N.B. This Session Is Not For Those With High Blood Pressure or Other Reasons for Avoiding Inverted Poses - see Issues and Solutions Page.FIRST EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Stand in Tadasana facing a chair (seat facing you). Transfer your weight from one leg onto the other. Lift the unweighted leg and place the heel on the seat of the chair so the leg is straight. Imagine an elongation from the hip of your lifted leg, down the back of the leg and out through the heel, which may slightly move away from you, but it's fine if it doesn't. Press the heel downwards (keeping a sense of space of the back of the knee). Place the backs of your hands on your lower back, little finger and thumb touching (to give you feedback about the shape of your lower back). Maintaining the length and shape of your spine, lean forwards at the hips until you begin to feel a stretch in the back thigh of your lifted leg. Place your hands on the chair to either side of the leg. Inhaling, lift forwards the arm of the opposite side to the standing leg, until it is beside your head. Exhaling, move the arm backwards as you rotate the trunk to face the opposite side to the standing leg, arm now in line with shoulder girdle. Inhaling, rotate the spine back to facing downwards as you lift the arm to return it to beside your head. Exhaling, lower the arm to replace hand on chair. Repeat 2 to 3 more times and then return your hands to your lower back. Then very gently and slowly release the pressing down of the heel. Maintaining the shape and length of your spine, lift your trunk back to upright. Return your lifted foot to beside your other foot. Repeat to the other side.
SECOND EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Stand in Tadasana, back to a chair (seat facing you and a little over half a leg length away from you). Bend your knees with a sense of lengthening your lower back. Place the back of your hands on your lower back, one hand higher than the other, so the little finger of one just touches the other thumb, increasing your awareness of what is happening in your lower back. Maintaining the current shape and elongation of your spine, slowly lean your trunk forwards from your hips. Bend your knees enough to let you bring your trunk to rest along the thighs. Place your hands on the floor wide of your feet. Encourage your trunk and neck to relax further downwards. Transfer your weight from one leg onto the other. Lift the unweighted leg and place the toes (curled under so toes point forwards) on the seat of the chair so your leg is softly bent. Imagine an elongation starts at the back of both legs, travels down the back of both legs and out through heels – feel this encourage your heels to move way from your hips. Press as firmly through your legs as is needed either to reach the point where, if the standing leg straightens further, the trunk will lose its contact with the thigh, or the standing leg is completely straight. Maintaining this pressing along the length of the legs, add in a sense of pressing the backward leg downwards against the chair. Hold for about 4 breaths. Slowly release the pressing down of the backwards leg and let your knees bend. Return your backward leg to beside the other leg – bending your knees a little as you do so. Repeat to the other side. Exit from the pose by moving your hands forwards of your feet. Then allow your weight to tilt forwards from your heels (which lift off the floor) onto your hands – walk your hands forwards to bring your knees to the floor.
THIRD EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Lie on your back with lower legs resting on a chair seat so the thighs are vertical – do have padding placed on the chair if that increases comfort. Place a rolled-up towel so your head and spine between your shoulder blades rest on it – i.e. lower back not resting on towel roll. Rest arms by your side, palms facing upwards. Inhaling, straighten one leg so it is vertical and, exhaling, lower the lower leg to rest again on the chair seat. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 3 to 6 more times to each side. You may decide this is a comfortable position for practising relaxation.
FOURTH EXERCISE OF SESSION (4 minutes)
Either lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice or, stand or sit for some breathing or meditation. You could try the following as a breathing/meditation or relaxation practice. Each time you exhale, think the word and the meaning of the word “tranquillity”. Remember not to rush sitting up and standing after practising relaxation as it causes the blood pressure to fall, which can cause dizziness if one moves too quickly.