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10-Min Yoga Session Based around Prasarita Padottanasana    ( 6 ) 
Padottanasana Session 6 Image
FIRST EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Stand with feet wide and parallel with back to a wall so heels are no more than a foot length from the wall. Activate legs as follows: Consciously press the pads of big toe joints down into the ground as firmly as you can. Keeping them pressed down, also press down through outside edges of feet. Bend knees, then sink heels (and pads of big toe joints and outside edges of feet) until legs are straight. Then without actually moving feet, draw them in towards each other against the resistance of the floor/mat. Pause in this position and feel your legs as strong and active; let your chest lift and expand. Start with arms in a loose curve so one hand rests in the other (palms upwards) just in front of your abdomen. Inhaling and maintaining the loose curve of the arm, lift one arm forwards, then backwards to bring the thumb to rest against the wall behind your head. Exhaling, lower and straighten arm sideways to shoulder level. Inhaling, rotate just the forearm to bring the back of the hand against the wall and, at the same time, encourage an expansion of that side of the rib-cage (especially near the shoulder-joint). Exhaling and keeping the back of the hand against the wall, draw arm downwards, as close to your spine as feels comfortable – at the same time, consciously squeeze the abdomen inwards. Inhaling, and keeping the back of the hand against the wall and the tone in the abdomen, swing arm up to vertical. Exhaling and keeping the tone in abdomen, bend sideways away from the side of the lifted arm and bend the arm in a loose curve over your head. Inhaling and keeping tone in the abdomen, lift trunk back to centre. Exhaling, lower arm forwards to bring the hand back to the other hand. Repeat the process of activating the legs. Repeat to the other side. Repeat once or twice to each side.
SECOND EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Stand with feet wide and parallel facing a windowsill (or heavy table) so the windowsill edge is about an arm length in front of you. Bend knees and activate legs (see above) without straightening them. Place hands on lower back, palms facing away from your back, little finger of one hand touching the thumb of the other hand. Keeping your spine in this long shape, flex forwards at the hips until your forehead is roughly level with the windowsill. Swing arms in the same plane as your trunk to place on the windowsill so they are wide of the shoulders, elbows bent so forearms are parallel with each other. Check the elbow and head position (in height) is such that the arms and neck are in the same plane as the trunk. Spread your fingers wide. Press pads of forefingers down and, keeping them down, rotate the whole of the arms to press the outside edges of hands down and feel the effect of this in the upper back. Try to tilt pelvic girdle forwards so tailbone lifts up. Press hands as a whole down and, maintaining the shape of the arms, draw the hips backwards with a slight increase in the pressing down of heels. Imagine there is a balloon under the thoracic spine – which inflates as you inhale (slightly lifting the thoracic spine) and deflates as you exhale (allowing thoracic spine to sink). Hold for about 5 breaths – feeling the perhaps subtle sinking of the thoracic spine with each exhalation. Exit the position by swinging arms to bring hands back to lower back and then, lifting trunk to upright, take care to keep spine long. Step feet together.
THIRD EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Lie on your back and bring knees to chest. Move heels upwards so the legs' weight is over your trunk, keeping knees a little bent. Wrap arms around shoulders in a hug. Exhaling, bring knees to chest. Inhaling, swing one arm up and sideways to the floor (palm facing up) and turn head to look along arm. Exhaling, move knees to the other side to that of the straight arm and rotate the straight arm as a whole so the little finger side of hand lifts (palm facing same direction as crown of head). Inhaling, bring knees back to centre and un-rotate arm (palm returns to facing up). Exhaling, return arm to wrapped around shoulder. Inhaling, move heels up to starting position. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 2 to 4 more times to each side.
FOURTH EXERCISE OF SESSION (4 minutes)
Move into a comfortable position for practising a relaxation of your choice. Perhaps: Bring your awareness to your abdomen and observe movement sensations that occur with the breath. Remember not to rush sitting up after practising relaxation as it causes one’s blood pressure to fall, which can cause dizziness if one moves too quickly.