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10-Min Yoga Session Based around Prasarita Padottanasana    ( 9 ) 

Padottanasana Session 9 Image
Stand with feet as wide as is comfortable. It is fine if they point sideways but do make sure your knees point and bend in the same direction as your feet in the exercise that follows. Activate legs as follows: Consciously press the pads of your big toe joints down into the ground as firmly as you can. Keeping pads pressing down, add in pressing down through the outside edges of your feet. Bend knees, and then sink heels (and pads of big toe joints, and outside edges of feet) until your legs are straight. Then, without actually moving your feet, draw them in towards each other against the resistance supplied by the floor/mat. Pause in this position and feel your legs as strong and active, and let your chest lift and expand. Start with your arms relaxed by your side (palms facing down). Inhaling, lift arms sideways to shoulder level. Exhaling, bend your elbows to bring forearms to pointing forwards and parallel to each other and, at the same time, bend knees lowering hips a little. Inhaling, rotate arms about their upper axis to bring forearms to pointing upwards. Exhaling, draw your tailbone down and your abdomen inwards. Inhaling, lift your elbows upwards so your arms straighten as much as is comfortable. Rotate palms to face sideways and then, exhaling, lower arms to your side at the same time as pressing feet down so legs straighten and squeeze the abdomen inwards. Repeat 2 to 4 more times.

Stand with feet parallel and as wide as comfortable. Bend knees and lengthen spine. Place hands on lower back, palms facing away from back, little finger of one hand touching the thumb of the other hand. Have a conscious sense of pointing elbows and shoulders sideways. Keeping your spine in this long shape, flex forwards at hips; then relax trunk and neck downwards. Take arms between legs and place the backs of hands as far backwards as you can. If your head reaches the floor, tuck your chin in so the back of the head rests on the floor. Press pads of big toe joints downwards and also press the outside edges of feet downwards. See if you can walk hands further behind you – if relevant, lift head by drawing chin to chest to facilitate this. Spread hands wide and then press the back of the little finger joint down; maintain this and add in pressing the back of the forefinger joints downwards. Sink the heels with a sense of aiming to move the tailbone up so the legs straighten. Hold for several breaths. Bend knees and return hands to lower back. Lift trunk to horizontal and, if necessary, adjust to achieve long back position. Pause and then lift trunk to upright, taking care to keep spine long. Step feet together.

Lie in semi supine, knees and feet a little wide of your hips. Move your arms to resting on the floor at shoulder level, palms facing up. Bend elbows to bring palms to the front of your shoulders –elbows still resting on the floor. From this starting position: Inhaling, unbend one elbow so whole arm rests on floor at shoulder level and turn head to looking along this arm. Exhaling, lower knees to the other side. Inhaling, rotate the straight arm as a whole so the little finger side of hand lifts (palm facing same direction as crown of head). Exhaling, un-rotate arm so palm returns to facing up. Inhaling, return head to facing up at the same time as bending elbow to bring palm to front of shoulder. Exhaling, lift knees back to centre. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 2 or 3 more times to each side.

Move into a comfortable position for practising a relaxation of your choice. You could try the following relaxation practice: Imagine you are resting inside a square with red flowers at each corner – take your awareness to each flower, in turn observing its scent, its different shades of red, its form such as number and shape of petals. 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.