you finally get out of bed, drink a glass of water, but water that is at room temperature, not iced. Drink it after brushing your teeth and cleaning your tongue with a special tongue scraper or with a wash cloth.

Deep Breathing

Yoga emphasizes our relationship to the universe and therefore teaches breathing different from the usual breathing, a breathing that reflects our inner attitude while we are performing it. This attitude is one of devotion toward the communion with the All, and should be maintained all the time.

Now as you sit down on your exercise mat, get ready to start your first real lesson in deep breathing. If for some reason you are unable to sit on the floor, you may sit on a chair or else stand up. Deep breathing can also be done lying down, provided the spine is kept straight. But normally we should do it while sitting cross-legged. If you cannot assume the Lotus Pose as yet, cross your legs in any way easiest for you.

First check your posture. The spine should be straight, the head erect, hands on knees, eyes closed. Now concentrate on the pharyngeal space at the back wall of your mouth and, slightly contracting its muscles, begin to draw in the air through that space as if you were using a suction pump. Do it slowly and steadily, letting the pumping sound be clearly heard. Don't use the nostrils; remember that they remain inactive during the entire respiration process.

When inhaling let your ribs expand sideways like an accordion - beginning with the lower ones, of course. The chest and shoulders should remain motionless. The entire inhalation should be done gently and effortlessly. When it has been completed pause for a second or two, holding the breath. Then slowly begin breathing out. The exhalation is usually not as passive as the inhalation. You use a slight, a very slight, pressure to push the air out - although it feels as though you pressed it against the throat like a hydraulic press.

The upper ribs are now contracted first, the nostrils remain inactive and the chest and shoulders motionless. At the end of the exhalation, pull in the stomach a little so as to push out all the air. You have just taken your first deep breath.

You are now ready to face the day.
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