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Ardha Utkatasana Session 1 Image
Stand in Tadasana facing a wall at arm’s length. Place hands on wall at shoulder level about shoulder-width apart, fingers pointing upwards. Lift one foot and replace on the floor about a step backwards – feet still parallel and shoulder-width apart side ways. Keeping the back heel on the ground, bend both knees forwards and downwards until you feel a stretch in the calf muscles of the back leg. Inhaling, swing sideways the arm of the same side as the back leg to pointing sideways. Exhaling & allowing a rotation about the spine, swing the arm around to behind you (or even further), and look along the arm. Inhaling, unwind the spine and return the arm to pointing sideways. Exhaling, swing the arm forwards, returning the hand to the wall (and, if necessary, your head to facing forwards). Repeat 2 to 4 more times on this side. Return to Tadasana and then repeat to the other side – that is with the other leg stepped backwards.
Take hold of a towel – choose a thickness that is comfortable to grasp firmly. Hold the towel so that there is about one and half hip-widths’ length of towel between your hands. Stand with back against a wall – that is backs of heels, bottom, upper back & shoulders and head all against the wall. Check your feet are parallel and hip-width apart – then recheck keys area like back of head are against the wall. Bend knees just a little and draw tail-bone towards the floor so that your lower back flattens against the wall. Lift your arms forwards to shoulder-level – hands facing downwards. Keeping your arms up at shoulder level, draw your elbows/forearms sideways and draw your shoulder blades towards each other. If you have got the hands a good distance apart on the towel, you will be able to draw the elbows backwards to be against the wall but with a feeling of having to work hard to achieve this against the resistance supplied by the towel. Hold this arm position as you slowly bend your knees down and forwards, taking care to keep your back and back of head against the wall. When you reach the point where it is not possible to bend your knees, press down through your feet, just to the point where, if you press downwards any more firmly, your legs will straighten. Hold for about 5 breaths. Release by pressing down with your feet so your legs straighten and then relax and lower your arms.
Lie on your back, legs straight and parallel along the floor. Wrap arms around shoulders. Inhaling, draw elbows sideways until they rest on the floor, then draw wrists sideways until their backs rest on the floor; then draw your fingers sideways until your fingers rest on the floor. At the same time, point toes away from your head as much as you can. Exhaling, reverse hand and arm movements and, at the same time, draw your toes towards your head as much as you can. Repeat several times and then rest with legs relaxed for a couple of breaths.
Either, lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice, or, stand or sit for some breathing or meditation. You could try the following : let your awareness rest on your big toes for a little while, then on the next toe, then on the next, until you reach the little toes: then return to the big toe and so on. Finish with your awareness resting on your feet as a whole, then on your body as a whole. Remember not to rush sitting up and standing after practising relaxation as it causes the blood pressure to fall, which can cause dizziness if one moves too quickly.