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10-MIN YOGA SESSION BASED AROUND DWI PADA PITHAM (Bridge pose)    (3) 

Dwi Pada Pitham Session 3
FIRST EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Lie on your back with your legs in the crooked position with your feet about hip-width apart. Put your arms in a comfortable place (probably with your hands resting on your front or with your arms by your side). Imagine that there is a clock under your pelvic girdle. Imagine 12 o'clock at the end of your tailbone; 6 o'clock is under the base of your spine, 9 o' clock is under your left hip and 3 o'clock is under your right hip. Slowly, while tuning into the feeling of your lower back, pelvis and hip joints, alternate between pressing on the 12 o'clock and the 6 o'clock. Then press down on the 6 o'clock and pause - from here start to alternate between pressing down on the 9 o'clock and the 3 o'clock going past the 6 o'clock along the way. Then press down going round the ring of the clock first going one way (e.g. 9 o'clock to 12 o'clock to 3 o'clock to 6 o'clock to 9 ) and then go round the rim of the clock in the other direction. Relax, allowing your weight to sink down into the floor, and experience the sensations in your hips and pelvis and lower back.

SECOND EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Place your feet close to your bottom, with your knees and feet together. It is important to keep your knees together throughout this exercise - it can be helpful to place a piece of paper between your knees to check this - or you can imagine that you are gripping a £50 note between your knees. 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, allow your back to curve upwards.  Then slowly decrease the upward curving of the lower back (on each inhalation) and increasingly emphasise the contraction of your abdomen with each exhalation. Eventually, your lower spine will be flat against the floor and your pelvis may tilt a little off the floor with your exhalations.  Extend your awareness to include your feet. Now, each time you exhale, push/sink 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 ar 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 such a backward bend.]  Remember that you should NOT work into any pain or discomfort and that a slight quivering of muscles, limbs or 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 by your sides. While exhaling, bring one knee to your chest.  Inhaling, straighten the leg you brought to your chest up towards the ceiling and then, exhaling, bring your knees back to your chest - repeat this simple leg bending and straightening movement with your breath 4 times. 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).  Inhaling, return the foot of your bent leg back to the floor. Repeat with your other leg. Your ankles should remain relaxed throughout. Aim to make your limb movements start and finish at the same time as you start and finish your inhalation/exhalation.

FOURTH EXERCISE OF SESSION (4 minutes)
Lie down comfortably and practise a relaxation method of your choice.  Perhaps try imagining that you are lying on rugs in a beautiful and peaceful garden - one that you have visited or one created from your imagination. Try to imagine the experience in as much detail as you can - for example, what are the smells (flowers?, herbs?) and sounds (wind in trees?, birds?) of the garden.  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.