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FINAL RELAXATION (SAWASANA)

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 you exhale, sit up.

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Feet and legs
Lift your right foot just an inch off the floor. Tense the leg, hold, then let it drop. Repeat on the other side.
Hands and arms
Raise your right hand an inch off the floor. Make a fist, tense the arm, then let it drop. Repeat on the other side. Relax.
Buttocks
Clench your buttocks tightly together, lift the hips a little way off the floor and hold. Relax and drop them down.
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Chest
Tense and lift up the back and chest, keeping your hips and head on the floor. Relax and drop them down.
Shoulders
Lift your shoulders and hunch them up tight around your neck. Let them drop, relaxed. Now pull each arm, in turn, down alongside the body, and relax.
Head
Tuck in your chin slightly and roll the head gently from side to side. Find a comfortable position in the center for the head to lie, and then relax.

Autosuggestion
After practicing the sequence shown, visualize your body in your mind's eye, and repeat this simple formula mentally: "I relax the toes, I relax the toes. The toes are relaxed. I relax the calves, I relax the calves. The calves are relaxed." Continue on up the body, applying the formula to each part along the way - the stomach, lungs, heart, jaw, scalp, brain, and soon feel a wave of relaxation rising up your body as you guide your awareness through each part. Each time you inhale, feel a wave of Oxygen flowing down to your feet; each time you exhale, feel the tension flowing out of your body, leaving your mind like a deep, still lake, without a ripple. Now dive deep into the center of this lake, deep within yourself, and experience your true nature.

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