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Arms of Gomukhasana Session 11
Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position with your back about a couple of centimetres from a wall. Use supports (e.g. yoga blocks or folded towels) under your pelvic girdle if that increases easefullness. Lift your arms sideways to shoulder level and place backs of hands against wall. Lift the arms higher and bend your elbows at the same time, keeping the backs of your hands against the wall. Continue the movement until hands are behind your shoulder girdle with forearms crossing behind your head. Hold for several breaths whilst, on each inhale, drawing elbows a little higher and closer together and, on each exhale, allow the elbows to move out slightly sideways as you press them backwards against the wall. Lower your arms and cross your legs over the other way.

Continuing to sit with back about a couple of centimetres from the wall, lift one arm sideways to shoulder (palms currently facing floor) with the little finger side of hand against wall. Slightly bending the arm, rotate it as a whole so that back of the hand is taken to the wall and, at the same time, draw the shoulder-blade down towards the floor. Keeping the back of the hand against the wall, bend and lift the arm until the forearm is parallel to the floor and over your shoulders. Press the elbow backward against the wall. Bring the other hand up to the elbow and use to gently encourage the elbow to be close to its opposite side. Allow the forearm to lower so your hand ends up behind your back between your shoulder blades. Press your head backward into your arm, and press the elbow backward to the wall. Hold for about 5 breaths. Slowly release by reversing movements of entering the pose. Cross your legs over the other way and repeat to the other side. Cross your legs over the other way.

Continuing to sit with back about a couple of centimetres from the wall, lift your arms to shoulder level and place backs of hands against wall. Bend your elbows to bring your palms (facing your trunk) to just below your collar-bones. Inhaling, straighten your arms at shoulder level taking backs of hands to the wall. At the same time, turn your head to face one side. Exhaling, bend elbows bringing hands back to just below collar-bones and return head to facing forwards. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 2 to 4 more times to each side. Move your hands to being over your breast bone and then slowly slide them down your front to your lower abdomen – pause for a couple of breaths in this position.

Either sit to practise a breathing or meditation exercise or lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice. You could try the following: Consider your arms and hands as a means to giving expression and form to the feelings and desires of your emotional heart. Consider one person you care about – and the sort of feelings you have regarding this person. For each feeling you observe in yourself for this person, imagine a hand/arm gesture that you can make that gives expression to that feeling. Finish with remembering / feeling your over-all feeling of care and love for this person. 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.