FIRST EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Stand in TADASANA. That is with your feet parallel and hip-width apart, and your
spine long and vertical. Start with arms and shoulders relaxed. Inhaling, lift your arms sideways – at some point you will need to rotate your
arms outwards (turning palms to face upwards) to continue the movement. Lift your arms as far as feels comfortable - for some that will
mean bringing palms together, others will find their arms only reach to vertical and others will not be able to lift this far. Take care to keep
your arms moving in the same plane as your trunk – if your arms move more forwards than this, you may feel you are able to lift your arms
further but you will not be giving yourself such an effective stretch. Exhaling, lower your arms sideways back to your sides. Repeat 5 to 12 times.
SECOND EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Move your feet sideways to about one leg-length apart or as far apart as is comfortable –
we are not aiming here to stretch the inside of your legs. Your feet should be parallel or slightly turned in. Use your hands to check the shape of
your lower back – ideally, there will be a very slight inwards curve. If the lower back is flat or curving outwards then imagine that the front base
of your trunk (i.e. the pubis) has a weight suspended from it that slowly encourages it to sink downwards. If the lower back has a strong inward
curve then first bend your knees and then imagine a weight suspended from your tailbone that slowly encourages your tailbone to sink
downwards. When your lower back has lengthened into a long curve, straighten your legs. Having made sure that your lower back is long –
think about lengthening (and straightening the rest of your spine). To make your legs very firm and stable, imagine the outside edge of your
feet sinking down into the ground and pulling (contracting) along the outside of your legs. Bring your attention to your lower abdomen and
create a “base support” by toning your lower abdomen – this will give support (and hence protection to your lower back). One way to do
this is to think about the two creases in your lower abdomen and imagine these are lines of a smile – then activate the smile by drawing the
smile inwards and the corners sideways – you can think of this as smiling at the world with your abdomen. Relax your arms and shoulders.
Inhaling, lift one arm sideways so that the arm ends up pressed against your ear and the palm faces your head. Exhaling, allow your trunk to
bend sideways in the opposite direction to your lifted arm – your arm should stay pressed against your ear; your trunk should stay in the
same plane as your legs; your hips should not move. Inhaling, imagine that the breath enters the squeezed side of your trunk and in expanding
this area helps you lift your trunk back up to centre. Exhaling, lower your lifted arm back to your side. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 2 to 6
times to each side.
THIRD EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Lie down on your back and bring your knees to your chest. Relax. Place your arms out
at shoulder level – palms facing upwards if comfortable. While exhaling, take your knees a little to one side and then, while inhaling, bring
your knees back to centre – take care not to move your knees so far to the side that you cannot easily re-centralise them. Also, keep your
knees together and close to your chest. Repeat 2 to 5 times to each side.
FOURTH EXERCISE OF SESSION (4 minutes)
Lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice.
You could try the following. Mentally think the word “relax” with each out-breath. As you do this, think the meaning of the word relax. See
if you can feel the meaning of the word relax in your joints with each out-breath. See if you feel the meaning of the word “relax” in your muscles
with each mental repetition of the word.
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.