Yoga With Rob Chambers


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Relaxing - Going Nowhere

Lower Body

Tighten one foot, curling the toes and contracting your foot muscles for a few seconds, then release and feel the tension flowing from your foot.

  • Flex your ankle and tighten your calf, then relax both.
  • Lift your entire leg two inches off the ground. Tense your leg, especially the large thigh muscle. Squeeze! Then let your leg fall to the ground. With the release, imagine all the tension falling away.
  • Repeat the above three steps with your other foot and leg.
  • Lift your hips two inches off the floor and squeeze your buttocks as tightly as you can for several seconds, then release the contraction and drop your hips back down. Feel all the tight areas releasing and relaxing. Your hip joints should feel loose and your buttocks muscles completely relaxed.
Upper Body: Still Rhythms
Continuing upward:

Contract your stomach muscles as tightly as you can, then release them.
  • Lift one arm about two inches off the floor. Squeeze your hand into a fist and hold it tightly. Flex your arm muscles for several seconds, then relax your entire arm and let it fall. Feel stress and tightness flowing down your arm and out the ends of your fingers. Repeat with the other arm.
  • Tighten your chest muscles, then release them. As you release them, try to feel your heartbeat. Tell your heart to relax, slow down, and rest.
  • Bring your shoulders up to your ears, tensing them for several seconds. Release them and feel all the stress dropping away. Many people carry lots of tension in their shoulders. If you're one of them, you may want to do this one several times until your shoulders feel truly loose.
The Ultimate Facial: Losing Your Senses
And now for the rest of you:

Lift your head two inches off the ground. Tense all your neck and facial muscles, scrunching up your face like a prune. Purse your lips and imagine you are trying to bring every part of your face to your nose. Release and lower your head.
  • Raise your head again and open your eyes and mouth as wide as you possibly can. Stick your tongue out as far as you can. Really stretch that face for several seconds, then relax and lower your head to the ground.
  • Roll your head slowly and gently from one side to the other.
  • One at a time, scan your senses. First, notice what you can taste, then let it go. Take your mind away from your taste buds. Next, notice what you can smell, then release your sense of smell. Notice everything your body is touching, then imagine you are floating and can't feel anything. What can you hear? Let it go. Turn off your ears and focus inward. Last of all, let go of your sight (even though your eyes should already be closed) by releasing all tension around your eyes. If you see light through your eyelids, gently push away your awareness of it.
  • Now, go back over each body part again, but this time, mentally tell each part to relax. Really focus on each area, one at a time, and coax it to release all pain and tension. Consider this the start of a wonderful relationship between your mind and your body. Why shouldn't they converse?
  • After you've completed all the above steps, you should feel very, very relaxed and internalized. Mentally scan your body a few more times, seeking out pockets of stress and releasing them. If any sense sensations try to creep back in, gently ignore them. Now you're ready to leave your body behind and ride the breath.
You've moved past your body, and are now immersed in your mind. But that has to go, too. Yes, the mind is as distracting as the body when it comes to true relaxation~maybe more so! Even as you lie in the corpse pose feeling proud that you've managed to transcend your body, at least to some extent, your mind is holding you back from true awareness. How? By making you feel proud, for one thing! Pride belongs to the ego, and in true awareness, there is no ego. So what's an active-minded person to do?

Simple: Stop thinking