When young, things are soft.
When old, things are brittle.
Stretching—both literally and metaphorically—is a necessary part of life.
Physically, a good program of stretching emphasizes all parts of the body. You loosen the joints and tendons first, so that subsequent movements will not hurt. Then methodically stretch the body, beginning with the larger muscle groups such as the legs and back, and proceed to finer and smaller parts like the fingers. Coordinate stretching with breathing; use long and gentle stretches rather than bouncing ones. When you stretch in one direction, always be sure to stretch in the opposite direction as well. If you follow this procedure, your flexibility will undoubtedly increase.
Metaphorical stretching leads to expansion and flexibility in personal growth. A young plant is tender and pliant. An older one is stiff and vulnerable to breaking. Softness is thus equated with life, hardness with death. The more flexible you are, the greater your mental and physical health.
Deng Ming-Dao (author)
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