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BOW POSE Session 8 Image
Lie on your back with a folded towel or two under your sacrum – the more mobile you are in your hips with regard to extension, the higher the pile of towels can be (see guidance for next exercise). Place the folded towels so they are mostly under the lower (closer to your feet) half of your sacrum; then bring both knees to your chest. Loop a towel around one foot and, keeping the knee fully bent, draw as close to your chest as you can. Work your hands up the towel as close to your feet as possible whilst keeping shoulders and head relaxed against the floor. Take the foot of the other leg to the floor and then straighten it along the floor. Inhaling, straighten the leg close to the chest to as straight and close to the chest as is comfortable. Exhaling and bending elbows, curl trunk, taking head as close to the foot as you can. Inhaling, maintain at least some of the bend in the elbows & uncurl trunk, returning head and shoulders to the floor. Exhaling, bend the knee as close into your chest as you can and then pull on the towel to draw the knee a little closer. Repeat 2 to 4 more times. Then bring both knees to the chest and repeat to the other side.
Lie on your front, with thighs resting on a folded towel or two. With knees bent so your heels are close to your buttocks, you want the height of the towels to be low enough that, with knees hip-width apart, you are still able to get your pubis to rest and press against your mat. If you wish, have a thinly folded towel to rest either your chin or forehead on. Loop a towel around your ankles and then work your hands up the towel as close to your feet as is possible, whilst keeping your head on the mat or folded towel. Settle your hips and pubis downwards. Bring knees together – in this exercise we are aiming to keep knees together and thighs remaining on towel support. Spend a couple of breaths relaxing your trunk as fully as you are able. Exhaling and keeping your trunk as relaxed as you can, contract your quadriceps (front thigh muscles) so your feet move away from your buttocks. As you do this, allow your trunk to be pulled into a backbend, adjusting your head position so the neck curve is a natural continuation of the upper back curve. Hold this position for about 5 breaths with awareness resting in the mid-back area. Then gently relax the quadriceps so heels return to buttocks and head returns to the mat or folded towel.
Lie on your back and bring knees to chest. (The skinny or boney may find comfort is greatly increased by having a folded blanket or layers of towelling under their back and head for this exercise). Interlock your fingers the two different ways – and then interlock your fingers the way that feels least natural. Place your interlocked fingers on your knees and curl your head and trunk as tight up to your knees as you can. Inhaling, do the following movements at the same time:- straighten arms upwards, reversing the direction of palms to be now away from body and then lower to the floor over head; uncurl head and trunk back to the floor; and straighten legs upwards (prioritising keeping weight of legs over trunk over the full straightening of the legs). Exhaling, reverse the movements of the inhalation. Repeat 3 to 5 more times before uncurling and settle for relaxation.
Lie down comfortably and practise a relaxation method of your choice. You could try thinking the word “assurance” with each exhalation &, while inhaling, thinking about the qualities in yourself that would work together to give a feeling of assurance in the things you do. Then, for a couple of breaths, let your awareness rest in the sensations of breathing in the upper abdomen. Remember not to rush sitting up (then standing) after practising relaxation as it causes blood pressure to fall, which can cause dizziness if one moves too quickly.