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Salabhasana Session 2
Lie on the floor on your back with legs straight and parallel along the floor. Inhaling, bring one knee to your chest and lightly rest your hands on your knee. If you can, keep your unbent leg straight and resting along the floor – if you keep the toes pointing up and the heel extending away from you, this will make this exercise stronger. Exhaling, slowly squeeze/contract your abdomen towards your spine – you will probably notice this causes your knee to move closer to your chest and the stretch in the groin of your unbent leg increases a little. Continue increasing the contraction of your abdomen until your exhalation finishes. Allow your abdomen to relax and allow your in-breath to flow in however naturally happens. Continue like this for 3 to 6 breaths. Inhaling, release your hands from your knee and place the foot of that leg on the floor. Exhaling, straighten the bent leg along the floor. Repeat to the other side. If you have time repeat once more to each side.
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 side with your palms facing upwards – push your hands towards your feet and then relax. Your legs and feet should be together, toes pointing away from you. (You can place a rolled-up towel under your ankles if that feels more comfortable). You should tuck your chin in towards your neck so that the back of your neck is long and your forehead is resting on the floor. (You can place a folded towel under your forehead if it 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 way: take care to keep the leg completely straight and keep the hip of the leg firmly pressed into the ground. Keep the leg lifted for a few breaths (4 to 8). As you inhale, again try to push the foot away from your hip and, as you exhale, attempt to lift your leg a little higher. Exhaling, slowly lower the leg back down to the ground. Repeat to the other side. Repeat to both sides once more if you have time. Check how your lower back feels – those with very flexible lower backs or tight ilio-psoas muscles may need to take care to contract abdomen 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, slowly straighten one leg – note the leg does not have to be completely straight – just straighten the leg as far as feels comfortable. Hold the leg as straight as is comfortable for 4 to 8 breaths. Exhaling slowly, bend the leg back to its previous position. Repeat to the other leg. Repeat one more time to each side if you have time. Aim for slow even breaths.
Lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice. Try imagining you are walking along a seashore. Notice the waves and sun glistening on the water. Can you hear the waves lapping or seagull cries? Can you feel warm water lapping around your feet as they sink into the sand? Imagine the experience as a whole in as much detail as you can. 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.