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SPLITS Session 3 Image
Move into the all fours position, knees under hips, elbows placed under shoulders. Bring your awareness to your hips and legs – imagine your tail bone drawn to the floor sufficiently that your lower back is flat (as opposed to curved down to the floor). Move the heel of one foot backwards (knee also moves backwards) so the toes end up curled under; then continue moving the heel backwards so the leg straightens. Inhaling, imagine an elongation starts at the hip joint and travels along the length of the bones of the legs and out through the heel of the foot. Exhaling at the same time as imagining the tailbone being drawn downward as much as you can, lift the leg as high as you can. Inhaling, keep the leg lifted, feeling the work in the back of the thigh. Exhaling, lower the leg very slowly until the toes rest on the floor. Aim to lift and lower the leg slowly so as to start and finish the movement in synchronicity with the start and finish of the exhalation. Repeat this leg movement 2 to 3 more times and then return the knee to being beside the other knee. Repeat to the other side.
Kneel in the upright kneeling position on a thick square of folded blanket. In front of your knees, place a pile of folded towels, blankets and cushions (as convenient) – place the softer versions of your support on top. Move into all fours so thighs are against the pile of support. Bring one hand to beside the other hand and swing the leg around so that 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 thigh rests on and is supported by the pile of support. Have your back foot so the toes point backwards and the top of the foot rests on the floor. Allow your weight to sink down into this support and then relax your trunk along your front leg, enjoying the feeling of relaxing and sinking downwards. Now, slowly press your two feet down into the floor, gradually increasing the pressing down until you can’t press down any more firmly without causing the hips to lift – hold for 3 to 5 breaths. Very gradually release the pressing down of your feet, and feel yourself sink more deeply onto the support of the floor and the pile under your thighs. Relax in this position for 3 to 5 breaths. To lift out of the position, slowly take the weight of your body into your arms, gradually lifting hips slightly; then moving out by reversing the movements of entering the position. Repeat to the other side.
Lie on your back with legs straight and arms by your side, 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, lift arm of the same side to vertical. Exhaling, bring the knee to the chest and, at the same time, press the arm through air (as though through a viscous fluid like treacle) bringing the arm to the floor by one’s side. Inhaling at the same time as lifting the arm to vertical, return the foot to the floor. Exhaling, push the heel along the floor to straighten the leg, and, at the same time, lower the arm to the floor by your side. Repeat on the other side. Repeat 3 to 4 more times to each side. Then rotate your arms to bring both palms to facing upwards.
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 the surfaces of your hip joints, smooth and healthy. In imagination, travel over the surface of the ball part of the joints, observing the beautiful smoothness and toughness of the surface. Then, similarly, for the socket part of the hip joints. 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.