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10-MIN YOGA SESSION BASED AROUND PASCHIMOTTANASANA (Seated Forward Bend)    (2) 

Paschimottanasana Session 2
FIRST EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Place a couple of folded towels or yoga blocks on the floor and sit on them with knees in the crooked position –soles of feet on the floor, knees pointing upwards. Place your hands on the front of one knee so the covering hand is from the opposite side to the knee. Straighten the other leg by pushing the heel away from your buttocks along the floor until the thigh is parallel to the floor (i.e. knee still a little bent). Draw the foot up to vertical so it is in a parallel plane to your trunk and press the heel downwards into the floor. Pull the hands towards you against the resistance supplied by the knee – use this to help you broaden your shoulders and open your chest. Then, leaving your shoulders where they are, tilt your pelvic girdle forwards as much as you can, as though trying to draw your lower abdomen to your thighs. Pause in this position, encouraging your chest to open further. Move the hand of the straight leg side forwards so the arm becomes straight (palms facing downwards) and then lift the arm, allowing the upper back to move into a deeper back bend as you do this. Head can remain facing forwards or, if comfortable, you can tilt the head slightly so the neck curve is a continuation of the curve of the rest of the spine. Hold for a few breaths, enjoying the openness of the chest. To release, reverse the movements of entering the position. Then repeat to the other side.
SECOND EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
From sitting on a couple of folded towels or yoga blocks as above, have legs in the crooked position. Place hands on front of one knee. Straighten the other leg by pushing the heel away from your buttocks along the floor until the thigh is parallel to the floor (i.e. knee still a little bent). Draw the foot up to vertical so in a parallel plane to your trunk and press the heel downwards into the floor. Use pulling your hands against the knee to help you broaden your shoulders and open your chest. Use your hands to help you tilt your pelvic girdle forwards and bring your lower abdomen, then upper abdomen, and then lower ribs against your thighs. Wrap your arms around your bent leg, and, keeping your chest open, aim to get the front (side) of your trunk firmly pressed against your thigh. If you wish to move deeper in the pose then: keeping your trunk firmly pressed against your thigh, slowly slide your foot forwards so your leg becomes straighter. If your trunk and thigh start to be less firmly pressed against each other then you have straightened your leg too far and you need to bend your knee up a little. Head and neck stay in line with the rest of the spine throughout. If the leg you are hugging becomes as straight as the other leg, you may wish to transfer your arms from around your leg, taking your hands to the foot. And then pull your palms against the sole of your foot, encouraging a lengthening in your trunk. Hold for a few breaths, enjoying the lengthening in the back of the legs and the back of the trunk. To release, gently slide your foot towards your hips, unwrap your arms and lift the trunk back to vertical. Repeat to the other side.
THIRD EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Sit on folded towels or yoga blocks with legs in front in crooked position (see above). Knees and feet can be further apart than hip-width if you wish – but do have your feet pointing in the same horizontal direction as your knees. Sit tall with an open chest and wrap your arms around your shoulders in a hug. Inhaling, straighten your arms and swing to pointing sideways. Exhaling, rotate shoulders about the axis of the spine. Inhaling, unwind the trunk and, exhaling, return your arms to a hug around your shoulders. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 2 to 4 more times to each side.
FOURTH EXERCISE OF SESSION (4 minutes)
Find a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice. You could try the following relaxation practice. Imagine sinking into, and becoming part of, the earth; allow boundary between you and the earth to dissolve and feel yourself as part of the earth. (Re-establish sense of boundary between you and the earth before coming out of relaxation). 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.