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yoga moment Doctor Lynn Anderson

Monday, April 04, 2011

When good and pleasure collide

In yoga terms it is always best to seek that which is good over that which is pleasurable. Pleasure is seen as temporary and of the physical world, where seeking the good raises the body-mind to a higher level of existence. For example; we may get pleasure in eating a chocolate Sunday but it is far better to feed the body-mind nutritious foods that enhance health and well being.

But the problem with strict adherence to the good is that it can leave us with cravings and resentment and those cravings and resentments can distract us from finding balance and peace. Human life and its physical and mental design is made for seeking and enjoying pleasure as well as needing the elements of good for health and well being.

We are hardwired in our brains to seek pleasure. The pleasure center of the brain releases dopamine in response to certain stimuli. As humans we crave this release and even get addicted to the stimuli that cause us to experience the pleasure sensation of the release of dopamine. The problem comes in when we get addicted to substances that rob the body-mind of balance causing us to seek pleasure at the expense of good. What we need is balance.  Kriya Yoga (seeking balance) teaches us to be moderate in all things and we will find the balance or that thin line that separates extreme good and extreme pleasure.

Life is best lived in a state of balance. One glass of wine has been shown to be good for you and at the same time gives us pleasure. It can enhance the food we eat and relax us. Wine has been shown to be good for memory, circulation and anti-aging. However take it a step farther and drink more than two glasses of wine and the opposite effect happens. We undermine all the good of a moderate consumption of wine.

Sometimes this dilemma is referred to as walking on the razors edge. If you lean to one side you will get cut. It is a sharp fine line between extremes. In the center is the place life is meant to be lived. It is a constant balance of self awareness that keeps us from slipping and cutting ourselves. This is the balanced path of yoga. Approach all things with a sense of moderation. This way you will never feel the sense of denial and craving that comes from living too strictly or slip and fall from over indulgence in too much pleasure. 

Doctor Lynn

Posted on 04/04 at 11:09 AM

Thursday, March 03, 2011


Balance is the ultimate in achievement, for when the body, mind and soul are in perfect balance we have perfect health. We are at peace. Moderation is the key element in bringing balance to your life.

Some branches of yoga see a contradiction between seeking good and indulging in pleasure. A text of Vendantic yoga says; “Both the good and the pleasurable approach a person. The wise choose the good over the pleasurable.” Many yoga practitioners have taken this to means we should deny ourselves any pleasure in the pursuit of the good. However if something is good without pleasure, is it not difficult to stay with the good? Can’t something that is good for you also be pleasurable? Let’s take sex for example. It is both good for your health and pleasurable. Some branches of yoga deny sexual pleasure in favor of total abstinence. Somehow the pleasure of loving someone (physical) is seen as not seeking the good (spiritual). It is a pleasure to be denied.
From a mystical point of view, pleasure is found in the spiritual and not necessarily in the physical world. But from a brain science point of view you are wired for pleasure. The pleasure centers in our brains are wired so as to insure the survival of the species. Food, alcohol, some drugs, sex, exercise and more, stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain. A balanced individual chooses pleasures that are good for survival and an unbalanced individual chooses destruction and over indulges in pleasure. What is needed is moderation or an ability to walk the middle road.

Everything in moderation brings balance to the body, the mind and the soul. The problem is when we let emotions take over and we overindulge to the point of destruction. However, the body’s natural tendency is to treat pleasure as if we are on the right track; even when destructive pleasure feels good and leads to destruction of the body, the mind and the soul. The secret is moderation.

Do what is good and what brings you pleasure with a careful eye towards balance. Balance is the center point where we lean towards neither side but remain steadfast and upright stable, strong and centered. It is here that good and pleasure meet, bringing ultimate joy to the body, the mind and the soul.
Doctor Lynn

Posted on 03/03 at 07:18 AM

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Loving is a process in which we bring forth another soul towards illumination. Through the physical act of sexuality combined with spiritual love we take the physical and the mental experience to another level. This level is known as ecstasy. When you make love to another person you are opening a doorway to the person’s soul. Love is a way of directing large amounts of energy out through your body, mind and soul into the body, mind and soul of another.

