When stretching the body, it is wise to maintain barefoot practice to help stimulate nerve endings. Coordinate your breath with every stretch to channel fresh oxygen to various regions of the body. Inhale softly when you reach for the sky; exhale hoarsely as you deflate to the ground. Fold forward to refresh the spine; bend backward to enhance flexibility and strengthen the spine. Use abdominal breathing to protect your core, and hinge from the hip in forward folds. Inhale deep to nourish internal organs; exhale long to expel stale gases. During back bends, keep the eyes open to avoid feeling dizzy; in forward folds, close your eyes to internalize the experience. Use abdominal pressure to stimulate release of enzymes and maintain the health of internal organs. Balance all postures with counter postures, and stretch the tighter side first – makes it easier to forgive ourselves. And forgiveness is the essence of yoga.
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