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10-MIN YOGA SESSION BASED AROUND A STANDING FORWARD BEND  ( 12 ) 

Uttanasana Session 12 Image
FIRST EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Stand in Tadasana with your feet hip-width apart, parallel and pointing forwards. Interlock your fingers behind your back. Imagine your heels are sinking down into your mat (which encourages your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles to tone and stabilise your lower back). Roll your shoulders backwards to squeeze your shoulder blades together and, inhaling, encourage your chest to expand forwards and up. Encourage your shoulders and hands to sink downwards. Lift your arms backwards (arms staying straight) as far as feels comfortable. Hold for several breaths using the inhalation to help encourage the chest to expand forwards and up and, exhaling, slowly squeeze / contract your abdomen in towards your spine. Leave the exercise by lowering the arms and then letting your hands release each other.
SECOND EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Stand in Tadasana with feet hip-width apart, parallel and pointing forwards. Bend your knees, keeping hips over ankles and trunk upright. Rotate your pelvic girdle so your bottom tucks in and under, and your lower back straightens and elongates (not necessary if your lower back is already straight). Exhaling, imagine/feel your feet/hips sinking down a little; inhaling, imagine/feel your spine elongating upwards. Place the back of your hands on your lower back so the little finger of one just touches the other thumb – increasing your awareness of what is happening in your lower back. 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 entry and main part of this exercise. Maintaining the current shape and elongation of your spine, slowly lean your trunk forwards from your hips. Bend your knees enough to enable you to bring your trunk to horizontal and then let your arms hang loose from your shoulders – rotate your forearms (at the elbows) so that the palms face each other – if your fingertips touch the ground, that is fine but not necessary (or if easy you can rest palms on mat). Inhaling, lift one arm sideways to shoulder level and, exhaling, continue the lift of the arm taking it as far towards vertical as is comfortable (to begin with, this may well be more than 45% away from vertical) – watch your hand with your eyes so that your head turns and look up at the hand when pointing upwards. Inhaling, lower your arm sideways to horizontal (pointing sideways); exhaling, lower your arm back to pointing downwards. Repeat with the other arm. Repeat to each side 2 to 5 times, enjoying the gentle twisting of the trunk. Exit the pose by lowering the trunk to rest on the thighs and bring your hands to the floor (bending your knees sufficiently to allow this). 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. Note: this exercise can be surprisingly tiring for the quadriceps femoris muscles (front thigh muscles).
THIRD EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Now lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest. Leave the knees relaxedly close to the chest, move the lower legs so that the shins are vertical and lift your arms so they point straight up. Exhaling, relax your legs so that your heels lower towards your bottom and, at the same time, swing both arms to the same side so that one arm ends up lying across your trunk and the other is resting pointing sideways away from your shoulder. Inhaling, lift / swing your arms back to vertical and, at the same time, lift the shins to the vertical position. Repeat, swinging the arms to the other side. Continue for 6 to 10 more breaths enjoying slow movements and the gentle, smooth flow of breath.
FOURTH EXERCISE OF SESSION (4 minutes)
Move into a comfortable position for a relaxation of your choice. You could try the following : Become aware of the earth as a huge massive ball in space and your smallness in comparison resting on its surface – feel your trust in the massiveness and solidity of the earth and trust it with your weight. Allow yourself to let go and trust the earth will support your weight without you doing anything. Feel your mass connecting with the mass of the earth – enjoy feeling part of the earth and supported by the earth.. When it is time to finish the relaxation, thank the earth for all it gives you. Remember not to rush sitting up (and then standing) after practising relaxation as it causes one’s blood pressure to fall, which can cause dizziness if one moves too quickly.