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SPLITS Session 2 Image
Kneel in the upright kneeling position on a thick square of folded blanket. Move one leg forwards so the foot rests on the floor, leg straight or nearly straight. Bend the front knee and ease the hips forwards until the front knee is over the front ankle. Keeping your spine long, lean your trunk forwards until resting against the thigh of your front leg. Place your hands on either side of your foot. Keeping your trunk firmly pressed against your thigh, slowly ease your hips backwards so your front leg straightens until you begin to feel a stretch on the back of your thigh. At the same time, keep the ankle flexed so that all but its heel lifts off the floor. Pause and then slowly ease your hips forwards until the front knee is over the front ankle. Pause before slowly repeating 1 to 3 more times and then lift the trunk to upright (from the hip forward position). Then move the hips backwards until the front leg is straight, and then return the forward leg to beside the other leg. Repeat to the other side.

Kneel in the upright kneeling position on a thick square of folded blanket. Place a pile of folded towels, blankets and cushion (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 (that is, at least as high as you found comfortable in the previous set of exercises). Move into all fours so your 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 forwards as far as you can, using the toes of your feet to help. Slowly inch your back foot backwards, again using your toes to help, until your front thigh rests on, and is supported by, the pile of support. Allow your weight to sink down into this support. Note that the position should feel fully comfortable (particularly for the front of the hip of your backwards leg) and that, if it doesn’t, you need to use a higher pile of support under your thigh. Lift your trunk up to upright, checking your lower back is comfortable with the position (if not, try using a higher amount of support). Allow your arms to relax by your side and observe and encourage relaxation in your upper legs and hips for 5 or more breaths. Leave by leaning your trunk forwards to place your hands either side of your front leg. Slowly take the weight of your body 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.

Sit with your legs in front of your hips with feet on the floor, knees pointing upwards. Achieve a long back position, and then, maintaining the shape of your back, slightly lean your back backwards – arms alongside trunk. Exhaling, straighten one leg, lifting the foot off the floor and aiming to keep the knee at the same height beside the other knee. Inhaling, bending the knee, return the foot to the floor. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 2 to 5 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 and try the following. Imagine an outline of a square, and imagine this is a storage space for you with the quality of strength. Choose a colour to represent strength, and slowly imagine yourself filling the square – perhaps by imagining colouring it in appropriately coloured crayon. When you are finished, spend a few breaths enjoying looking at the square full of strength and feel that strength available to use as you feel is best. 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.