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SPLITS Session 4 Image
Sit in Dandasana. Make a loose first with your hands and bring them to just in front of your shoulders, elbows pointing backwards. Keeping your trunk long and essentially straight, lean your trunk as far forwards as you comfortably can without bending your knees. Then slowly move your hands forwards at shoulder level, and then lower the hands to close to the floor, before slightly bending the elbows. Slowly lift your trunk to upright and then, keeping your chest open, slowly lean the trunk backwards – it is fine, at the end of this movement, for the lower back to move into slight flexion, but keep the upper back extended and the chest open. In this position, draw your elbows backwards with a sense of the chest lifting forwards to bring the hands just in front of your chest. Slowly lift your trunk to upright. Repeat 3 to 5 more times.

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 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. Lift your trunk to up 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. 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. 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.

Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest. Place one hand on each knee so the wrists are on the outside of the knees and the fingers curve over the tops of knees. Inhaling, move one hand to on top of the other hand and move the uncovered knee away from the chest, taking the foot to the floor. Exhaling, push the foot along the floor, allowing the sole to lift so that only the heel remains on the floor as the leg becomes straight. Inhaling, draw the heel along the floor to the buttock. Exhaling, bring the knee to the chest and return the hand to the knee. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 3 to 4 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 planting a seed and, each week, watering it and weeding around the area you planted – and observe the seedling grow well with your care. 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.