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T H E T E C H N I Q U E O F B A L A N C I N G T H E T W O S U B T L E B R E A T H S:
REPEATING THE EXERCISE
Begin again, with the same leg, after a few free breaths.
Five executions on the left side will be followed by five executions on the right side. You may even alternate the legs you are working with: one exercise on the left side will be followed by an exercise on the right side, and so on. The way you practice it is up to each of you.
In order to give the exercise the maximum of yogic significance and effectiveness you need to pay close attention to the breath and to make the inhalation and exhalation last an equal interval. You need to synchronize the time and the space. The part of the body that does not work needs to stay inactive.
WHICH PART TO BEGIN WITH?
If you decide to work alternatively, start with the left side. If you decide to work series of five, start with the right side.
There are no special contraindications for this exercise. Moreover, this exercise has the advantage of the possibility of practicing it even when you are not dressed properly for a yoga session.
THE PLACE IN THE SERIES OF ASANAS
This exercise may be included in a yoga session before the yogic relaxation, but it may also be performed outside of it, for its own advantages.
We will make the difference between physical effects and the subtle effects, which are characteristic to the yogic path.
Muscles This exercise practiced with maximum of interiorization grants a great muscular control and activated each half of the body.
The abdominal musculature is gradually fortified, and so is the musculature of the legs. The legs work hard and therefore they will be toned and we will get a better control over them.
Also the toes will be tensed, then relaxed and stimulated. The effectiveness of this exercise can sometimes be translated through cramps. If this should happen, act immediately and after the cramp has passed, massage the place slowly.
On the first sight, it is not at all obvious that the exercise we described has any effect on the skeleton. However, if the exercise is correctly performed, if we keep the spine on the floor during the execution we may bring the spine, especially the lumbar area in its correct position.
The coxo-femural articulation preserves its mobility and this is an important thing, considering that after the age of 40 the mobility tends to vanish. If this mobility is lost, the mobility of the whole body will have to suffer.
In severe cases, if one loses the mobility of this articulation, he may suffer from premature impotence. The great thing about this exercise is that although at first sight it seems simple, it develops complex physical actions.
The blood circulation
The blood circulation is better when you lie down than when you stand because it is easier to circulate a liquid (the blood) without the interference of gravity. In this position the rising of the leg and the extended breath make the blood act as in the case of Pascalís law: the pressure of an incompressible liquid is transmitted into all the senses and is proportional to the column of liquid.
This principle of hydrostatics is highly important for the body. The blood is an incompressible liquid like the water and thus it will transmit the pressure into the entire body and the blood will return faster to the heart.
The cardiac muscle does not need to work as hard and the blood receives more oxygen. This exercise is very effective in preventing cardiac arrests. After a heart attack you may perform this exercise progressively during convalescence.
The abdominal organs need, for a proper function the rhythmical contraction of the abdominal muscles during walking or during the other daily activities. In your daily routine, this stimulation is refused most of the day, which results in a decrease of the vitality.
Lifting the leg, we act on the abdominal muscles and thus they stimulate the whole area of the abdomen, the inner organs included. This is why we perform series of five movements. The exercise massages the organs deeply and also superficially.
Balance and symmetry are two main purposes of yoga. The bodily and prana-ic balance is obtained equalizing the inhalation with the exhalation, and to keep a permanent focus on what is going on in the inner universe.
Some regions of our body are controlled by one or other of these vayu-s. Apana vayu, particularly stimulated by our exercise responds of the area from waist down. Apana vayu is responsible for the elimination of the urine, salts, sperm, menstrual blood, and for the birth process.
In our exercise, the entire action is based on the area governed by apana vayu, with a special effect on the legs and toes. If we make equal the time for an inhalation with that of an exhalation, the prana vayu and the apana vayu will become balanced.
In our exercise, when we try to make one part of the body active and the other passive, prana vayu and apana vayu are energically stimulated by each halves.
If we practice this exercise daily, it will help our spiritual practice, in the sense that asanas such as Halasana, Sarvangasana or Sirshasana will be easier to approach. The perseverant practice of this apparently simple exercise will bring special benefits to the practitioner.