In yoga this is known as physical celibacy which means that we practice restraint from random acts of sex and love with the realization that when we tap into the sexual and sensual loving energy of another we are connecting at the soul level. Connecting should be done with respect and honor. It is the difference between making love and raw sex.
For most individuals making love is the closest they will come to fully connecting with another human being or for that matter to anything in the universe. If one is truly touching; the body, the mind and the soul will recognize the touch. People who have truly loved understand.
Posted on 02/02 at 06:24 AM

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


It is the start of a new year. What should we try and observe? In the practice of yoga purity is the first observance. Purity has two levels, internal and external. The body is purified by water, the mind is purified by truthfulness and the soul is purified by knowledge and austerity.

Let’s focus on physical purity. Eating a healthy diet that gives life force back to the body as well as hydrating it with life replenishing water is said to bring the light from the temple (the body) to an intense place where energy is uplifted and health is restored. This is not too difficult to understand. When we eat healthy we are supplying the body with the nutrients it needs to function at its optimal level. When the body is healthy, energetic and strong we are able to achieve more. This sense of achievement is not about achieving through competition but rather the kind of achievement that comes about when we feel good and have more energy to absorb and appreciate the fundamental aspects of life.

In today’s world it is not always easy to live a purely healthy lifestyle. However with a little awareness we can make choices that will enhance the functionality of the body, in such a way, that we actually can observe.

Doctor Lynn
Posted on 01/04 at 02:04 PM

Thursday, December 02, 2010


There is a prescribed order in the study of yoga. The first step is the abstentions and the first abstention is to practice non-violence. Non-violence begins in the mind or with our intellect. Our mind produces either harmonious or inharmonious thoughts, and these thoughts produce verbal and physical acts of non-violence or violence. Therefore in yoga we practice to quiet the mind so that thoughts are harmonious and non-violence is practiced.

The practice of nonviolence brings about three things:
1. It brings good karma into your life
2. It brings about non-agitation of the mind so that concentration is possible. When we concentrate we are able to meditate and when we are able to meditate illumination is possible.
3. Non-violence automatically draws non-violent people and events into your life. Your social exchange becomes filled with happiness and effortless intellectual exchange.

From our thoughts spring our words. To practice non-violence in speech;
1. Speak softly
2. Speak gently
3. Speak wisely

When thoughts and words are kind, gentle and harmonious with life there is no need for the physical expression of violence. In yoga it is believed that if we could master the practice of non-violence we would not need to master the other steps.

This holiday season practice non-violence. Make it your gift to your family, friends and the world. Take time to relax. Meditate and find the peace within.


May you always go with health, happiness and peace.

Doctor Lynn

Posted on 12/02 at 02:07 PM

Friday, November 05, 2010


Ever woken up in a “bad” mood? You create your own universe whether you are aware of it or not. Your moods set up a pattern that eventually manifest into your external world. Your moods create the nature of your day. How do we change these so called “bad” moods?

We can master a bad mood but not without first mastering ourselves. It takes a little work and a little self reflection. It is easy to get caught in the illusion and blame circumstances or other people for our moods but in fact our moods are simply by-products of the internal universe within. The enemy is not something or someone out there but rather inside our own minds, moods and attitudes.

The practice of yoga is a wonderful way to master our moods. Your moods reflect first in your body language. Your posture and gestures reflect a lack of balance. Drooping shoulders, a scowling face and sunken eyes reveal your inner mood. Using yoga poses we bring balance to the body by stretching it, flexing it, strengthening it and releasing it from its tense and drooping stature. This release then moves within and releases the mind from its “bad” mood grip. In a balanced state a being is steady, stable and strong. This in turns reflects out physically through the posture and the stature. You are a reflection of the universe that exists within. Be aware.

Doctor Lynn

Posted on 11/05 at 04:19 AM

Friday, October 01, 2010


I have been trying very hard to teach what little Zen I know to my various classes throughout LA. I say what little I know because Zen is not something you can know but something you experience. But as a teacher it is my job to try and transfer this knowledge to my students.

When we think of Zen we often envision a monk sitting ideally in deep meditation. But this is not the true practice of Zen. Practicing Zen means to locate ourselves in the very moment of each and every one of our everyday experiences so that we might have the opportunity to learn something about ourselves and our universe. It literally means to be in the moment with our present moment experiences.

