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Trikonasana Session 5
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. Lift your arms forwards to shoulder level (palms facing downwards). Exhaling, keep your hips facing forwards as you rotate arms and shoulders round to one side (the trailing arm bends sideways at the elbow during this) – as you do this, your eyes follow your leading hand so that your head turns. Inhaling, rotate your trunk and head back to centre. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 3 to 6 times to each side. Lower your arms.

Move your feet sideways to about one leg length apart or as far apart as feels 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. Think about lengthening your spine (see previous ten-minute yoga sessions based around this pose). 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 side. Relax your arms and shoulders. Exhaling, slide one hand down the outside of one leg – your trunk should stay in one plane as your legs and hips should not move. Now hold the position for 5 breaths – allow each inhalation to be relaxed and natural, and, on each exhalation, see if you can imagine your stretched side relaxing, perhaps allowing you to bend further over. Lift out of the position while inhaling by imagining that the breath enters the squeezed side of your trunk and, in expanding this area, helps you lift your trunk back up to centre. Repeat to the other side. If you have time, repeat once more to each side.

Stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Lift your arms to shoulder level in front of you and imagine your hands are around a vertical pole (or place your hands on a wall/chair/table in front of you). Lift your heels off the floor – if you wish, you can place a rolled-up towel under your heels instead. Exhaling, slowly bend your knees, making sure that your knees point in the same direction as your feet – this is very important as otherwise you will probably damage your knees if you do this exercise much. Also, keep your trunk vertical. If you can, bend your knees until your calf muscles and the backs of your thighs are pressed together. Inhaling, press down on your feet (keeping heels off the floor) to help you straighten your legs. Repeat 3 to 6 times and then lower your heels to the ground.

Stand or sit for meditation or breathing practice or lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice. The following can be used as a relaxation technique or as a breathing/meditation exercise. Bring your attention to your breath. Let go of the process of breathing so as to allow your breath to become completely passive - almost as though you are not doing any breathing, but instead having the breath breathed into and out of you by the Universe – so that all you have to do is not get in the way of the gift of breath/life that is breathed for you. Then, see if you can feel the flow of air in your nostrils – the sensation will be very slight so don’t worry if you find this difficult. Perhaps you can feel the warm, moist air as it leaves your body and the cooler, drier air as it enters your body. Let your mind rest on the sensations you can feel. 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.