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 with your feet hip-width apart, parallel and pointing forwards. Place your hands in the prayer position (palms together) just in front of your breastbone with your fingers pointing upwards. Exhaling, take your hands downwards and move them apart sideways keeping the wrists in their extended position so that your palms end up facing downwards. Continue the exhalation as you rotate the whole of your arms outwards so that the fingers move from pointing inwards (towards each other) to pointing forwards, to pointing outwards to pointing backwards. As you do this, feel and make your chest lift forwards and upwards (putting a backbend into your upper back) and consciously rotate your shoulders backwards and draw your shoulder-blades together. Inhaling, turn your palms to face upwards and lift your arms sideways to bring your palms together over your head and, at the same time, lift your head so that at the end of the movement your eyes are looking up at your hands. During the inhalation, keep yourarms as far back as feels comfortable. Exhaling, keep your palms together and draw your hands downwards back to the position just in front of your breastbone and at the same time lower your head so that you end up looking forwards. Inhale. Repeat this movement cycle with your breath 3 to 6 times.
SECOND EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Stand in Tadasana with your arms by your sides. Make sure that your feet are about hip-width apart, parallel and pointing forwards. Bend your knees. Allow your neck to relax so that your head tilts forwards - try to let your neck completely relax and go floppy. Start to take this relaxation down the back of your trunk so that your upper back rounds and your shoulders begin to roll forwards and down and your head lowers even further. Place your hands on the front of your thighs and maybe bend your knees a little more. Continue relaxing your back from the neck downwards so that your trunk and head curl inward and downward and your hands slide down the front of your legs. Continue relaxing your back until all of your trunk and neck is relaxed and hanging from your hips. Allow your arms to go completely floppy. Rest like this for a couple of breaths. Uncurl slowly from the base of your spine upwards. Start by imagining that you have a big tail that you can pull between your legs to encourage the tailbone to point downwards, then lift the lower back to vertical keeping the spine above the lower back relaxed. Then lift the upper back to vertical, keeping neck relaxed and finally lift the head back to facing forwards.
THIRD EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Stand in Tadasana or sit on a chair or find a comfortable sitting position on the floor. Start with your hands cupped (with palms facing upwards) in each other just in front of your lower abdomen. Exhale. Inhaling, rotate the arm of your top hand outwards and slightly lift so that the arm and hand end up pointing sideways (palm still facing upwards). Exhaling, bring the lifted hand to your chest and at the same time turn your head to look in the opposite direction to the side of your lifted hand. Inhaling, turn your head back to centre. Exhaling, lower your lifted hand and cup it under your other hand. Repeat with the other hand. Repeat this cycle of movements with your breath 2 or 3 more times.
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. Imagine there is a wire between the crown of your head and the base of your trunk on which there is a bead that can move freely up and down. Imagine, as you inhale, that the air flowing in and down into your trunk drags the bead downwards and that, as you exhale, the air drags the bead up as the air flows up and out of your trunk. 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.