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Arms of Gomukhasana Session 12
Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position with your back about a half a foot from a wall – the further you are from the wall, the harder this exercise. Use supports (e.g. yoga blocks or folded towels) under your pelvic girdle if that increases easefullness. Inhaling, lift your arms sideways to shoulder level, palms facing downwards. Exhaling, draw your shoulder-blades together and press your hands backwards until the little finger sides of your hands rest against the wall. Inhaling, roll your shoulders backwards, drawing your shoulder-blades downwards as you rotate your arms as a whole to bring the backs of your hands against the wall. Exhaling and keeping the backs of hands against wall, slowly draw your hands downwards – to as far as feels comfortable. Inhaling, lift the arms back to shoulder level and, exhaling, return your arms to your side. Repeat 2 to 4 more times.

Move to sit with your back about a couple of centimetres from the wall, with legs crossed over the other way. Lift one arm to shoulder level so the little finger side of hand rests against the wall. Rolling the shoulder backwards, rotate the arm as a whole so the shoulder-blade moves downwards and the back of the hand rests against the wall. Maintaining the position of the upper arm, rotate the forearm (relative to the upper arm) so the palm ends up facing and against the wall. Bending the elbow as appropriate, slide hands against the wall downward to behind your back and then up to behind your upper back. Near the end of this movement use your other hand to aid you moving the arm so the hand ends up between your shoulder-blades and your elbow is as inwards towards your spine as it will go. Roll the shoulder backwards until the shoulder-blade is flat against the wall. You might find it help to slightly twist to trunk to this side to enable you to get the shoulder-blade flat against the wall. Then roll the other shoulder backwards to get the other shoulder-blade flat against the wall – arm on this side relaxed beside your trunk. Allow your head to rest against the wall and the back of your neck to lengthen. Imagine your tail-bone sinking into the floor so your lower back flattens and abdomen surface moves closer to your spine. Hold for a couple of breaths. Release by leaning the trunk forwards and slowly allowing the arm to relax from behind your back. Cross your legs over the other way and repeat to the other side. Cross your legs over the other way.

Lift your arms sideways to shoulder level and rotate your arms so palms face forwards. Exhaling, wrap arms around your shoulders in a hug. Continuing to exhale, lower your chin and curl your trunk forwards. Inhaling, uncurl and then open your arms wide out at shoulder level. Repeat, with arms wrapping round shoulders the other way. Repeat 2 or 4 more times. Lower arms and pause.

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 sitting with hands resting in lap – one hand on top of the other. And imagine that in your hands there is a bowl of water – water that represents the things that nurture you and your life. And then mentally list these things – and when you come to the end of the things you can think of as nurturing you and your life, start again with the list. 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.