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10-MIN YOGA SESSION BASED AROUND A SUPINE SIDE BEND    (4) 

Supine Side Bends Session 4
FIRST EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Lie on your back with your legs in the crooked position – that is with soles of your feet against the mat (feet parallel and about hip-width apart) and your knees pointing up into the air. Have your arms lying by your side with your palms facing upwards. 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. Swing the arm on the same side as the straight leg along the floor until your arm is pointing overhead (i.e. away from feet) or as far as is comfortable. Inhaling, imagine an elongation starting at your waist and travelling in two directions – one towards the foot of your straight leg and the other towards the hand of your arms that is pointing overhead so that there is a sense of the heel of the foot and the hand moving away from each other. Wait for the exhalation to start and then slowly squeeze / contract your abdomen in towards your spine, continuing to increase the abdominal contraction until the exhalation finishes, then release the abdominal squeeze before allowing the inhalation to flow in. Repeat this breath 2 to 3 more times. Slowly slide the arm along the floor to your side and then draw the heel (along the floor) of the straight leg back to your buttocks until the leg is in the crooked position alongside the other leg. Repeat to the other side.

SECOND EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Leave your legs in the crooked position and bring your arms to your sides. 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. Your hips and legs should not move in this exercise. 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. Move your arm (on the stretched side) sideways as far as it will comfortably go without leaving the floor. 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.

THIRD EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Return your legs to the crooked position. Straighten one leg along the floor and lift the arm of the other side to the floor overhead. Move the arm of the same side as the crooked leg across your body. Press down on the foot of the crooked leg to roll you onto your side (your head resting on your arm ). Straighten your top leg so that it rests on top of the other leg and place the hand of the top arm on the floor to give you stability. As you inhale, lift your top leg and, as you exhale, lower it back to the other leg. Repeat 3 to 6 times. While exhaling, allow yourself to roll onto your back. Repeat to the other side.

FOURTH EXERCISE OF SESSION (4 minutes)
Lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice. You could try imagining that you are lying on a cloud filled with energy that is attuned to your needs. Imagine that, as you exhale, you sink down slowly until you reach the centre of the cloud. Then, sense/imagine the energy around you in whatever form that comes naturally to you – perhaps as a sound, a feeling, a colour, a vibration. Allow your self to absorb the energy and “watch” it flow to where it is needed or to places of storage for later use. Let the cloud drift away from you to go and give energy to others. Remember not to rush sitting up (and then standing) after practising relaxation as it causes one’s blood pressure to lower, which can cause dizziness if one moves too quickly.