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Salabhasana Session 5
Lie on your back with your legs in the crooked position: feet on floor, knees pointing to the ceiling. Bring one knee to your chest, and move it slightly to one side of the chest. Place the hand of that side on the inside of knee, move the lower leg (but not the knee) until the lower leg is vertical and transfer then hand to the outside edge of the knee. Very gently encourage the knee downwards. Maintain this position with the hand and knee and slowly straighten the other leg along the floor until it is as straight as feels comfortable. Exhaling, imagine an elongation travelling down from the hip of the straight leg, down the back of the leg and out through the heel – and then, inhaling, allow your awareness to loop above the leg back to its hip. Continue for several breaths – enjoying feeling the leg appear to lengthen. Then slowly draw the heel of the straight leg back to the hip; then very gently release the leg held by the hand and return the foot to the floor. Repeat to the other 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, palms facing upwards – push your hands towards your feet and then relax. Your legs and feet should be together with 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, imagine an elongation from the hips down the legs and out through the feet. While exhaling, lift both legs. While inhaling, imagine an elongation from the hips travels through the legs and out through the feet. Exhaling, slowly lower the leg back down to the ground. Repeat several 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 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. Inhaling, straighten legs upwards (keeping heels over hips) and lift arms through the air to the floor beside the head. Exhaling, return your knees to your chest and move arms through the air to return hands to knees; then gently pull the knees closer in to your chest. Repeat several times. Aim for slow even breaths.
Lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice. You could try to: Imagine a loop around your pelvic girdle. Let your awareness rest at your sacrum; then, inhaling, move your awareness up one side of the loop to just above your lower abdomen. Exhaling, continue round the loop back to under the sacrum – over the next breath, move your awareness around the loop in the other direction. Continue for several breaths and then return to letting your awareness rest at your sacrum. 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.