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Bhadrasana Session 3
Lie on your back with your bottom resting against a wall and the soles of your feet (about hip-width apart) also resting against the wall – so that your knees are pointing away from the wall over your trunk. Place your hands on the opposite knees so that the heel of the hands is on the insides of the knees and fingers are wrapping over knee caps to point outwards. Exhaling, slowly attempt to squeeze the knees together against the resistance provided by your hands – the knees don’t actually move. Inhaling, slowly release the knee squeeze. Repeat 3 to 6 times gently.

Continue with your buttocks against the wall and rotate your legs so the knees point outwards and the soles of your feet come together. Place one hand on each knee (of the same side) – or, if your arms don’t reach, on the insides of your thighs. Very, very gently and gradually press your hands against your knees / legs – taking care not to push to a degree that remotely begins to cause discomfort. Hold for several breaths, enjoying the feel of your back resting on the ground. Release the hand press very, very gradually – muscles often get injured when stretches are released too quickly, even when the stretch was otherwise non-harming. Take your hands to the outside of your knees and use your hands to move the knees back to pointing away from the wall.

Move away from the wall and roll onto your side – you may wish to place a cushion or folded towel under your head. Have your knees bent so that they form right-angles both at the knees and the hip joints (and one leg is on top of the other leg). Place your lower hand on top of your knees – if this is difficult bring your knees higher. Bend the elbow of your top arm to bring the hand to the top shoulder with palm facing inwards. Inhaling, straighten the arm so that it points towards the feet. And then, while continuing to inhale, take the arm backwards and then swing the arm around until diagonally pointing away from the knees – if you wish, allow rotation in the neck so the head turns, but keep the rest of the spine from moving significantly so as to get the stretch in the chest muscles. Exhaling, swing the arm back to your side (your head also returning to facing forwards) and then flex the elbow to bring the hand back to the shoulder. Repeat 2 to 3 more times, very gently exploring and enjoying the arm movement. Roll on to your back and repeat to the other side.

Move into a comfortable position for practising a relaxation of your choice. You could try the following relaxation practice: During each inhalation and exhalation think the word “calm” – let the feelings that you associate with this word be what you notice as you think the word. Continue with this for several breaths – then pause for a couple of breaths, allowing absence of thought or words. Remember not to rush sitting up (and then standing) after practising relaxation as it causes one’s blood pressure to fall, which can cause dizziness if one moves too quickly.