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Plank Pose Session 8
Sit in easy pose (comfortable cross-legged position) with folded towels under your hips if that aids having your spine long and tall. Place your hands in the prayer postion just in front of your breast bone. Inhaling, move your hands up and slightly apart so your arms end up straight, hands and arms pointing upwards. Exhaling, move your arms sideways and rotate along axis at shoulder joint to bring palms facing down/outwards. As the arms move in line with the shoulders, extend the wrists to bring the fingers to pointing upwards and palms facing outwards. Inhaling, flex at the wrists to bring the fingers pointing sideways, then downwards and then towards armpits. Finish the inhalation with a sense of pushing the backs of the wrists away from each other. Exhaling, rotate arms along their axis at shoulder joints to bring the fingers to pointing forwards and then upwards, allowing the extension in the upper back that this encourages. Inhaling, un-rotate the arms and straighten at the wrists so fingers point sideways and palms face downwards: finish with a sense of the hands moving away from each other. Exhaling, bend arms to bring hands back to prayer position just in front of breast bone. Repeat 2 to 5 more times.
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 to lift your chest just an inch or two off the floor. 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 strings 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 closer your chest stays to the floor, the harder this exercise.
Lie in semi-supine - that is, on your back with legs in the crooked position. Place hands on the top of your shoulders with elbows on the floor, close to the side of your trunk. Inhaling, straighten your arms upwards, so your arms become vertical. Exhaling, lower your arms to the same side, allowing the shoulder opposite to the side your arms are lowered to lift off the floor and turn head to look in the same direction as arms. Inhaling, lift arms back to vertical and return head and shoulders back to centre. Exhaling, bend and lower arms back to the starting position. 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, gaseous waste products (e.g. carbon-dioxide) are brought to your lungs (or drawn in to your lungs) from all parts of your body. And imagine all those waste products leaving your lungs in 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.