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10-MIN YOGA SESSION BASED AROUND DWI PADA PITHAM (Bridge pose)    (1) 

Dwi Pada Pitham Session 1
FIRST EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Lie on your back with your legs in a crooked position and your arms in a comfortable place (probably with your hands resting on your front or your arms by your sides). Place your feet close to your bottom, about hip-width apart. It is important, in the bridge pose that follows, for your knee's health that your feet are parallel and that your knees point upwards rather than inwards or outwards - if you are not sure, it is a good idea to ask a friend or relative to check for you. Close your eyes and let your awareness rest on your breathing - in particular, become aware of how your lower back moves with your breath. After a while, begin to slowly squeeze your abdomen in towards your spine on each exhalation, so that the lower spine elongates downwards and, on each inhalation, arch your back upwards. This is an exaggeration of the natural movements that occur with the breath. Slowly build up to fairly exaggerated (large) movements and then continue for 5 or so breaths. Then slowly decrease the upward curving of the lower back (on each inhalation) and increasingly emphasise the contraction of your abdomen with each exhalation. By the end of this, your lower spine will be flat against the floor and your pelvis may tilt a little off the floor with your exhalations. Continue this movement with your breath while passing seamlessly into the following movement.

SECOND EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Extend your awareness to include your feet. Now each time you exhale, push your feet into the floor. To begin with, release this downward pressing of your feet into the floor as you inhale. But, after a few breaths, aim to maintain the amount your feet press against the floor with the inhalation and to increase the amount your feet press against the floor with each exhalation. Continue like this for as long as feels appropriate to you (but not so far that your upper back starts to lift off the floor - if it should do so, maintain pressure from your feet while focusing on contracting your abdomen on each exhalation).  [The reason that I do not want you to take this movement so far as to significantly lift your upper back is that it would then be a rather strong backward bend and this ten minute session does not contain an appropriate component to balance this.]  Remember, you should NOT work into any pain or discomfort and that a slight quivering of muscles/limbs/body is a sign that you should release the posture. Release the posture when exhaling by slowly lowering your back down, vertebra by vertebra (from the neck downwards), until your bottom is resting on the floor again. Rest for a few moments in a comfortable position  - perhaps with your hands on your knees, after bringing these to your chest.

THIRD EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Lie on your back with your legs in a crooked position and your arms resting on the floor above your head. While exhaling, simultaneously lift your arms through the air to the floor beside your trunk and bring one knee to your chest. Inhaling, simultaneously lift your arms through the air to the floor above your head and straighten the leg you brought to your chest, up towards the ceiling. It is not important for your leg to straighten completely but it IS important that your foot is above your hip (or closer to your head than that). Exhaling, simultaneously return your arms through the air to the floor by your trunk and bend your straightened leg back to your chest. Inhaling, simultaneously lift your arms through the air to the floor above your head, and return your foot back to the floor. Continue these movements with your breath, alternating legs until you have done the sequence at least 3 times to each side. Your ankles should remain relaxed throughout. Aim to make your limb movements start and finish at he same time as you start and finish your inhalation/exhalation.

FOURTH EXERCISE OF SESSION (4 minutes)
Lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice. You could try imagining that you are lying in a healing stream. The bed of the stream is soft - allow yourself to sink a little into the bed trusting it to support you. The water is warm - see if you can feel/imagine the water flowing over and through you, so that it touches every part of you. After a while, notice that the stream water is not just warming and relaxing but also cleansing - see if you can feel/imagine the water gently dissolving and dislodging any impurities, tension, anxiety, waste products, pain/discomfort, etc and carrying them downstream. When the stream has thoroughly cleansed you, observe how you feel  - perhaps you are aware of spaces and openness.  Remember not to rush sitting up (and then standing) after practising relaxation as it causes one's blood pressure to lower, which can cause dizziness if one moves too quickly.