Zen is not something that can be taught. A teacher can only guide. Zen is transmitter into our consciousness through sessions of contemplation. But unlike ideally sitting, Zen can happen when we contemplate and focus our present moment actions and reactions to life’s experiences. What is actually happening in this moment? What are you experiencing? Are you present and one with the experience or standing outside the moment caught up in the past or the future? These are the questions to ask yourself as you go about your daily life. When washing dishes; wash the dishes. Be one with the experience and learn the fine art of Zen.
The way of Zen is simply to waken us from our dreamlike world of endless monotonous thoughts, so that we experience life in the present moment. Right now; close your eyes, sit still and take three long breathes, quiet and still completely in the moment. That is the way of Zen.

Doctor Lynn

Posted on 10/01 at 06:16 AM

Friday, September 03, 2010

Karma Yoga

In karma yoga the word Karma means simply to work. Our work or goal in practicing karma yoga is the attainment of knowledge. We are not here on earth for pleasure but to acquire knowledge and thus wisdom. Pleasure and happiness come and go. Likewise pain and unhappiness. Pain and unhappiness have the ability to teach us as much if not more than happiness and pleasure. It is the striving for this knowledge that is the fundamental goal of life. It is achieved through the work we undertake throughout the course of our life.

As pleasure and pain past through our lives they leave different impressions upon our souls. This is what is known as character. If you look at the character of any person you will find that there are equal parts of pain and pleasure in the formation of the individual’s character.

If we were to study the great characters of the world, we would probably find that in the majority of cases, it was misery that taught them more than happiness, poverty more than wealth and setbacks did more to flame the inner fires of determination than did praise.

So although we tend to think of Karma as “good or bad”, karma is really just a result of the actions we take each moment in thought, word and deed. No life escapes without at least a little pain, disappointment, anger, sadness and fear. To transcend these experiences and turn them into character building is to practice karma yoga where we simply acknowledge the feelings and turn them into experiences that bring us knowledge about life and that knowledge is the stuff of wisdom.

Doctor Lynn
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Posted on 09/03 at 05:06 AM

Friday, August 20, 2010

Free online Yoga Ball Class


Come and join me LIVE over the internet for a free Yoga Ball Class - Wednesday at 11AM PST starting September 1st. Go to  register and sign up for Doctor Lynn’s Yoga Ball Class and receive a FREE CLASS.

Posted on 08/20 at 01:08 PM

Monday, August 02, 2010


There are many things in life that seem contradictory. In yoga a study of the truth may reveal such a contradiction. The truth is not something that is hard and fixed. In fact the truth may change from one situation to another. When practicing the truth, however, there are two things to keep in mind;

1. No intention to harm
2. A true understanding of the truth in your own mind, speech and actions as it relates to the whole of life.

And here is the contradiction; some say truth should be spoken only with wisdom and some say that the truth should be spoken without consideration of loss or gain.

The other day I was in line at a local environmentally conscious grocery store. The store promotes using reusable bags and paper bags as opposed to plastic bags. They even reward you for bringing in your own reusable bag. So I’m in line, two customers back. The first customer had her reusable bags; however I noticed that every item going into the bags were contained in plastic! The next customer asked for paper bags and again I noticed every item going into her bag was plastic including the plastic bags she used to put in loose fruit from the produce section of the store. I thought to myself – what a contradiction.

And further; the reusable bags I heard from a report could be contaminated with bacteria if not cleaned after using. Bacteria and dirt from produce and food could leak into the bag. Paper bags require cutting down trees. It seemed such a contradiction to me. Now I know every little bit helps but what is the truth?

Clearly there was no intention to harm. But was there a true understanding in the minds, words and actions as it relates to the whole of life? I’ll leave this question up to you.

