Recognizing the distinct roles of movement and holding in Yoga postures

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Most Yoga books talk about stationary or held Yoga postures (asanas). We suggest that before trying to hold a posture, you first become acquainted with moving in and out of most of the postures we recommend in this book, following the rules of breath and movement in the preceding section. When d c you can move in and out of a given posture easily and confidently, try holding the posture for a short period without holding or straining your breath. You know you're straining when your face turns into a grimace or you feel it going red like a tomato. Getting a handle on moving into and out of the postures before adding the element of holding is important for three reasons:

✓ It helps prepare your muscles and joints by bringing circulation to the area. It's like juicing up your joints, which adds a safety factor.

✓ It helps you experience the intimate connection between body, breath, and mind.

✓ In the case of stretching postures, moving in and out of a given posture before holding the posture supports the concept of Proprioceptive NeuromuscularFacilitation (PNF). If you tighten a muscle before stretching it either by gentle resistance (isotonic) or by pushing against a fixed force (isometric), the subsequent stretch is deeper than just using a static pose. Scientific research supports this phenomenon; numerous physical therapy texts refer to it as PNF.

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