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Navasana Session 4
Kneel in the upright kneeling position - knees and feet about hip-width apart, upper legs and trunk in a vertical line. Move one leg forward so the foot rests on the floor with the leg straight or nearly so. Check your pelvic girdle is still level. Press the back foot downwards, then engage leg muscles as though trying to draw the front foot backwards (against the resistance supplied by the floor) – and allow the front knee to slowly bend as the hip gradually moves forwards until front knee is over front ankle. Allow arms to be relaxed by your side, palms facing hips. Move shoulders towards your ears, then backwards, then down. Inhaling, swing arms sideways to in-line with shoulders. Exhaling, make fists with hands, thumbs on the outside. Inhaling, move fists away; exhaling, draw shoulder blades towards each other; inhaling, move fists away from each other; exhaling, draw fists towards each other. Inhaling & keeping shoulder blades drawn toward each other, open the hands and move hands and fingers to point towards your head. Exhaling & maintaining the squeezing together of shoulder-blades (it’s ok for head to lift off the floor at this stage), draw arms down to beside your trunk, and, inhaling, bring palms to face your hips/legs. Hold for a few more breaths then relax arms and shoulders. Then gently relax legs and move hips backwards until the front leg is straight; then return the forward leg to beside the other leg. Repeat to the other side.
Sit with legs in front. Have legs bent so the soles of your feet are on the floor and knees point upwards. Place the main part of your hands on the outside edges of your knees so fingers curl round the front of the knees and point towards each other – use hands & arms as appropriate to encourage your spine to be long and vertical. Maintaining the spine's shape and the current angle between thighs and trunk, step your feet towards your trunk by about half a foot length until you are balanced on your buttocks with feet just off the floor. The trunk is now tilted backwards relative to the vertical. Re-establish the sense of the chest being open and lifted forwards – if needed, gently draw hands against unmoving knees to aid this and then allow pressure between hands and knees to soften whilst keeping chest open. Remind yourself of the length between the tailbone and the crown of your head and broadness between your shoulders. Maintaining balance and straightness and length of the spine, straighten one leg forwards aiming to keep the thigh close to the chest. Inhaling, swing the arm of the straight leg side to being loosely curved over head, and continue to inhale as you straighten the arm to pointing away from the hip. Exhaling, lower the arm sideways and then swing round to the starting position. Repeat the arm movement two more times. Bend the knee, and then move the feet forwards returning the trunk to vertical. Repeat to the other side.
Return to the starting sitting position, move your feet to a little wide of hip-width and re-establish the sense of length between your tail bone and the crown of your head and between your shoulders. Rest hands on the front of knees with fingers pointing inwards. Inhaling, straighten one arm forwards and then lift until pointing upwards. Exhaling, move the elbow backwards and down to same level as shoulders in such a way that the shoulders rotate about the spinal axis and the forearm and hand remain pointing upwards, and, at the same time, turn the head to look backwards. Inhaling, lift and straighten the arm so that it points upwards over the shoulder. Exhaling, lower the arm forwards to shoulder level and then return the hand to your knee. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 2 to 4 more times to each side.
Either lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice, or sit for some breathing or meditation. You could try letting your awareness rest on sensations of the abdomen sinking, (apparently relaxing) inwards with each exhalation. Remember not to rush sitting up and standing after practising relaxation as it causes the blood pressure to fall, which can cause dizziness if one moves too quickly.