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practice 1

The following exercises are from the Pawanmuktasana series. The Bihar school of yoga, Munger, India, has put these together.

Pawan means prana, or subtle energy, mukta means letting go and asana means posture. These exercises free up blocked energy. Energy can be blocked because of disturbed physical functions; bad posture; emotional problems or an unbalanced lifestyle. First one notices this as stiffness, or tension in the body or other  minor complaints. But when ignored it becomes more chronic and the body doesn't  function as it should do anymore.

The postures work on relaxing the muscles and exercise the joints. The attention needed for the practice leads to mental discipline and calm.

Sit in a comfortable position; with the spine straight. (You can also sit in a chair, if you prefer)

1 Make fists and stretch fingers

   Stretch both arms out in front at shoulder height. Open the hands, palms facing down, breathing in and stretch the fingers as much as possible. Make a fist with the thumbs inside, let the fingers curl around the thumb. Repeat five times. Relax completely.

2 Wrist bending

Again, with the arms straight, shoulder height. Move the fingers to stretch up with inhalation, then down with the out breath. Repeat five times. Relax.

3 Wrist joint.

Again with the arms straight. Now rotate the wrists. Make fists and rotate them five times to the right, then five times to the left.

4 Shoulder joint

Same base position. Place the fingertips on the shoulders and make calm rotating movements with the elbows, see if the elbows can touch together in front of the chest, and touch the ears as you move the elbows upwards.  Breathe deeply. Rotate five times both ways.

5 Neck stretches.

Make sure the spine is straight still. With the out breath let the chin move down towards the chest.  With the inhalation, the head comes up, repeat five times.

Sideways: move the head so that the right ear comes as close as possible to the right shoulder as you breathe out. As you breathe in bring the head into the centre. Repeat to both sides five times.

After the series relax completely, by laying down for a few minutes