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10- MIN YOGA  SESSION  BASED AROUND SUKHASANA (Sitting Cross-legged)    (1)

Sukhasana Session 1
Sit cross-legged on a couple of yoga blocks or folded towels (with practice you will find sitting cross-legged comfortable with less and less padding under your buttocks). [A nice way of entering such a position is to start with legs parallel to each other in front of you with the soles of the feet on the floor (as far away from you as comfortable) and knees pointing upwards. Then allow one leg to lean outwards and slide the foot so it is underneath the knee of the other leg. Allow the other leg to lean outwards and slide the foot so the heel ends up under the first leg in line with the hip.] Check the shape of your lower back with the back of your hand – if the lower back curves inwards then imagine your tailbone sinking downwards; if the lower back curves outwards then consciously tilt the pelvic girdle forward. Check the shape of your upper back – if curving outwards, imagine your shoulders are broadening sideways and consciously lift your breastbone forwards and up. Also check the shape of the back of your neck – draw your chin in towards the front of your neck to increase the length and straightness of the back of your neck. Place your hands just in front of your abdomen – palms facing upwards and one hand resting in the palm of the other. Inhaling and maintaining the curve shape of your arm, lift forwards the arm of the upper-most palm, lifting until the arm is curved overhead with the palm facing downwards. Exhaling and maintaining the curved shape of the arm, lower the arm forwards and bring the hand underneath the other hand. Repeat with the other arm. Repeat 2-3 more times to each side.

In the same seated position, rest your hands on your lap close to your hips with palms facing upwards. Inhaling, straighten one arm, lifting it sideways to 45 degrees above horizontal with palm facing downwards. Hold for 3 breaths – while inhaling, imagine an elongation starting at the hip of the lowered arm moving diagonally through the trunk to the shoulder of the lifted arm and along the lifted arm to the finger tips; while exhaling, slowly squeeze the abdomen in towards the spine starting at the base of the abdomen and increasing the contraction until it reaches the top of the abdomen. Lower the arm while exhaling and return the hand to your lap. Repeat to the other side.

Now uncross your legs and straighten one leg at a time, then re-cross your legs the other way. Recheck the shape of your spine and if necessary adjust so that your spine is long and vertical.

Sit cross-legged and lift your arms sideways so they point a little below horizontal with palms facing downwards. Exhaling, swing one arm forwards and one arm backwards to wrap the arms around one’s trunk, allowing your trunk to rotate about the axis of your spine as you do this, and turn your head to look over the shoulder of the arm behind your trunk. Inhaling, turn your head back to centre, unwrap and straighten your arms so they point sideways, allowing your trunk to rotate back to facing forwards. Aim for slow, long breaths. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 2 more times 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 continue sitting and try the following as a breathing visualisation. Firstly, exhale. Inhaling, imagine that a current flows from the earth into your right hip and from there up into your abdomen. Exhaling, imagine that a current flows from your abdomen through your left hip and down into the earth. Then, while inhaling, imagine that the current flows from the earth through your left hip and into your abdomen and, while exhaling, from the abdomen. Continue this breathing for several breaths, finishing the out-breath imagining the current flowing through your right hip into the earth. Pause for a few breaths with your awareness resting on the earth underneath you.