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10-MIN YOGA SESSION BASED AROUND A STANDING FORWARD BEND    ( 2 ) 

Uttanasana Session 2 Image
FIRST EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Stand in Tadasana with your feet hip-width apart, parallel and pointing forwards. Interlock your fingers in front of the base of your trunk, turn the palms of your hands to face downwards and then straighten your arms. It is helpful in this exercise to imagine your tailbone being pulled downwards (this helps to keep your lower back long and reduces the tendency for it to be moved too far into extension). Inhaling, lift your arms forwards (keeping your palms turned to face away from your shoulders). As your arms lift up past shoulder level, feel (and make) your chest expand forwards and your upper back move into a back bend.  As your hands move up past eye-level, let your gaze rest on your hands as they continue to move up so that your head moves backwards - but keep your chin pulled in towards your throat so that the back of your neck stays long. Move your arms up and back as far as feels comfortable. Exhaling, lower your arms forwards - as the hands move past 'eye level', let your gaze return to looking forwards and allow your trunk to return to upright (from bending backwards) as the arms move past shoulder-level. Lower the arms until they are back to the starting position with the palms facing downwards. Repeat this cycle of lifting the arms on each inhalation and lowering the arms on each exhalation 4 to 8 more 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. Imagine that you have a long tail which is being pulled by a small gremlin sitting on the ground 2 to 3 feet in front of you. Feel the pull from your tail encourage your tailbone to curl downwards. 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. Allow your arms to go completely floppy 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. Then imagine the gremlin pulling on your tail so the pull causes you to start to uncurl - very slowly your lower back is pulled back to upright by your tailbone being pulled down - feel and experience this uncurling travel up your spine until the whole of your trunk is upright again. Then lift your head to face forwards. Repeat this very slow curling down and uncurling up 2 to 5 more times - allow your breath to flow however naturally happens focusing on experiencing the movement of your spine.

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 in namaste (prayer position.), i.e. place your palms together (fingers pointing upwards) just in front of your breastbone. Inhale. Exhaling, rotate your right hand so that its fingers point forwards and then straighten your right arm forwards. Inhaling, swing your right arm to the right until pointing sideways and turn your head to the right. Exhaling, bring your right hand back to your left hand. Inhale before repeating this movement with the breath 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 meditation either sitting or standing - eyes can be closed or open. Have your hands in namaste (prayer position) so that the edges of your hands are touching but with space in the centre between your palms. Imagine this space as a metaphor for the space within your 'heart centre' (emotional heart) and imagine this space filled with calmness. Finish by opening your eyes (if closed) and opening your palms so as to share your inner calm with the world.