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Arms of Gomukhasana Session 14
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. Lift your arms sideways to a little above shoulder level with palms facing downwards and then draw your shoulder-blades together and press your hands backwards until the little finger sides of your hands rest against the wall. 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. Rotate just your forearm (inwards) to bring the palms of your hands against the wall. Press the joint where your forefinger joins your hand into the wall, and keep it pressed against the wall as you roll your shoulders backwards and draw your shoulder-blades down as much as you can. Hold for a couple of breaths. Gently release and allow arms to relax back to your sides. Repeat about 5 times – each time lifting arms to a lower level.
Move to sit with back about a couple of centimetres from the wall, 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 the 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 helps to slightly twist the 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. While holding the position, each time you exhale, slowly squeeze your abdomen in towards your spine as much as you can. Inhaling, try to maintain as much of the abdominal tone as you can as you mentally direct the inhalation up the front side of your trunk as trying to fill space just in front of the shoulder joints. And, at the same time, aim to roll the shoulders backwards more so they press into the wall more and the shoulder–blades move downwards . Release by leaning the trunk forwards and slowly letting the arm 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.
Move your arms into a loose curve so one hand rests in the other (palms upwards) just in front of your abdomen. Inhaling, rotate one arm about the axis of the upper arm, to bring the thumb side of the hand to the wall and, at the same time, turn the head to face that side. Exhaling, lift the arm in the loose curve until the head or forearm is above the head – thumb side of hand rests against wall throughout. Inhaling, lower arm side-ways. Exhaling, rotate the arm about the axis of the upper arm to bring hand to the other hand and return head to facing forwards. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 2 to 3 more times to each side.
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 thinking the words “breathing in, I receive wealth” while inhaling and “breathing out, I give wealth” while exhaling. 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.