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10-Min Yoga Session Based around Prasarita Padottanasana    ( 8 ) 
Padottanasana Session 8 Image
Stand facing a wall a little under an arm length from the wall (i.e. you can have hands placed on the wall so arms are a little bent). Move feet to a wide-footed position with feet parallel. Press down through pads of your big toe joints and outside edges of your feet – maintaining this, bend knees a little and draw tail bone downwards until your lower back is flat (you may wish to use hands to check this). Place hands on wall at shoulder level, fingers pointing upwards. As you start to inhale, tilt your pelvic girdle forwards, moving tailbone and hips backwards. Continuing to inhale and keeping your pelvic girdle tilted forwards, bend knees until thighs are parallel to the floor (or as far as feels comfortable if less far). As you start to exhale and, keeping your hips this low, draw tail bone downwards as much as you can. Then, continuing to exhale, press feet down, so legs straighten until shoulders are level with hands. Throughout, it is important to keep the pads of your big toes and the outside edges of your feet pressed down. Repeat 2 to 7 more times – stamina will of course increase with practice.
Stand sideways to a wall so a shoulder just rests against it. Take a large step forwards with the outside leg so the back heel lifts a little off the floor. Bend front knee until over ankle. Tilt pelvic girdle forwards, taking trunk and head as low as they’ll go. Place hands on the inside of leading leg and lift sole of the front foot (heel stays on floor). Swivel on the pads of toe joints (back leg) and heel (leading leg) to bring feet and pelvic girdle to point at the wall at the same time as the back of the shoulders against the wall. Hook your hands from the inside of legs round to the back of the heels. With both knees equally bent, explore the possibility of sliding your back down the wall. As your trunk lowers, the contact area will move from back of shoulders to back of chest and perhaps further towards back of pelvic girdle. If your head reaches the floor, tuck chin in so the back of the head rests on floor. Lean your back against the wall and slowly press heels down with a feeling of trying to move the back of pelvic girdle closer to the wall. Pause in this position for a breath or two. Bend knees and, pulling with arms at ankles, aim to slide your back lower down the wall and your head further backwards (towards the centre of your feet – or further back than this). Keeping the pull of the arms, lean firmly against the wall and slowly straighten the legs by pressing heels down. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths. To release, lean a little backwards so no longer in contact with wall and gently release pull of arms. Lift trunk, perhaps with aid of pushing with hands, until back of shoulders touches wall and head is off the floor. Then walk hands round to the leading leg. Lift the heel of the back leg and the sole of the leading leg and swivel on your feet to bring feet, legs and trunk back to facing forwards as per your starting position. Bend front knee, lift trunk to horizontal and pause; then lift to upright and pause. Step the forward leg backwards. Repeat facing the other way (relative to the wall).
Lie in supine, legs straight and along the floor, a roll of towel under bottom corners of your shoulder blades so it is perpendicular to your spine. Start with arms by your side, palms face down and tops of feet drawn towards the shins. Inhaling, lift arms through the air to the floor over head and, at the same time, draw soles of feet towards the floor. Exhaling, lift your arms through the air and return to sides at the same time as drawing tops of feet towards shins. Repeat 3 to 6 more times. Remove towel roll from under back and pause for a couple of breaths with hands on breast bone and then abdomen.
Move into a comfortable position for practising a relaxation of your choice. You could try the following relaxation practice: Let your awareness rest in the contact area between the floor and your feet for a few breaths. Then in turn, for a few breaths each, in the contact area between the floor and: the back of the pelvic girdle, the back of the shoulders/upper back, the arms, the hands, the back of the head and then all the contact areas of your body with the floor. Rest with a feeling of being settled on and supported by the Earth. 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.