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Uttanasana Session 11 Image
Stand in Tadasana, i.e. feet about hip-width apart and parallel, toes pointing forwards. Allow your shoulders to relax downwards. Lift one foot and lower it to the mat behind you so that the “bottom” of the toes rest on the mat, toes point forwards and the rest of the foot is off the mat. Inhaling, lift both arms forwards to shoulder level and, exhaling, relax the shoulders downwards a little (as if you are able to rest the arms on a support that takes some of their weight). Inhaling, lift the arm on the opposite side to the backward leg forwards and up until it is pointing upward (towards the heavens). Exhaling, swing the arm round backwards until it points backwards at shoulder level – watch the hand as the arm moves so that the head turns and at this point is looking backwards. Inhaling, lift the arm to point upwards and, exhaling, lower it forwards to being parallel with the other arm at shoulder level. Repeat this arm movement with this arm 3 to 4 more times and then lower both arms and bring the back foot forwards to beside the other leg. Repeat the exercise on the other side.

Bend your knees, keeping your hips over your ankles, trunk upright. Rotate your pelvic girdle so your bottom tucks in and under, and your lower back straightens and elongates if it is not already straight. Exhaling, imagine/feel your feet/hips sinking downwards a little and, inhaling, imagine/feel your spine elongating upwards. Use your hands to check the shape of your lower back and adjust as necessary to make your back straight and long. Check the alignment of your head – you may want to tuck your chin in a little. You have now adjusted the shape of your spine to that you should maintain throughout this exercise – if you feel you lack the body awareness necessary to do this, do NOT do this yoga session until you have developed the appropriate awareness, without which there is some risk of an unhealthy strain on your back. Lift your arms sideways to shoulder level and relax the shoulders (as though you are able to rest your arms on a support at shoulder level). Maintaining the current shape and elongation of your spine, slowly lean your trunk forwards from your hips. Either lean your trunk to a horizontal position or to a comfortable position above horizontal : maintaining the shape of your spine and good body awareness is more important than how far you lean your trunk. Hold for a few breaths, breathing naturally. Come out of the posture slowly, keeping your knees bent and maintaining the shape of your spine as you lift your trunk back to the vertical position. Straighten your legs by pressing your feet down into the ground.

Either continue standing in Tadasana or sit in a comfortable position. Start with your arms resting by your sides. Inhaling, lift arms sideways until they are overhead, palms facing. Exhaling, bend your elbows bringing your palms together and bring your elbows and hands downwards until your hands are in the prayer position just in front of your breastbone. Inhaling, take your hands forwards until your arms are straight and pointing forwards at shoulder level. Then, continuing to inhale, swing your arms sideways at shoulder level. Exhaling, lower your arms down to your sides. Repeat this movement of your arms with your breath 3 to 6 times.

Either, lie in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice, or, practise a meditation or breathing sitting position of your choice. You could try the following moving, breathing visualisation : Exhale. Inhaling, imagine you are receiving a gift (e.g. love, joy – choose something that you feel would particularly benefit you now) from the “heavens” through the crown of your head and down into your heart (or heart centre). If you find your breath naturally pauses after inhaling, then, in this pause, imagine the gift permeating throughout the whole of your being. Exhaling, imagine giving the gift from your heart to all around, the whole world. If you find you naturally pause after exhaling, then, in this pause, feel your receptivity and openness to receiving from the heavens. Continue this breathing visualisation for several breath cycles & then pause to thank the heavens for their gifts before getting on with your next activity.