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Paschimottanasana Session 5
Sit with your legs in front of you start with knees bent and pointing upwards. Adjust as necessary to be sure your spine is vertical and essentially straight. (You can sit directly on the floor or, if your hamstrings are a bit tight, sit on one or two folded towels or yoga block). Leaving the heels on the floor, lift the soles of the feet, drawing the tops of your feet as close to your shins as you can. Push the heels along the floor so the legs straighten until the thighs become level with the floor then imagine your feet are pressing into a vertical wall and imagine pressing pads of the joints of little and big toes and heels into this. Have your toes pointing upwards and spread wide. Press your heels downwards. Interlock your hands behind your back with palms facing upwards. Roll your shoulders backwards and downwards encouraging your hands downwards encouraging your chest to expand forwards. Then lift your arms away from the trunk. Exhaling, squeeze abdomen inwards (or reinforce the inward contraction of the abdomen). Inhaling and aiming to maintain the tone in the abdomen, consciously direct breath towards the front of the chest encouraging it to lift and expand more. Hold for a few breaths, then release the breathing and lift trunk to upright.

Leave your legs in the dandasana position and place your hands on your lower back. Keeping the trunk long and open, tilt the pelvic girdle. When your pelvic girdle is as far forwards as is comfortable, loop a towel around your feet and hold the ends with your hands. Pull your shoulders backwards with your arms long and keeping your shoulder broad. Use this to help you encourage your pelvic girdle to tilt forwards more and your spine to lengthen up away from your hips. Hold for several breaths and then move your hands to your lower back and lift trunk to upright. Note: With regular practice you will find you are able to hold the towel closer and closer to your feet eventually you may be able to hold your feet instead of the towel with your hands.

Sit in Dandasana as earlier, and place your hands in prayer position in front of your chest. Inhaling, lift and straighten your arms upwards, allowing your palms to part. Exhaling, rotate the shoulders about the axis of the spine and, at the same time, lower arms into a loose curve with upper arms nearly lowered to shoulder level. Inhaling, unwind back to facing forwards and lift arms to the overhead position. Exhaling, rotate the shoulders to the other side and likewise lower arms. Inhaling, unwind and lift arms to over head. Exhaling, bring hands back down to prayer position in front of chest. Repeat a couple more times.

Find a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice. You could try the following relaxation practice. Imagine you are lying in a peaceful field or mountain side well away from any city or town or village lights. You are lying in and covered by a pile of blankets so you feel really comfortable and warm. You look upwards and the sky is clear and the stars are clear to see and maybe the moon. So you can enjoy the beauty of the sky and perhaps a gentle breeze. 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.