FIRST EXERCISE OF SESSION (4 minutes)
Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position (or another seated position that suits you)
with sufficient padding under your buttocks to enable your spine to be vertical and long. Check the shape of your spine and adjust as
appropriate. Allow your arms to hang loosely by your sides – if your fingers or palms comfortably reach the ground then rest them on the ground.
Keeping your face facing forwards, very slowly allow your head to tilt to one side. Only allow the movement to occur up to the point where
you feel a stretch begin to occur in your side neck muscles. At this point, keep your head where it is and let your awareness rest in the
muscles that are just beginning to feel a stretch – while inhaling, imagine the breath is entering into the stretched muscles gently elongating
them and, while exhaling, imagine the breath leaves the stretched muscles, causing a slight shortening of the muscles as well as a general
relaxation in the rest of your body. Almost miraculously, the slightly stretched muscles start to feel as though they breathe – it feels as
though they gently expand and contract with each breath.
There is no need to “do” anything to go further into the stretch. Very slowly, the head does sink closer to the floor and then one shoulder
dips, the other lifts and the body curls over into a side bend [– if you wish, or feel you need to, you can use the hand you are curling towards
to give a little support to stop you falling over sideways]. But there is no need to think about any of this movement happening – the objective
is to let one’s awareness be full of the experience/sensation of the muscles “breathing”. Breathe like this for 5 to 10 breaths without worrying
how far you move into a side bend – at first, you may find you do little more than tilt your head to one side and that is fine as the main point is
being with the sensations of your muscles rather than going into a side bend. To lift out of this position lean the trunk as a whole from the hips
towards the opposite side to which the neck / trunk is currently bending. As you lean the trunk make no attempt to change the shape of the
trunk but observe that the spine seems to naturally uncurl itself so that eventually the head returns to the neutral position relative to the shoulders –
then lift the trunk back to the neutral vertical position. Pause for a few breaths and then repeat to the other side.
SECOND EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Uncross your legs, straightening one leg at a time and 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 crossed-legged, or in another comfortable position, and rest your hands on your lap or thighs. Inhaling, turn your head to look over one
shoulder, allowing and feeling the upper chest to expand forwards. Exhaling, rotate shoulders round in the same direction. Now, while
inhaling, allow the shoulders to rotate to face forwards; then, exhaling, bring turn the head to facing forwards. Repeat to the other side.
Repeat 2 more times to each side.
THIRD 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 try the following as a sound visualisation while either sitting or lying. For several
breaths, allow your inhalation to occur however happens naturally, and, with each exhalation, think or imagine humming the sound “mmmm” –
starting the sound just at the beginning of the exhalation and finishing it just at the end of the exhalation. You may find this naturally draws
your attention to the lower part of your trunk - when you finish the sound visualisation pause, letting your awareness continue resting in your
lower abdomen for several breaths. Remember not to rush sitting up and standing after practising
relaxation / breathing exercises, but instead give yourself a few moments to adjust to the world around you.