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Bhujangasana Session 3
Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest. Keep your knees as close to your chest as you can as you roll over onto your side. Stretch both arms and hands out in front of you at shoulder level so that one arm is on top of the other. The bottom hand stays where it is in this twist. The top hand and arm moves with the breath. As you exhale, move your top arm downwards past your hips and then back behind you until it is pointing in the opposite direction to your other arm. As you inhale, move your top hand downwards past your hip and then forwards to rest on top of the other arm. Repeat 2 to 4 times. Roll over onto your back and then repeat to the other side.
Roll on to your front with your forehead resting on the mat or a thinly folded towel. See if you can move your feet away from your shoulders. Make sure that your legs and feet are enough apart that you can press your pubis down into the floor. Take one hand onto your back and move the fingers down until your fingers are on the very end of your tail-bone – check that you can move this point downwards or upwards. Move your hands so that your wrists are roughly beside your shoulders but further apart than your shoulders. Your forearms should rest against the floor and your elbows should be tucked in close by your sides so that they point towards your feet. Spend a few moments feeling/imagining your body relaxing into the ground. Bring your attention back to the end of your tail-bone – as you exhale, angle this down and, while inhaling, angle it upwards. Continue this for a few breaths and then extend the exercise by keeping the tail-bone angled downwards the whole time – at this stage, imagine that inhalation lengthens the spine and try to angle the tailbone even further downwards when exhaling. Then, take the exercise a step further by trying to direct your inhalation so that it causes the bottom of the rib-cage to press downwards. To release, reverse the above sequence.
Move your hands to halfway between your waist and shoulders – so that your palms are firmly planted and your forearms are vertical. Curl your tail-bone under and press with your arms so that your trunk and upper legs pivot about your knees. Then flex your hips to bring your hips over your knees and your trunk parallel with the floor. Adjust to make sure that your spine is long. Check that your fingers are spread wide and your elbows point outwards. Then, as you exhale, slowly contract your abdomen in/up towards your spine. Continue increasing the abdominal contraction until you finish exhaling. Note that you should keep the spine stable so the spine does not flex as you do this. Then release the abdominal contraction before inhaling naturally. Again, keep the spine stable so the lower back does not sag. Continue this for at least 3 breaths.
Lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice. You could try imagining that there is, in the core of your being, the essence of you. And that this essence is already perfect, pure and of divine nature. While exhaling, imagine or feel that the out-breath starts from this essence and flows to your outermost parts. Feel qualities like calm, clarity and joy carried with the out-breath – so that all of you becomes suffused with these qualities. Continue this for several breaths. Then return to being aware of the pure, perfect essence of you and then return to being aware of your physical sensations, the weight of your body and breathing movements. 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.