Doctor Lynn

Posted on 08/02 at 12:54 PM

Friday, July 02, 2010

Zen Moments

The practice of yoga is really about those glorious moments where we experience a total connection to everything. It’s as if time stops and we experience the true meaning of life which is simply the experience of living. But sadly those moments are often few and far between. The connection to our lives gets lost in stress, sadness, being overwhelmed, anxious and afraid. For most of us it is so difficult to stop, take a deep breath and just be in the moment. In today’s fast paced world we are afraid we’ll miss something or something won’t get done. That’s why “Zen Moments” are so important. They teach us to experience the essence of life which can only be found in the moments of your life. What you take to each new moment is a reflection of what you did in the moment before and will become the consecutive moment of your life. Ever notice, when you are happy and laughing the moments of your life roll together without worry or fear. That is why laughter is so important. That’s why we love comedians; they teach us how to laugh at the absurdities of life.  In fact a recent scientific studies has shown that laughing at the absurdities of life (not demeaning humor) cause a physiological response that’s similar to the effects of moderate exercise. Like exercise (yoga asana) laughter lowers stress hormones and ups the feel good neurochemicals flooding our body-mind with a state of relaxation. Laughter may just be the antidote to ill health.

The month of July, for most of us, means summer, vacations, relaxation, time with family, the beach, cookouts and parties. Be aware of the moments and how you approach each event. Remember as a moment slips away it is gone forever. What you bring to each moment determine the nature of your life. Bring laughter, joy, happiness and love and watch your life unfold with meaning.

So when is the best time to start? Now! In the here and now! Sit quietly, Close your eyes, cross your arms and place your hands on your chest. Take in three deep breathes. Then release and observe the moment.

Doctor Lynn

Posted on 07/02 at 04:40 AM

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

June Blog Post

Whatever you are doing in your life, whatever beliefs, philosophies, ideas or opinions, practicing non-greed can only be a good thing. But first you must understand and be aware of the true meaning of non-greed. I’m going to take this month and revisit non-greed. Next month we’ll focus on the abstentions as a whole before we move onto the observances.

As yoga teaches us; if we practiced non-greed we would not need to practice the other four abstentions; non-stealing, non-truth, non-violence and non-celibacy. Greed, as it has been said, is the root of all evil. In the last four months in my yoga classes we have been studying the abstentions. Over the months many of my students have shared with me how what I have taught has helped them in their lives. I thank each of them for taking the time to share this with me. One young lady, in particular, sat and talked with me before yoga class began. She is young and energetic. She’s a pretty girl with a warm and thoughtful smile. She told me that she was working for a company and she had been pushing hard to get ahead. She was impatient and wanting to move up the corporate ladder. She was frustrated. She told me that when I talked about practicing non-greed it hit a chord with her soul. She realized just as I had said, she was reaching out beyond herself rather than letting things come to her. She was reaching out and grabbing at things she had not earned. In this she was feeling frustrated and had lost her balance. Her superiors were frustrated with her. Tension was building at work. In class she realized she was being greedy and pushing beyond what she had earned. She took a step back, pulled back into her center and with balanced energy moved forward observing and gathering her life-force. Things were better at work and she could see that she needed time to learn and she needed to allow what she desired to flow to her rather than reach out and try and force it.  She needed to stop being greedy!

The purpose of the abstentions is to bring peace, serenity and tranquility to the mind. Seek out wise ways to discipline the mind, like abstaining from violence, untruthfulness, stealing, lack of self control and greed.  Yoga teaches us how to discipline the mind and reorganize it so we experience peace and happiness. The purpose of yoga is to balance the scattered energy of the body-mind.

There is no recipe for life. Each and every situation presents itself as unique. With this realization we see life more clearly bringing flexibility to the body-mind. The place to begin is to accept your humanness with all its imperfections. Be aware as you walk the path of life. Accept what comes into your life and accept what leaves your life as the natural course of things. What comes in and what leaves are simply tools to be used for your own evolution. Remember balance is the key to living a healthy and happy existence. Seek balance in all things and in all things find balance. With this you are practicing yoga. 

Doctor Lynn

Posted on 06/01 at 09:17 AM

Monday, May 03, 2010


This month we’ll walk the path of non-greed. Non-greed is the ability to remain detached from the enjoyment of objects but not detached from the objects themselves. In other words, it means that we should seek to be content with what we have and not become so attached to any form of pleasure or desire that we lose our sense of balance. Cravings and desire intensify the energy of the body-mind, causing a person to commit violence against others and against self. If we practiced non-greed, it is said that we would not need to focus on the other abstentions; non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing and celibacy.

