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Balasana Session 5 Image
N.B. Those with high blood pressure should avoid versions of child pose that take the head lower than level with the heart (as is the case in the middle exercise here).
Lie on your front with your chin tucked in so your forehead rests on your mat (or a folded bit of towel). Have your arms stretched out along the floor pointing away from your head. Inhaling, imagine an elongation starting in the middle of one side, and travelling on that side towards both the fingertips and the toe-tips. Exhaling, squeeze your abdomen in towards your spine and at the same time bend the knee on this side so the heel moves towards the buttock, and lift the arm of the same side. Inhaling, imagine an elongation travelling from mid trunk towards the finger tips of the lifted arm and the knee of the bent leg. Exhaling, lower the arm and at the same time unbend the knee, taking the foot back to the floor. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 2 to 3 more times to each side. Then transfer your hands to beside your shoulders and press down through your hands to lift into the all fours position.

From the all fours position, lower your hips backwards to your heels. Spread your arms wide to shoulder level and at the same time lower your head to the floor (or a folded bit of towel). Relax for a moment allowing your hips and chest to settle downwards a little more. Become aware of gentle movements of the spine between the shoulder blades feel the sinking of the spine as you exhale and a very slight rising as you inhale. Exhaling, lift the arms upwards from the floor, and feel this exaggerate the sinking of the spine between the shoulder-blades as the shoulder-blades come closer together and allow the chest to settle downwards. Inhaling, lower the arms downwards to the floor, feeling the breath entering the space below the spine (between the shoulder blades) as the spine rises slightly into the space between the shoulder-blades. Continue for several breaths and then pause, resting and letting the shoulders and arms feel as if they are sinking downwards. Then move your hands so that the forearms are on either side of your forehead and lift back into the all fours position.

Lie on your back with your legs together and stretched out along the floor; wrap your arms around your trunk in a hug. Have a sense of your legs being active, as if the soles of your feet are pressing against an imaginary wall so that your ankles form right-angles and there is a sense of length / elongation along the back of your legs. Inhaling, bend one knee and draw the heel of that leg along the floor towards your buttock and, at the same time, lift and open your arms and lower them to the floor at shoulder level. Exhaling, move the heel of the bent leg along the floor away from the hip and at the same time return your arms to hugging your chest (with the other arm on top). Repeat to the other side. Continue for several breaths, enjoying the gentle movement.

Lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method. You could try the following as a relaxation or breathing visualisation. Imagine a wheel any sort of wheel that appeals. Imagine that as you inhale the wheel slowly rotates in one direction and when you exhale the wheel rotates in the opposite direction. And, if you pause after either inhaling or exhaling, then there is a pause in the movement of the wheel. Let your attention rest on observing the wheel rotate in one direction and then the other direction and resting in the stillness of the wheel in the moments in which these occur. 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.