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10-MIN YOGA SESSION BASED AROUND THE SPLITS    ( 1 ) 

SPLITS Session 1 Image

FIRST EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Place on the floor about one arm length from the wall a firm support like a yoga block or firmly folded towel. Stand sideways to the wall, with your outer foot on the firm support and your other foot unsupported. Place your hand on the wall to aid balance and aim to keep your pelvic girdle level. Keeping both legs straight, slowly lift the leg closest to the wall forwards as far as you can. Slowly lower the leg and then slowly lift backwards until you reach the limit of how high you can lift the leg. Slowly lower the leg down to vertical. Repeat 3 to 4 more times on this and then practise the same number of times on the other side.
SECOND EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Kneel in the upright kneeling position on a thick square of folded blanket. Place a pile of folded towels, blankets and cushions (as convenient) in front of your knees – place the softer versions of your support on top. This pile of support needs to be at least halfway up your thighs, and can be as high as your hips (the less flexible your hips the higher the support you need.) Move into all fours so the thighs are against the pile of support. Bring one hand to beside the other hand and swing the leg around so it is over the pile support – return the hand to under your shoulder so the leg is now between your hands. Slowly inch your front foot forwards as far as you can, using the toes of your feet to help you with this. Slowly inch your back foot backwards, again using your toes to help you with this, until your front leg rests on and is supported by the pile of support. Allow your weight to sink down into this support and notice the areas where you feel stretching in your muscles – usually in the back thigh of your front leg, inside thigh of your front leg or in the front of the hip of the back leg. This gives you information about areas particularly beneficial for you to work on stretching to aid you achieving the full splits. Note that the position should feel fully comfortable and that, if it doesn’t, you need to use a higher pile of support under your thigh. Conversely, if there is no sensation of stretching, you may like to consider decreasing the height of the support under your thigh. However, if you are able to really relax in this position, you might notice that the feeling of stretch gradually increases as one allows one’s weight to sink down. So I advise being slow to reduce the height of support and focusing more on learning to relax in this position. To lift out of the position, slowly take your body’s weight into your arms, gradually lifting your hips slightly and then moving out by reversing the movements of entering the position. Repeat to the other side.
THIRD EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Lie on your back, legs straight and your arms by your side with palms facing downwards. Inhaling, draw one heel along the floor towards your buttock so your knee points up into the air and, at the same time, rotate the arm on the opposite side of the moving leg to bring the palms to facing upwards. Exhaling, push the heel along the floor to straighten the leg, and, at the same time, rotate the arm to bring the palm to facing downwards. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 3 to 4 more times to each side. Then rotate your arms to bring both palms to facing upwards.
FOURTH EXERCISE OF SESSION (4 minutes)
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 and try the following. Imagine a current of calmness flows up from the earth into the heels of your feet, flows up through the centre of your legs, and then the centre of your trunk, centre of your neck to the crown of your head. And, from there, the calmness washes over and through the surface of your head, neck, arms and trunk down your legs and then the current returns to the earth from your feet. 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.