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Ustrasana Session 1
Stand in Tadasana with your back against a wall – back of buttocks, shoulders, backs of hands and head resting against the wall. Ideally, your heels will be fairly close to the wall, if not actually slightly touching – this is dependant on your body shape. Keeping the backs of your hands against the wall, swing your arms away from your trunk to vertical, or as far as feels comfortable. Exhaling, transfer your weight into one leg and bring the knee of the other leg towards your chest (this knee bent). And, at the same time, bring the arm of the same side as your standing leg through the air (i.e. forwards and then down) to the wall beside your trunk (with a sense of pressing the hand through a viscous fluid). As you do this, take care to keep the back of the head, shoulders and back of hand (still vertical) against the wall. Inhaling, return the foot to the floor and, at the same time, lift the arm through the air to the wall beside your head. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 2 to 4 more times to each side.
Kneel with knees and front of pelvic girdle against a wall. [If you are well endowed in either the abdomen or chest area you may wish to place a yoga block or two between your pelvic girdle and the wall and have your knees the appropriate distance from the wall for your upper legs to be vertical.] Establish the feeling of the base of your trunk pressing firmly into the wall (tailbone pointing down and drawn towards the wall as much as possible) – it is protective of the lower back to maintain this throughout the movement that follows. Press your lower legs down into the floor – to increase the feeling of pressing the pelvic girdle forwards into the wall. Inhaling, lift one arm away from the wall (to vertical) and move the forehead slightly away from the wall. Exhaling, move the arm backwards, allowing this movement to take your upper back into a back bend (head and neck stay in line with the upper back). As you do this, allow your other hand to slide down the wall, keeping shoulders square with the wall. Inhaling, slide the hand on the wall up the wall, lifting the trunk and arm back to vertical. Exhaling, return hand and forehead to the wall. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 2 to 4 more times to each side. Lower your arms, and settle in semi-supine position.
Lie on your back with legs in the crooked position – feet on floor, knees pointing to the ceiling. Rest your arms on the floor beside your trunk with palms facing upwards. Exhaling, bring one knee to your chest. Inhaling, swing both arms along the floor until pointing away from feet at about 45 degree angle. Exhaling, swing the arm (of the same side as the foot which is still on the floor) round past your head to on top of the other arm with head turning in the same direction. (Allow the shoulder of the moving arm to lift off the floor in this movement). Inhaling, swing the arm back to pointing 45 degrees away from feet and return head to facing upwards. Exhaling, swing arms along floor to your sides. Inhaling, return the foot to the floor. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 2 to 4 more times to each side.
Lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice. You could try imagining a lotus flower in your heart area very slowly opening and then very slowly closing. Remember not to rush sitting up (and then standing) after practising relaxation as it causes one’s blood pressure to lower, which can cause dizziness if one moves too quickly.