The Art of Relaxation         
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In this section, we present the technique of relaxation, that is an essential part of your yoga practice. There are three parts to proper relaxation - physical, mental and spiritual relaxation. To relax the body, you lie down in the Corpse Pose (see below) and first tense then relax each part of the body in turn, working from up your feet to your head. This alternate tensing then relaxing is necessary because it is only by knowing how tension feels that you can be sure that you have achieved relaxation. Then just as in normal life your mind instructs the muscles to tense and contract, you now use autosuggestion to send the muscles a message to relax. With practice you will gradually learn to use your subconscious mind to extend this control to the involuntary muscles of the heart, the digestive systems and other organs too.

The Front Corpse Pose

Lie down on your front, legs slightly apart, toes touching, and allow your heels to fall out to the sides. Make a pillow with your hands. Lengthen the body, tense and relax the muscles. Feel your body sinking into the floor as you exhale. Use this pose after any asana performed on the abdomen (such as the Cobra or Bow), alternating on which side you place your head.

The Corpse Pose

Lie on your back, feel spread about 18 inches apart, and hands about 6 inches from your sides, palms up. Ease yourself into the pose, making sure the body is symmetrical. Let your thighs, knees and toes turn outward. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.

The Corpse Pose or Savasana is the classic relaxation pose, practised before each, between asanas and in Final Relaxation (see furter below). It looks deceptively simple, but it is in fact one the most difficult asanas do well and one which changess and develops with practice. At the end of an asana session your Corpse Pose will be more complete than at the beginning because the other asanas will have progressively stretched and relaxed your muscles. When you first lie down, look to see that you are lying symmetrically as symmetry provides proper space for all parts to relax. Now start to work in the pose. Rotate your legs in and out, then let them fall gently out to the sides. Do the same with your arms. Rotate the spine by turning your head from side to side to centre it. Then start stretching yourself out, as through someone were pulling your head away from your feet, your shoulders down and away from your neck, your legs down and away from your pelvis. Let gravity embrace you. Feel your weight pulling you deeper into relaxation, melting your body into the floor. Breathe deeply and slowly from the abdomen, riding up and down on the breath, sinking deeper with each exhalation. Feel how your abdomen swells and falls. Many physiological changes are taking places, reducing the body's energy loss, removing stress, lowering your respiration and pulse rate, and resting the whole system. As you enter deep relaxation, you will feel your mind grow clear and detached.

Final Relaxation (Savasana)

Your yoga practice will help to be more in touch with your body, able to recognize tension and relaxation and thus to bring them under your conscious control. At the end of session of asanas, you should spend at least ten minutes in Final Relaxation. During this time, you relax each part of the body in turn. But in order to experience relaxation, you must first experience tension. Working up from the feet, as shown below, you first tense and lift each part, then drop (but don't place) it down. Now let your mind travel throughout the body, commanding each part to relax. Let yourself go. Sink deep into the quiet pool of the mind. To bring your consciousness back to your body, gently move your fingers and toes, take a deep breath and as your exhale, sit up.

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