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the knees, allow the body to go backward and down, not bending the back but keeping it as straight as possible, feeling the weight and strain in the legs only, not allowing any effort to be felt in the back; then come slowly up, leaving the head upon the back until the torso is in normal position; when that is erect, poise the head and carry the arms to the side.
THIRD MOVEMENT. —- LATERAL BEND.
Carry one arm up over the head, as in Fig. 20, then bend towards opposite side from the arm raised, keeping the weight upon the foot of the same side of the arm that is raised, and carrying the other foot directly out at the side in a way to form a graceful curve extending from shoulder to foot; bring the body slowly up to position, then return head, arm and foot to normal position. Repeat the exercise with the opposite side.
FOURTH MOVEMENT. —-FORWARD DIAGONAL BEND.
Take the same position and exercise as in forward movement (Fig. 19), only this time carry a hand each
side of the toes of the right foot, instead of directly in front of the body; then slowly come back to position as before. Repeat this exercise with the other foot as guide, after the following first backward diagonal bend.
FIFTH MOVEMENT.—-BAUK\VARD DIAGONAL BEND
Place the ends of the fingers of both hands lightly upon the chest, as in Fig. 10 ; without moving the body carry the head back and down towards the left heel and pull the head backward in such a line as to feel a stretching of the neck as close to the right side of the trachea as is possible; then, by allowing the knees to yield, bend toward the left heel (see Fig. 21): rise as before to position, bringing the head to position after the torso has its poise; then carry the arms to the sides. Repeat this exercise, after that of the fourth
movement with the opposite heel as guide. HYGIENIC EFFECT.
This group of exercises causes such a continuous stretch of the muscles, from the head to the feet, and also throughout the entire length of the arms as searches out all the muscles that from lack of proper development are in any degree feeble. It develops great freedom and strength in the muscles throughout
the whole system.
No other exercises can do more to equalize the circulation of the blood through all parts of the body. They develop what is sometimes called “ staying qualities," that is, they enable one to endure hardships, and strengthen the body in such a way as to overcome the sense of weakness about the waist, back, and stomach, which many people errperience, and which they express by saying: “I do not feel as though I could hold myself up when sitting, and, therefore, I always feel as though I must lean on something.”
It will be observed that while one set of muscles is contracted to its utmost degree of power the opposite set is being stretched to its greatest extent.
Muscles cannot be developed to their highest condition by contraction alone, nor by being stretched; but being alternately contracted and stretched will cultivate them most perfectly.
Continuity of line through all parts of the person
is obtained. There is an evenness of development gained in all the parts, giving roundness, fulness, and symmetry.