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10-MIN YOGA  SESSION  BASED AROUND PLANK POSE    (4)

Plank Pose Session 4
FIRST EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Sit in a comfortable crossed-legged position (e.g. easy pose) with your back (and back of head) against a wall and with sufficient support (yoga blocks, folded towels) under your buttocks for it to be easy to have your spine tall and vertical. Interlock hands in front of abdomen with arms in a loose curve. Maintaining this loose curve, turn palms to face downwards and lift arms so that your hands end overhead, palms facing upwards (little finger against wall). Exhaling, press palms upwards until arms are straight and, at the same time, squeeze your abdomen inwards. Inhaling, imagine an elongation from one hip up the side of the trunk and arm and out of the wrist (so the wrist lifts slightly). Exhaling, move arms and hands away from the elongated side, bending your elbows; then allow your trunk to slightly bend over to the same side. Inhaling, lift your trunk back to centre and, keeping arms bent, bring your hands to above your head. Repeat to the other side. Lower arms and repeat with hands interlocked the other way. Repeat whole exercise once more if you wish.

SECOND EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Lie on your front, forehead resting on the floor. Place hands on either side of your chest (about shoulder width or less apart) with fingers pointing forwards (away from feet) and spread wide, middle fingers parallel with each other. The elbows should be off the floor and as close together as your hands are. Leaving your knees on the floor, as you exhale, tone the abdomen and press through the hands so your arms straighten. Ideally, your upper legs and trunk are now in one straight line. Hold the position while inhaling. Exhaling & maintaining the tone in the abdomen, slowly lower the trunk back to the floor. Inhale, resting on the floor – or, if you need to, take a few resting breaths. Repeat 3 to 8 times. Note: The best hand position is very personal and depends on ratio between the trunk and limb length and flexibility in the wrists. Some need their hands almost under their shoulders, whilst others can practise with hands almost at their waist. Most people need to step their hands at least one hand length forwards – but some will find that they can do this practice without stepping their hands forwards at all.

THIRD EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Roll over on to your back with legs in semi-supine. Bring your hands to in front top of your trunk, palms against each other, fingers pointing towards elbows of the opposite arm. Slide your hands until just fingers are against each other and bend your fingers to move hands into a fireman’s clasp. (Note, if you have long fingernails this position can be a bit uncomfortable – having cloth between hands can reduce the amount the nails dig into the fingers). Hands and elbows should be in one line. Attempt to draw the elbows away from each other against the resistance supplied by the handclasp – hold for about 5 breaths and then repeat with hands clasped with different hand facing outwards.

FOURTH EXERCISE OF SESSION (4 minutes)
Either lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation, or sit for some breathing or meditation. You could to try the following: Imagine a square and allow your awareness to rest on each corner in turn and then rest in the centre of the square. 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.