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Trikonasana Session 4
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. Rotate your arms so your palms face backwards. Start your inhalation and rotate your arms so your palms face forwards. Continue your inhalation and bend your arms to bring the palms together into the prayer position in front of your breastbone (fingers pointing upwards). Continue your inhalation as you lift your arms to take your hands (still with palms together) up above your head – ideally your hands will reach as high as they will go just as you finish inhaling. Start your exhalation as you lower your hands back to being just in front of your breast-bone. Continue your exhalation as you separate your hands and move your arms back to your sides with your palms facing forwards. Continue exhaling as you rotate your arms inwards so that your palms end up facing backwards – ideally you finish exhaling just as your hands have finished moving to the backwards facing position. Repeat this movement with your breath 4 to 6 times. (Sometimes when starting this exercise, one’s breath is not calm or long enough for all the arm movements – in this case start with just the first part (rotating the arms in/out with breath). When ready, add in the second part {inhaling, rotate arms out, then bring palms together; exhaling, lower hands, then rotate arms inwards}, then do the full exercise.

Move your feet sideways to about one leg-length apart or as far apart as feels comfortable – we do not here aim to stretch your inside legs. Your feet should be parallel or slightly turned in. See if you can lengthen your spine by elongating the natural curves of your spine (see ‘A ten minute yoga session based around Trikonasana [3]’). 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 therefore protection to your lower back). One way to do this is to place your hands on your buttocks and imagine that your sacrum (the bony triangle at the base of your spine) moves backwards into the space between your hands – feel how this tones your lower abdomen. Maintain this lower abdominal tone and return your arms to your sides. Relax your arms and shoulders. Inhaling, lift one arm sideways to vertical (palm facing your head). Then relax your whole arm so that it ends up hanging limply over your head. Exhaling, imagine that the breath moves out of the side opposite to your lifted arm. Inhaling, imagine your breath moves into the side of your lifted arm and so spreads open the ribs of this side and causes expansion. Continue this breathing for about 5 breaths, allowing your trunk to be moved into a side bend by the breath. Aim to make your breath slow and languorous. To come out of the pose, imagine, as you inhale, that breath enters into the squeezed side of your trunk and, by expanding this area, helps you lift your trunk back up to centre. Exhaling, lower your lifted arm back to your side. N.B. your trunk should stay in the same plane as your legs and your hips should not move. Repeat to the other side.

Lie down on your back and bring your knees to your chest. Keep them close to your chest as you roll over onto your side. Either stretch your bottom arm out at shoulder level or place it on your knees to keep your knees on the ground. Stretch your top arm out in front of you at shoulder level. Inhaling, lift your top arm to vertical, then, exhaling, lower the arm behind your back. Inhaling, lift the arm back to vertical and, exhaling, lower back to the ground in front of you. Repeat 2 to 5 times. Repeat the same number of times to the other side.

Lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice. You could try imagining your breath travelling through different parts of your body – your breath warming, soothing & healing wherever it flows. 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.