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10-MIN YOGA SESSION BASED AROUND EGYPTIAN POSE    (5) 

Egyptian Pose Session 5
FIRST EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Sit on a firm chair with your spine vertical and elongated. Ideally sit with your knees and hips forming right angles – you may need to place something (e.g. block, books or cushion) under either your hips or your feet to achieve this. Sit with your back close to the back of the chair but avoid resting against the back of the chair. Your feet should be about hip-width apart and parallel to each other with ankles under knees. Place one hand on your abdomen and one hand on your lower back – this is not essential, but will give you better feedback on the effects of the leg movements. Exhaling and keeping the shape of your lower back stable, lift one knee as high as comfortable (the shin should stay roughly vertical) – you might find it helps to consciously press down through the foot of the other leg. Inhaling, lower the foot back to the floor. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 3 to 6 more times to each side with the breath.

SECOND EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Remaining sitting, swing both knees sideways as far as feels comfortable and place your feet so that they point in the same direction as your knees (or upper legs). Consciously press the pads of the big toe joints downwards – maintain this while consciously pressing the outside edge of the feet as firmly downwards as you can. Maintain this pressing down of the feet throughout what follows. Take your hands to the sides of the back to the chair – palms facing inwards (towards each other) and fingers curled round the back of the chair. Keeping the spine long, lean the trunk forwards and at the same time allow the hands to move up the sides of the back of the chair until your hands have reached the top and you are leaning forwards as much as the length of your arms will allow. Relax the weight of your trunk forwards so the arms take this weight and the chest moves forwards relative to your shoulders. Bring your awareness to the space between the shoulder-blades – imagine there is a small balloon there (just below the spine) that gently expands when you inhale, pushing your shoulder blades apart and lifting backwards the spine, and that shrinks when you exhale, allowing the spine to sink forwards and the shoulder-blades to move closer together. Observe and enjoy this gentle movement with the breath – with a feeling of relaxing and passively allowing the breath and movements to occur. After 3 to 6 breaths, bring your awareness to your feet and consciously press down through your feet to help you lift the trunk back up to vertical and swing your legs back parallel with knees and feet pointing forwards.

THIRD EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Continue sitting and place the back of your hands on your back. Run your hands up and down your back to check that your spine is essentially straight – adjust the latter if necessary. Lift one knee and use your hands to help you rest the ankle of the lifted leg on top of the other leg near the knee – allow the knee of the lifted leg to relax downwards to that it ends up pointing sideways. Place the hand of the same side as the lifted leg on the lower front ribs (same side) and the other hand on the shoulder of same side as the lifted leg. Turn your head to look over the shoulder with a hand on it. Inhaling, straighten the top arm forwards at shoulder level and swing it to point out sideways (so arm and shoulders form a straight line) and rotate the head at the same time so that you end up facing the side of the straight arm. Exhaling and keeping the head, shoulders and arms as one unit, rotate about the axis of the spine so that the straight arm and face end up pointing a little backwards. Inhaling, rotate about the axis of the spine to bring the shoulders back to facing forwards, and the straight arm and face pointing sideways. Exhaling, swing the straight arm forwards and then return the hand to the shoulder – at the same time turn the head so that it ends up facing the side of the lifted leg. Repeat 2 or 3 more times with the breath. Then lower the hands and use them to help you lift the knee and lower the leg, returning the foot to the floor. Repeat to the other side.

FOURTH EXERCISE OF SESSION (4 minutes)
Either lie down for relaxation or stay sitting for a breathing or visualisation or meditation practice. If staying sitting, check you are in a comfortable sitting position with your spine vertical and elongated. Let your hands rest in your lap or on your legs. If comfortable doing so, allow your eyes to close. You could try the following practice : bring your awareness to your feet and the feeling that they are resting on the Earth, and the Earth as having a huge capacity to receive things like “waste products” and transform them into thing useful to other living beings. Imagine waste products and things currently part of you that are no longer useful to you sinking down through your being, down through your feet into the Earth to be transformed into things useful and available to others. Then let go of having particular thoughts and thank the Earth. Observe how you feel for a few moments. Then, keeping your eyes closed, direct your awareness to what you are going to do next and your surroundings. When you are ready, open your eyes.