What Does It Feel Like?
Have you ever been on a long airplane flight or train ride! Or worked at your desk for hours without
stopping? Or done anything where you've been stationary for extended time spans? Most of us
have. You're in the seat of the airplane or car, for example, cramped and unable to move much;
your back, neck, and legs ache; your shoulders stiffen and become increasingly tense; and the very
inactivity makes you uncomfortable, antsy, and tired. Surely, this is familiar.
At the end of the trip when you finally climb out of` your seat, what do you do? Just naturally,
without even thinking about it, you move and stretch. Haven't you done this? You can observe
people at airports doing this all the time. You stretch, wriggle, writhe, arch your back, shrug, and
circle your shoulders, turn your head, stretch your neck .
.. and this makes you feel better. It helps
get the kinks out.
A similar thing happens first thing in the morning when you wake up. Actually, most people do not
stretch on waking, though you have probably done it occasionally, and you've certainly seen
animals do it, especially cats and dogs. If you try it tomorrow morning, though, if when you awaken
you stretch, wriggle, and writhe for a few moments - squeezing and stretching your muscles,
exhilarating yourself with the feeling of stretch and energy flow, and allowing yourself to assume
various spontaneous contortions - you may be surprised at how nice it feels and how quickly you
wake up. Yoga is something like this.
Yoga is a sophisticated system for achieving radiant physical health, superb mental clarity and
therefore peace of mind, as well as spiritual insight, knowledge edge, and understanding. It is a
complete system for total psychosomatic spiritual health. It's a way of learning to live in happy
harmony with life. And, as with a cat stretching as it awakens, yoga wakes you up - gently - and
makes you feel wonderful. The more yoga you do, the more awake you will become, both literally
and figuratively, and it feels wonderful while you are doing it.
In yoga you stretch as though it were first thing in the morning, much like a yawn. Do it now.
Yawn. Open your mouth and initiate a yawn. Observe how the yawn comes from deep inside you
and reverberates outward. Feel the energy of the yawn radiating outward into the atmosphere.
Notice how pleasant it feels. Do it again. This is the action and feeling to become familiar with .
that of expanding and stretching yourself open from the inside out.
Now do several slow neck rolls. Sitting erect, lower your chin toward the breastbone and allow your
head to hang limply. Look downward or close your eyes, and simply relax in this position for ten or
twenty seconds. Breathe softly. Allow the stretch to penetrate. Feel what's happening. Then raise
your head, tip it to the right, and allow your head to relax toward the right shoulder. Experience the
sensations of stretch along the left side of your neck as you allow the stretch to penetrate and