1. DO NOT FORCE YOUR BODY under any circumstances. No matter how many times we say this to people, they just keep on doing it. They have been programmed to believe that the most, the biggest and the fastest are the best. They want to push their bodies right into the exercises, whether the body likes it or not. This is a great mistake that does more harm than you can imagine. Work slowly with your body. Respect its limits. These limits will gradually extend and you will gain flexibility if you work REGULARLY and sensitively at stretching just to your limits and stopping there. The body will get the message and the tension which is preventing you from proceeding will gradually be released.
2. BE REGULAR in you practice. A few times a week is not enough if you really want to heal or transform or develop your body. You do not need a lot of time but you do need to be regular. Twenty or even fifteen minutes a day are more effective than two hours once a week. Do not believe that you don’t have time. You will just have to make an assessment of what you are doing which is not leaving you any free time. Something can be sacrificed for this life-enhancing activity. In the end, the time you sacrifice for these exercises and other techniques, will be gained twofold and even more through greater clarity, efficiency and less need to sleep or daydream.
3. DO NOT CONTINUE ANY EXERCISE WHICH CAUSES PAIN. Check with your doctor or exercise instructor what you should do. Pain is a message from the body which must be listened to. In some cases it may simply be the body’s process of changing which is causing the pain. In such cases, you simply need to bear with it and continue (without forcing) and it will gradually pass. In other cases you may be doing harm to some part of your body and may have to stop and to some other preparatory exercises before returning to that one.
4. EXERCISE ON AN EMPTY STOMACH at least three hours after eating. (The half shoulder stand in which we put our feet on the wall is an exception to this. It can be done after about half-an-hour if there is no other time in which we can do it).
5. REMOVE ALL JEWELRY AND TIGHT CLOTHING. Let your body be free of any restrictions. Find some loose, comfortable clothing or body-hugging dance tights for exercising.
6. BE CONSCIOUS AND CONCENTRATE on what you are doing. Try to keep your mind on feeling what is happening in the body and concentrate on your breath and position. Do not think about other things or talk to anyone while exercising. If possible, it would be best if you were alone in the room, without distractions such as radio or TV, so that you can concentrate. If this is not possible, just try to concentrate on yourself and ignore what is going on around you.
7. GIVE IMPORTANCE TO YOUR BREATHING. Each exercise has a specific way of breathing. This is an extremely important aspect of the exercise. In many cases it is even more important than the physical movements themselves. By conscious of your breathing and breathe slowly and deeply, according to the instructions for each exercise. In general (with some exceptions) we inhale when we stretch upward or backward and exhale when we bend downward or forward.
8. COMPLETE YOUR EXERCISE SERIES WITH DEEP BREATHING and, if possible, with DEEP RELAXATION. For each specific problem various series of exercises will be given for morning or evening.
9. AVOID EXERCISING AT LEAST THREE MONTHS AFTER SURGERY, unless you have specific permission from your doctor. Some exercises, as indicated, should be started only 6 months after surgery, unless you have your doctor’s permission to start earlier. Also, avoid all exercises at any time when you suspect internal bleeding or an inflamed appendix.
10. Many of the advanced exercises as well as different variations of the ones given here are not covered in this book because they are not frequently used in self-healing but more so for self-transformation.