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Egyptian Pose Session 6
Sit on the front of a firm chair with your spine vertical and elongated. Keeping your spine long and essentially straight, lean your trunk backwards a little, and move your arms backwards to take hold of the back of the chair near to its seat – with your arms comfortably straight. During the first half of your exhalation, squeeze your abdomen in towards your spine and then, continuing your exhalation, lift your knees towards your chest. Inhaling, slowly lower your feet back to the floor. During this movement, aim to keep the trunk still and long. Repeat for 3 to 5 breaths.
Move to the side of the chair so that just one buttock is on the chair. Place the leg of the unsupported side so that the thigh and knee point downwards and the top of the foot rests on the floor – the closer the thigh is to vertical the better. Place the leg of the supported side to that the hip, knee and ankle joint each form right angles, just as is normal for sitting on a chair. You may find it helpful to rest the hand of the unsupported side on a table or wall to aid balance. Press the top of the foot of the unsupported side down into the floor – and feel this encourage stretching in the front of the thigh and hip. Keep the top of the foot pressing downwards and imagine you can encourage your tailbone to move closer to the earth (increasing the stretch in the front of the hip) – hold for about five breaths. Then gently release the pressing down of the foot and return to sitting normally on the chair. Repeat to the other side. (Hint: You may find it more comfortable to have some padding, such a folded towel, between the top of the foot and the floor.)
Sit on the 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. Place one hand in the other hand, palms facing upwards, and bring your hands to just in front of the uppermost part of your abdomen (or lowest part of your breastbone). Consciously point your elbows and shoulders sideways to encourage your chest to be free and open. Inhaling, imagine an elongation travelling from the base of your trunk to the crown of head. Exhaling, imagine there are diagonal muscle fibres going from the base of one side of the ribcage to the hip on the opposite side and imagine these fibres contracting – and so cause your trunk to move into a twist. Inhaling again, imagine an elongation travelling from the base of your trunk to the crown of your head. Exhaling, allow the trunk to relax so that you return to facing forwards. Repeat to the other side. Repeat once more to each side. Then change which hand is on top and repeat 2 more times to each side.
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 : Whatever is going on around you, gently bring your awareness to rest on the sound of your breathing. If you are distracted or your attention drifts, quietly remind yourself that you are listening to the sound of your breath. Allow yourself to breathe as happens naturally, but ideally the sound of the in-breath should be smooth, continuously the same pitch and loudness from its’ beginning to its’ end: likewise the out-breath (which will probably be different from the in-breath with respect to these qualities). See if you can observe where the sound of your breath occurs in your nose/mouth/throat – perhaps you can feel the vibration of the sound in these areas. In the natural pauses (do NOT try to extend them) between inhaling and exhaling, observe and enjoy the silence and stillness inside you. When you feel it is time to stop this exercise, let your awareness drift away from the sound of your breathing. 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.