Practicing non-greed we realize the nature of the mind and that we are not mind but rather a balancing of the life forces of nature. The goal of life is to harmoniously balance the greed seeking tendencies of the mind by bringing life back into balance. This does not mean that we do not seek to enjoy life. It means not to reach out beyond to physically take, mentally want or verbally deceive with false promises that which is not yours.

Again with all the abstentions we must look at them intellectually, verbally and physically. Intellectual non-greed has to do with controlling the mind. When the mind is not content it reaches out to satisfy this contentment by attaching itself to things. The mind then desires to possess these things. Once the mind possesses these things it becomes fearful of losing them and so the mind becomes agitated, fearful and anxious. This agitated, fearful, anxious energy scatters the mind and the life force of the individual. This state of being scattered, which we’ve all experienced, prohibits the soul energy from gathering the life force that is balanced, stable and calm. Better decisions are made and problems can be solved when we approach life with a balanced, stable and calm mind.

Verbal greed means to entice self or others into indulgences and desires that disturb the balanced energy of the mind. That is why superficial talk is discouraged and silence is encouraged. We should only speak what needs to be said, mindful of, “do no harm.”

Physical non-greed means recognizing the necessary needs of life and striving for them without reaching out and desiring that which you do not need. Do not become overly attached to any person, place or thing. Life is constantly changing and what you may need today may change tomorrow. It also implies that we should not become jealous and envious of others good fortune. Be aware that this good fortune carries its own weight, obligations and complications. We must also strive to repay our debts on all levels. One repays his civilization by leaving the world better off than how he or she found it. Indebtedness also involves vows. We should not enter into vows lightly. When you give your word it is important to come from a spiritual place. Even though you may give your word to another person it is really within you to either break or keep your word. The vow must be observed with an undisturbed mind. Otherwise distortions and misunderstanding arise. The spirit of yoga teaches us that any vow should be ultimately taken to bring about peace of mind. If a person takes a vow to stop doing something and then obsesses on it all day so that the mind becomes scattered, it might be better to gradually give something up so that the mind adjusts and eventually the cravings subside.

Yoga deals with disciplining the subconscious mind rather than the conscious mind. Through yoga we take the conscious mind into the subconscious mind and reorganize it so that we experience peace and tranquility. Some people appear to be nice and kind at the conscious level but on a subconscious level they are violent. This usually surfaces when they over indulge. The purpose of yoga is to balance the scattered energies exiting in the subconscious mind. Only as we balance the subconscious mind do we experince happiness, peace and bliss.

Doctor Lynn

Posted on 05/03 at 06:09 AM

Thursday, April 01, 2010


The fourth abstention or pathway of yoga is the path of celibacy. Celibacy is also referred to as non-sensuality. This means that celibacy is not just about controlling sexual desires but it means to control all your organs or better stated your cravings. According to Hindu tradition a person’s life is divided into four stages. The first stage is that of a student and requires celibacy or a focus on studying. The second stage is that of the householder where a person may decide to continue to study before taking up the responsibilities of a household, a person may then decide to take up the responsibilities of a household or a person may decide to continue the rest of his or her life in contemplation, study and celibacy.

Whatever path a person chooses celibacy means that we strive to discipline the gross aspects of life and move into the more subtle. Thus sexual energy is to be controlled, bridled and ultimately enjoyed. The concept of sexuality linked with a healthy body, mind and soul should be practiced at all times.

As with all the abstentions we practice in thoughts, words and deeds. But before we get into the path of celibacy let’s recap last month’s path of non-stealing. 

When I talked about stealing through the thoughts that enter one’s mind my classes nodded but not with a lot of concern. When I talked about not physically taking from another person everyone acknowledged in agreement that stealing another person’s physical property was wrong. However when I mentioned stealing through the words we use to take away another person’s dignity or to have someone take away our dignity through the use of words many people took notice. I think it reminded us all of the power of the spoken word. We hurt and are hurt by the words people use. Our dignity and honor can be stripped when angry hurtful words are tossed our way. We also steal from our own dignity when we allow ourselves to hurt others with angry hurtful words. Non-stealing reminds us to think before we speak and act. When the mind is quiet and peaceful there is no need to steal or be stolen from in words or deeds.

This of course leads us to celibacy because the practice of celibacy is to stop the cravings of a restless mind which leads to control over our words and actions.

