FIRST EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 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. Have a chair in front of you, with chair facing you and the seat a distance away such that you can just reach it with your fingers when you have your arms stretched forwards and your trunk vertical. Check the shape of your spine and adjust as appropriate. Keeping your trunk / spine long and straight, lean your pelvic girdle (and hence your trunk) forwards and place your palms on the seat of the chair in front of you – about shoulder-width apart. Draw your chin in towards the front of your neck. Without moving your hands have a sense of pulling them backwards against the resistance of the chair, thus encouraging your chest to expand forwards and your upper and mid back to move into a back bend. Have a sense of your tailbone being drawn towards the floor – if you have a significant tendency towards lumbar lordosis (allowing the lower back to curve inwards [concave] excessively) then you may want to move the tailbone downwards deliberately – otherwise just have a feeling of the tailbone being slightly drawn towards the floor. While inhaling and keeping shoulders facing forwards, lift one arm forwards and up (as far as feels comfortable – even going beyond vertical if still comfortable) and, exhaling, lower the arm to return hand to the chair. Repeat with the other arm.
Repeat 2 to 4 more times with each side. Leave your hands and trunk in place for the next exercise.
SECOND EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
In your previous position, bring your attention to your arms and apply arm spirals as follows: Imagine the top of the inward spiral starting at the top back of your arms (behind your shoulders); then imagine a movement (very little actual movement occurs) moving down and round the sides of your arms from this point towards the pad of your index finger joints and feel this cause the pad of the index finger joints to be pressed downwards a little. Maintain the inward arm spirals while applying outward spirals for your arms as follows. First, imagine the top of the outward spirals at the top inside of your arms (i.e. in your armpits); then imagine a movement (very little actual movement occurs) moving down and round the front and then the sides of your arms from this point towards the pad of your little finger joints and feel this causing the pad of the little finger joints to be pressed downwards a little. Have a sense of pressing the outside of your shoulders, your arms and your palms downwards (against the resistance provided by the seat of the chair) and also of your tail-bone sinking downwards.
Hold for several breaths with your awareness resting in your mid-back – it will probably feel a bit as if a balloon is just under your spine,
expanding when you inhale pushing the spine backwards and spreading the back of the ribcage backwards and sideways, and contracting
when you exhale, allowing the spine to move towards the front of the trunk and the back of the rib-cage to relax inwards. This is a deceptively
strong exercise that can be quite warming. Release the downward pressing of the hands and arms slowly and lift your trunk back to vertical.
Uncross your legs and straighten one 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.
THIRD EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Sit cross-legged (or in another comfortable sitting position). Bring your hands to just in front of
your chest at about shoulder level, with palms facing downwards and fingers pointing to the other hand (finger tips almost touching) and elbows pointing sideways. Exhaling, draw the shoulders and elbows backwards encouraging the chest and spine to move forwards.
Inhaling, return the arms and trunk back to the starting position. Repeat 2 to 4 more times.
FOURTH 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 breathing exercise in a sitting position. Imagine a line between the middle of
your breastbone and the tip of your tailbone. Inhaling, imagine breath flows up the line from your tailbone to your breastbone and, exhaling, imagine
the breath flows down the line to the tip of your tailbone. Continue for as many breaths as feels comfortable and then pause for a couple of breaths
with your awareness resting on the tip of your tailbone. Remember not to rush sitting up and standing after practising
relaxation / breathing exercises but instead give yourself time to adjust to the world around you.