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 with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, pointing forwards and parallel to each other. Take a comfortable step forwards with one leg/foot – somewhere between 1 and 3 foot lengths forward. Check your feet are still parallel – if necessary, adjust. Consciously sink heels into the floor – especially the back heel. Imagine the tailbone sinking downwards. Slightly bend the front knee. Without moving the feet, attempt to draw the feet towards each other against the resistance of the floor – so the front knee bends until it is over the front ankle. Place the back of your hands on your lower back with one hand higher than the other so the little finger of one just touches the other thumb. Exhaling, lean your trunk forwards until it rests on thigh of your front leg, continue exhaling as you allow the neck and trunk to fully relax. Inhale. Exhaling, slowly straighten the front leg – only to the point where, if you straighten further, the thigh will move away from the trunk or, if this point is not reached, until the leg is straight. Inhaling, bend the front knee forwards until it is over your front ankle. Continue inhaling, lift your head and shoulders to bring your trunk to essentially straight (i.e. long back position). Exhaling, lift your trunk to vertical and then imagine your tailbone being pulled towards the floor. Inhale. Repeat 2 to 4 more times. Then step the front foot back to beside the other foot. Repeat to the other side.
SECOND EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Stand in Tadasana. Bend your knees with a sense of lengthening your lower back. Place the back of your hands on your lower back with 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 floor behind you 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 elongation along the length of the legs, slowly lift the back leg as far as feels comfortable. Hold for about 4 breaths. Slowly lower the backwards leg and then return it to beside the other leg, bending your knees a little as you do this. 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 in semi supine, with a rolled-up towel placed so it is long ways to your spine (i.e. not perpendicular) with just the thoracic part of the spine (upper back) and head resting on it. Bring your knees to your chest. Lift your arms to pointing upwards, and then bend your elbows to bring your forearms parallel to the floor, pointing away from your feet. Maintaining the current shape of your arms, swing them sideways to rest your forearms and elbows on the floor. Exhaling, press one foot upwards (so the leg becomes vertical or angles closer to your chest than this). Inhaling, bend the knee back to your chest. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 3 to 6 more times to each side. Reverse the arm movements for getting in to the pose and then bring your knees to your chest and roll over onto your side. Remove the towel and roll onto your back again.
FOURTH EXERCISE OF SESSION (4 minutes)
Lie in semi-supine and place your hands one on top of the other (palms facing downwards) just below your collarbone. Pause for a couple of breaths, then move your hands to your breast bone, pause for a few more breaths, before moving hands to upper abdomen, and then after a few more breaths to lower abdomen.