When a person craves and obsesses over things of sensuality the soul gets attached to these objects and from this attachment cravings intensify and the mind scatters. The practice of celibacy is to bring the scattering mind under control. This leads to balance, peace and serenity. Whatever one is doing, one should be focused. When eating, you should eat, when sleeping you should sleep, when practicing yoga you should practice yoga and when you are loving you should love. In all things we should remain unattached, free from cravings so that the mind moves and unfolds into life with flexibility and openness.

Verbal celibacy means that we should seek to avoid making sexual overtones and expressions that can be insulting and degrading. As our mind is at peace so our words will be soft and gentle.

Physical celibacy means that whether you choose the path of sexual participation or restraint it should be done with reverence, love and respect.
Practicing celibacy is about expressing the highest form of love through a disciplined path that releases self from cravings and focuses on warmth, love, help, support and understanding. To experience sex through love and respect is considered the highest form of expression. People who have truly loved understand that touching another soul is the most profound experience on earth. That is because love is a force in which we bring forth another soul into the physical plane of joy. When we express our sexuality through love and giving we open the doorway to another soul. Love is a way of directing large amounts of energy out through your body, mind and soul into the body, mind and soul of another person. The energy you put forth is what you will receive in return.

The love you give is the love you get. Express your love with honor and dignity, be at peace without cravings and choose the path which creates the greatest good. 

Doctor Lynn

Posted on 04/01 at 09:40 AM

Monday, March 01, 2010


This month we’ll focus on the path of non-stealing. But before I get into this abstention I would like to recap last month’s path of Truthfulness. What I discovered this last month is that to live your truth is not as simple as black and white. It takes a lot of soul searching to reach inside and connects with your inner truth and then observe how it interplays with the rest of life. There are many truths. The only rules that apply to the truth are: first and foremost to do no harm, and then we apply the other principles which are to develop a deep understanding of your own truth or what is going on with you and then observe how that affects the world around you, and lastly to think, speak and act in a way that does the greatest good for the greatest many. When truth is approached from the yoga perspective it is not always simple to know what to do. Therefore it is important to practice yoga each day, mindful of the place within where we can sit quietly and reflect upon the truth and how best to think, speak and act so as to do the least amount of harm and the greatest good.

When we think of stealing we all conjure up an image of a thief. In yogi philosophy non-stealing means to not commit, cause or permit anyone to take what is not theirs in thought, word and action. And again with all abstinences they should be observed intellectually, verbally and physically.

Intellectual non-stealing is difficult because it implies that we should not even think about coveting that which belongs to another. It does not mean we cannot admire what a person has and then work to earn the same thing. It simply means that we should not think improperly about taking anything that belongs to another person. Many yogi texts tell us; that which you have not earned has not yet been presented to you. If something you desire has not come into your life, you simply have not earned it yet. When you earn it, you will experience great joy and happiness. However anything coming into your life which has not been earned will bring struggle, difficulty and perhaps unhappiness. Think of this in terms of love. If you have taken the time to develop yourself and establish inner balance then the love that comes into your life will bring happiness. But if you enter into a love situation without first establishing your inner love and respect for yourself the love you get may bring you unhappiness.

Verbal non-stealing is often over looked. It means you should not steal another person’s dignity, pride, happiness, moment of glory or mental values. It also means you should not hurt another person’s character in any way. Do no harm.

To take a physical object by theft, deceit or without permission is physical stealing. It is taking possession of something you have not earned or something that does not belong to you. If you want something, it must be earned. This brings balance and stability to the body-mind. We should understand that all things flow from life and that life is a process of putting forth energy. The energy we put forth will result in what comes back to us in the form of life’s gifts.

When we combine non-stealing with truthfulness and non-violence we begin to ascend to a higher order of being. A respect for us, others and the universe begins to take place. All three interconnect together to form a fabric of moral justice and a path that leads to compassion and understanding.

How does it apply to the physical practice of yoga? In yoga class we move in and out of poses observing what we have earned through regular practice of yoga and at the same time respecting what others have earned who may be further along the path. We learn to find quietude, balance and strength and from here we work to earn peace and serenity. Peace and serenity are life’s gifts but they must be earned.

Doctor Lynn

Posted on 03/01 at 05:32 AM

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