How do I know this is true? I look inside myself and see.
Tao Te Ching, verse 21 (Mitchell)
HOUSTON, Summer 2000: "Downward-facing dog," called out Kay Wescott, my yoga teacher. Like a dog doing a lazy wake-up stretch, she stood on all fours and stretched out her arms and chest, her body a sinuous upside-down “V.”
I did my best to follow suit, spreading my fingers wide and pressing my butt into the air. (I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself in a moment of cheap humor, then I remembered this was an ancient spiritual tradition.) My spine elongated and I pressed my heels down toward the floor to stretch out my hamstrings. I was breathing harder now and the sweat began to drip from my face and pool between my hands. Breathe, I thought. As one part of my mind calmed with the meditative focus and the exertions of my body, another not-so-quiet voice at the back of my mind whined, "How long can this go on?"
“Crescent moon,” called Kay. My mind was momentarily relieved to let go of that down dog. I brought my right foot between my hands into a "runner’s lunge" and relaxed my left leg to the floor, pressing my hips forward. My groin muscles stretched easily. I calmly brought my hands to my heart in prayer position--breathe, I remembered. Feeling balanced and with my hands clasped together, I reached toward the ceiling. “Arch those chests forward,” urged Kay. I gently curved my back into the beautiful sliver of a crescent moon. (Okay, it’s been awhile since I’ve been a sliver of anything, but I could imagine.) I noticed in the mirror that my moon, beautiful as it was, tilted just a little. “Okay yoga monsters, back into down dog,” cheered Kay. And so it went through the hour: stretching, pressing, breathing, thrusting, holding, and focusing. Calm mind. Whining mind. Vain mind. Humble mind.
Alan Davidson is the author of the free report "Body
Breakthroughs for Life Breakthroughs: How to Peak Your
Physical, Emotional, Mental, Moral, and Spiritual IQs for a
Sensational Life" available at
Alan's also the author of Body Brilliance: Mastering Your
Five Vital Intelligences, the #1 Health and Wellness book
and Winner of Two 2007 Book-of-the-Year Awards.
Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.
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