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Plank Pose Session 7
Sit in easy pose (comfortable cross-legged position) with folded towels under hips if that aids having your spine long and tall. Have arms in a loose curve with hands just in front of abdomen, one hand in the otherís palm facing upwards. Inhaling & keeping the arm in a loose curve, swing the arm forwards until the palm is facing downwards at the other hand. Just before exhaling, rotate palms so bottom palm faces downwards, top palm upwards. Exhaling, press the palms in the direction they are facing, so the arms somewhat straighten with hands moving away from each other. Inhaling, rotate palms back to facing each other and, at the same time, soften arms back into the organic shape of a loose curve. Exhaling, lower the arm forwards, returning the hand to just underneath the other one. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 2 to 4more times to each side.
Lie on your front with forehead resting on the floor. Have legs about hip-width apart and curl toes under. 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. 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 a straight line. Inhaling, imagine strings attached to your heels and that someone pulls on these string in the direction away from your head so your legs straighten. Exhaling, slowly lower knees back to the floor, maintaining the tone in the abdomen. Inhaling & maintaining the tone in the abdomen, lower trunk back to the floor. Repeat 3 to 8 times. Note: The best hand position is very personal and depends on the ratio between the length of trunk and limb 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.
Lie in semi-supine - on your back with legs in the crooked position, knees and feet together. Wrap arms around your shoulders in a hug. Inhaling, draw one hand across your chest to the shoulder and then straighten the arm to the floor at shoulder level and turn your head to look along that arm. Exhaling, lower your knees to the other side - your feet staying together so that one foot ends up on top of the other. Inhaling, rotate the straight arm at the shoulder joint so the little finger moves away from the floor. Exhaling, rotate the arm back to palm facing upwards. Inhaling, lift knees back to centre. Exhaling, swing the arm through the air, returning the arm to a hug around the shoulders and return head to facing upwards. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 2 to 4 more times to each side.
Either lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice, or sit for some breathing or meditation. You could lie down to try the following as a relaxation or breathing exercise. Imagine that, as you inhale, ingredients for creating friendliness are brought to your emotional heart (which you might wish to imagine as a circle or heart shape in your chest). And, as you exhale, imagine your emotional heart releases friendliness to be carried out into the world with the breath you breathe out. 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.