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Salabhasana Session 1
Lie on the floor on your back with legs straight, arms a comfortable distance from your sides, and palms slightly turned upwards. Let body relax. Become aware of your breathing and observe your natural breathing rhythm for a few breaths. Then bring your legs together and activate your ankles as though you are standing on your feet – that is your ankles should be together and your toes and soles of feet should point to the ceiling.(Your heels should feel/be pushed away from you so the back of your legs are long). Then, after a natural inhalation, allow your exhalation to start naturally, and slowly squeeze/contract your abdomen in towards your spine until you finish exhaling. Release/relax your abdominal contraction and allow your in-breath to flow in however naturally happens. Continue like this for 5 to 10 breaths. Then for a few breaths let your breathing occur however naturally happens and observe.
Roll over onto your front. Attempt to move your feet away from you (one at a time) to help ensure your body is long. Rest your arms by your sides with palms facing upwards – push hands towards to feet and then relax. Your legs and feet should be together with toes pointing away from you. (You can, if you wish, place a rolled-up towel under your ankles if that feels more comfortable). Your chin should be tucked in towards your neck so the back of your neck is long and your forehead is resting on the floor. (You can place a couple of folds of a towel under your forehead if that makes the position more comfortable). Spend a little time sinking your hips firmly into the ground – it is very important that your hips stay firmly pressed into the ground throughout this exercise. While inhaling, try to push one foot away from your hips along the floor. While exhaling, lift the leg of the foot you have just pushed away; take care to keep the leg completely straight and keep the hip of the leg firmly pressed into the ground. (If you find you can’t lift the leg, don’t worry – the act of trying to lift the leg will strengthen the necessary muscles so that in time you will find you can lift it.) Keep the leg lifted as you inhale and again try to push the foot away from your hip. Exhaling, slowly lower the leg back down to the ground. Repeat to the other side. Repeat to both sides 2 to 6 more times. Check how your lower back feels - those with very flexible lower backs or tight ilio-psoas muscles may need to take care to contract abdominal muscles actively throughout the above exercise to avoid over-extending their lower back.
Roll over on to your back. Bring your knees as close to your chest as you can without lifting your lower back off the floor. Place one hand on each knee. Taking care not to move either your knees or hands and while inhaling, slowly straighten one leg – note the leg does not have to be completely straight – just straighten the leg as far as feels comfortable. Exhaling, slowly bend the leg back to its previous position. Repeat to the other leg. Repeat 4 to 8 times to each leg aiming for slow, even breaths with the leg movement starting and finishing with your inhalation and exhalation.
Lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice. Try imagining being enveloped in a warm cloud of a soothing mist that absorbs all your tension, problems and any aches and pains. Then let the cloud evaporate taking all it has absorbed away with it. Remember not to rush sitting up (and then standing) after practising relaxation as it causes one’s blood pressure to fall, which can cause dizziness if one moves too quickly.