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Uttanasana Session 9 Image
N.B. This Session Is Not For Those With High Blood Pressure or Other Reasons for Avoiding Inverted Poses  -  see Issues and Solutions Page.
Stand in Tadasana, i.e. with your 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 “top” of the toes rest on the mat and the toes point backwards (if this is uncomfortable, you can place the base of the toes on the mat so they point forwards – heel still off the mat). Inhaling, lift the arms sideways until pointing overhead (or as far as feels comfortable) and, exhaling, lower your arms sideways back to your sides. Repeat for 2 to 4 breaths and then return your back foot to beside the other one. Repeat for the same number of the breaths with the other foot in the backward position.

Stand in Tadasana with your feet hip-width apart, parallel and pointing forwards. Bend your knees, keeping your hips over your ankles and your trunk upright. Rotate your pelvis so your bottom tucks in and under, and your lower back straightens and elongates – obviously not necessary if your lower back is already straight. Exhaling, imagine/feel your feet/hips sinking downwards a little and, 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 the entry phase, 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. 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 the horizontal position. Exhaling, try to tilt your pelvis forwards (i.e. as though trying to stick your bottom up in the air) and take this movement as far as you can; then continue the downward movement along your spine until all of your trunk rests on your thighs; then allow your trunk and neck to completely relax. Inhaling and keeping your chin tucked inwards towards your neck, lift the shoulders (leaving the lower back relaxed) until your shoulders are at the same height as your hips; then lift the back of your neck a little (still keeping the chin tucked inwards) to slightly increase the backbend in the upper back. Repeat this movement slowly with your breath for 3 to 6 breaths, exploring and enjoying the movements at your spinal joints. Exit from the lowered trunk position by bringing 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.

Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest. Leave the knees relaxed close to the chest. Inhaling, straighten both legs just enough to bring the shins to vertical, keeping the knees close to the chest. Exhaling, relax the legs back to the fully flexed position. Continue for 6 to 10 more breaths enjoying slow movements and the gentle smooth flow of breath.

Move into a comfortable position for practising a relaxation of your choice. You could try the following relaxation practice: Imagine you are lying in a walled garden on some blankets and the day is pleasantly warm. This a loved and very well cared for garden – with clear paths and sections for herbs, fruit plants, vegetables, flowers and storage places for tools and garden produce. Imagine the walls, which protect the garden form cold winds, and define boundary of the garden. This is a safe place – safe and peaceful. Notice any smells (perhaps scent from flowers or herb plants). Notice the sounds (perhaps birds or water sounds). Rest where you are, enjoying the peace and calm. When it is time to finish the relaxation, thank the garden for the rest and peace and remember you are lying on a mat. 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.