Yoga drishti

What is Drishti in Yoga?

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I’m John Campbell I’m here at the

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University of Virginia with yoga

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students and talking about what is known

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as the Drishti which is a Sanskrit word

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that means gaze or can mean viewpoint

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even we’re talking about important

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component of especially asana yoga

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practice where with each individual

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exercise in the yoga repertoire a very

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crucial component along with the

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position of the feet and the hands and

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the torso is the directional focal point

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that is what you actually are looking at

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so I’m going to be leading the students

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here through a few poses in a sequence

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and talking about Drishti or the gaze so

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we’re going to begin with the surya

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namaskara B bend your knees ekam inhale

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arms up look to your thumbs today exhale

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reach down look straight ahead

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trini inhale head up gazing down at your

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nose

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Chuck body exhale jump back again

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looking at your nose

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punjah inhale head back but looking at

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your nose and exhale press back look to

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your navel Supt

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right foot forward

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arms up look to your thumbs hushed Oh

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hands down looking to your nose upward

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dog inhale to the nose exhale back

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looking again to the navel the Agathe

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sha left side step arms up

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tip your head back and look at the

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thumbs go down exhale lower gazing at

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the nose upward dog inhale downward dog

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exhale

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and now they will bring their gaze to

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their Center to their navel in

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traditional especially ashtanga yoga

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practice there are there are a set of

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different gazes really a limited set

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which are applicable to each of the

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poses that is downward dog the gaze is

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supposed to be the navel up for dog the

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gaze is supposed to be the tip of the

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nose but in fact the gaze point is

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really a work in progress because if

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you’re not able to do the pose to its

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fullest extent it would be improper for

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you to be using the gaze point how

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illustrate what I’m talking about

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as they first of all punch it the SHA

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jump forward head up inhale shoulder SHA

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head down

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sup the de Shah bent knees arms up and

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some us the game turned it aside for

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Tita trikonasana feet three feet apart

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arms out inhale and the exhale grab on

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to the big toe and the gaze is now up at

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the up stretched hand here for most

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practitioners the gaze will

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appropriately be the hand and that’s

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only because it’s not that hard to

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actually turn your head and look it up

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at your hand

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now they raise up and inhale and pivot

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to the left side again exhale go down

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and once they’re truly in the pose again

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turning their head to look up at the

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head

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three four

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and five and buncha inhale rise turn

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back to the right side now you’ll see as

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they exhale go down again the gaze point

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is the up stretched hand but it’s not so

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obvious that anyone would be able to do

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this so if they are able to turn their

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head and actually look up at the hand

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that is a guideline that helps to

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configure the asana it helps with

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balance but a stiffer person might not

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actually be able to turn their head and

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look up at their hand that doesn’t mean

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they won’t have a gaze it just means

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they’ll have to make up a different one

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inhale rise turn your feet and exhale go

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down the one thing that is impossible or

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the one thing that doesn’t fly is that

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your eyes are wandering around the room

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it was never acceptable the yoga

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practice is all about cultivating

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concentration 4 & 5 so rise up inhaling

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and some us the tea heat to the front

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yay come inhale look up at your thumbs

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today exhale reach down

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Trini head up looking to the nose shut

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Waddy jump back

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and keep going right the way jump yours

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go to upward dog downward dog and then

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you’re gonna jump through to mutt each

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asana a on your own so what they’re

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gonna what you’ll see that practitioners

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doing now is a pose known as muddy

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cheese pose the sage muddy cheat pose

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and the gaze initially is their nose as

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they lift their head and then as they go

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down to their leg the prescribed gaze is

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the tip of the toe of the big toe on the

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front foot now that’s only practicable

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if they actually can go deeply down into

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the pose where their chest is laid out

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on their leg and they can turn their

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head and look forward if as is often the

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case when somebody’s learning the

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practice they don’t have that kind of

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flexibility their gaze will simply be

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right in front of them as they’ll put

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their head on their leg and inhaling

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rise up exhale and now switch sides to

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the left just switch and again on your

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own head up inhale exhale go down

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one other important interesting thing to

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think about with this whole gays

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component of each of the asanas is as I

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mentioned earlier the dish team means

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not only gays but in a more abstract

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sense it means viewpoint it means the

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way you look at things

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it means subjectivity after five breaths

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inhale rise and then jump back on your

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own at that point in a more abstract

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sense the idea of brewski is the

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viewpoint literally that we cultivate in

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yoga practice as we work with the breath

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and the body we begin naturally to

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withdraw attention from the world around

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us

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mut each asana see and turning here the

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prescribed gaze as they say is to the

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side Parvati and they’re looking back

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as the practice evolves and becomes

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deeper not only is there just simply a

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physical focal point the the ideal focal

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point that’s prescribed for a given

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asana but a certain kind of way of

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looking at the focal point and in

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particular what kind of focal point what

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kind of viewpoint are we trying to

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cultivate well they say in the yoga

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tradition for example the most important

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shift in viewpoint that we’re seeking is

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one that is less less self-preoccupied

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less hung up on one’s own experience as

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you’re ready finish and switch to the

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other side at that point the gaze is not

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only a physiological orientation where

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your vision rests but what do you see

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when your vision rests there my teacher

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used to say something quite far out and

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quite beautiful and wonderful and that

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is that once yoga practice was complete

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and perfect everywhere you look you see

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God now I’m not sure what he meant by

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it meant everything to him but what he

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literally was saying was that as the

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result of yoga practice that everywhere

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he would look things looked very

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different for him and inhale head

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forward exhale and jump back the final

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thing to say about gays at the moment is

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that gays is not just something that we

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obviously look at jump through sit down

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and take Lotus position it’s not

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something that we would obviously look

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at in just the context of our yoga

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practice but think about how there is

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gays at work in virtually every

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undertaking if you’re a tennis player

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you’re learning to look at a moving

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object in space seeing the ball if

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you’re trying to hit a baseball so any

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kind of athletic activity but what about

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interacting with loved ones what about

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in the workplace what about being alone

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your ability to maintain full attention

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and the kind of viewpoint that you bring

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to what you’re looking at in a sense is

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the full story of the kind of life that

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you’re needing and experiencing and what

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yoga invites us to do is to strip down

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to the basics of the experience of

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looking

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ask ourselves how we are looking how

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well we are looking and paying attention

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and the quality of that attention and

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overtime in yoga we learn hopefully to

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look ever more beneficial

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