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If you have cats, you have probably noticed that the first thing they do after awakening is stretch their little furry bodies. Arching their back and extending their limbs is not just a way to tone their muscles – it’s also a way to get the blood flowing in preparation for the activity they’re about to embark upon. Similarly, if you begin stretching each morning and doing an audio meditation , you’ll likely notice the immediate positive impact on your own overall health and wellness. Stretching is no longer something that is saved only for your pre- and post-workouts.

Among the many benefits of stretching and audio meditation, you’ll most likely be impressed with how it can wake up your mind and body in preparation for the day. Stretching increases the circulation in your body, getting oxygen to your brain and blood to your muscles, while meditation gives you positive energy to use all day. Why wait for your cup of coffee to fully wake you up? Other physical benefits of stretching include increased flexibility of your muscles, a better range of motion in your joints, stress relief and the ability to maintain proper posture throughout the day.

How then can you be sure to get the most from stretching? It’s simple: move slowly and hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds. Practice conscious breathing during your stretch and you will maximize oxygen to the blood. Remember your stretches should be pain-free and you should target all major muscle groups. For a more thorough introduction to stretching, you might also consider learning yoga or another movement exercise, such as Tai Chi. Those who practice these regularly report an improved mood and better clarity throughout the day.

Stretching your body regularly can also have a positive impact on your mind. After all, increased blood flow and oxygen intake also feeds your brain! You’ll probably notice that a good stretch along with some deep breathing wakes up your mind and helps you to think more clearly. You may also notice that you seem to be better in touch with your creative faculties too.

You can enhance this effect by also choosing to “stretch” your mind on a daily basis. Most of us tend to live very routine lives, rarely doing anything new or unusual. We work at the same location, interact with the same people, undertake the same routines, watch the same programs on television . . . day after day after day! Is it any wonder that we often feel like we’re sleepwalking through our lives?

Begin stretching your mind by introducing it to something new each day. You can read a book or magazine you normally wouldn’t be exposed to, watch different types of television shows or movies, introduce yourself to someone who appears to be quite different from yourself, and so on. Jar your mind out of its rut and you’ll likely discover that there is awe and beauty in places you never would have thought to look before!

You can also adopt this same process in your spiritual practices. Visit a new church, read about the religious or spiritual traditions of other cultures, ask friends about their beliefs if they are different than yours, and otherwise strive to learn more about the unknown.

Stretching yourself body, mind and spirit is a great way to enrich your life and expand your enjoyment of everything you do!

Expansion Affirmation:

I stretch and expand my body for greater flexibility and strength.

I stretch and expand my mind for greater understanding and wisdom.

I stretch and expand my spirit for greater compassion and peace.

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