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Supine Side Bends Session 1
Lie on your back with your legs in the crooked position – that is with the soles of your feet against the mat (feet parallel and about hip-width apart) and your knees pointing up into the air. Either have your arms lying by your sides or place your hands on your abdomen – whichever feels most comfortable. Straighten one leg along the floor – keeping the heel in contact with the floor as you do this. Activate the foot and leg (of the straight leg) as though you are standing – i.e. your toes should be pointing to the ceiling. Have a conscious feeling of pressing through your feet – the foot of the bent leg pressing to your mat and the other foot pressing into an imaginary surface – pressing with your heels, pad of your big-toe joint and pad of your little-toe joint. Wait for the exhalation to start and then slowly squeeze your abdomen in towards your spine. Do this starting at the base of your abdomen, squeezing up towards your chest, continuing to increase the abdominal contraction until the exhalation finishes. Then release the abdominal squeeze before allowing the inhalation to flow however naturally happens. Repeat this breath 2 to 3 more times. Slowly draw the heel of the straight leg along the floor back to your buttocks until the leg is in the crooked position alongside the other leg. Repeat to the other side.

Leave your legs in the crooked position and bring your arms to your sides. Your hips and legs should not move in this exercise. Have a sense of your feet gently pressing into the floor helping your lower back to relax downwards and be long. Lift your head and move it sideways and then lower it. Then lift your shoulders, move them sideways (same direction as the head), and lower. Continue moving your head and then your shoulders sideways until your trunk has as much of a sideways bend as is comfortable. Breathe slowly and deeply:- exhaling, slowly squeeze your abdomen in to your spine, release this squeeze and then, while inhaling, mentally direct the breath into the stretched side of the trunk. Hold for 5 breaths and then slowly move your trunk and head back to the central position in the same manner that you moved it sideways. Repeat to the other side.

Continue to lie on your back with your legs in the crooked position and have your arms rest on the mat beside you with your palms facing upwards. Inhaling, swing one arm on the floor towards the overhead position – take your arm as far as feels comfortable (if it reaches the overhead position, pointing away from your feet that is great but is not necessary) allowing the weight of the arm to be supported by the floor throughout. Exhaling, swing the arm on the floor back to the side of your trunk – allowing the weight of the arm to be supported by the floor throughout. Repeat to the other side. Continue for 4 to 8 more breaths enjoying slow movements and the gentle smooth flow of breath.

Move into a comfortable position for practising a relaxation of your choice. You could try the following relaxation practice: Imagine a circle filled with one of the quiet colours such as green, blue, lavender or blue-violet and allow the circle of colour to have some texture or gradation of colour – perhaps a pale cross with the lines of the cross, crossing at the centre of the circle. Inhaling, imagine the circle of colour rotating around its centre – watch the slow movement. Exhaling, imagine the circle of colour rotating the other way around its centre. Enjoy the slow gentle rhythm of the circle of colour rotating one way and then the other. Enjoy the peacefulness of the colour. Enjoy. Remember not to rush sitting up (and then standing) after practising relaxation as it causes one’s blood pressure to fall, which can cause dizziness if one moves too quickly.