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10-min YOGA  SESSION  BASED AROUND UTTIHITA TRIKONASANA-Iyengar style triangle pose (4)

Uttihita Trikonasana Session 4
Stand in TADASANA. Transfer your weight to one leg and lift the knee of the other leg forwards – you can aid your balance by gazing at a spot and, if you wish, by having your back against the wall. Allow the lifted knee to be relaxed (forelimb dangling from knee) and lift the knee as high as you are able without the aid of your hands. Also without the aid of your hands, and keeping your knee high, draw the knee as far as you are able across your body (i.e. if left knee, draw knee to the right side), hold for a few breaths before releasing and returning the foot to the floor. Repeat to the other side.
Stand in TADASANA. Step your feet wide apart – about leg length apart or as far apart as feels comfortable. Start with both feet pointing forwards. Turn the right foot to point sideways to the right. Turn the left foot inwards by about 30º or as much as feels comfortable (if that is less). Engage your quadriceps femoris muscles by drawing your kneecaps upwards and tone your thighs generally – it may be helpful to imagine that the thigh bone (the femur) can suck the thigh muscles onto itself. Anchor the right leg by activating the hip rotators either by applying inward then outward spirals (see sessions 1 & 2) or by pressing the pad of the big toe joint firmly downwards and maintaining this as you roll weight across the foot to press the outside edge of the foot also firmly downwards. Now, in a similar way, activate the left leg to draw the pelvic girdle closer to facing forwards. Imagine your heels and the outside edges of your feet sinking (or pressing) down into the floor and engage your leg muscles as though trying to draw your feet towards each other against the resistance supplied by the floor. Lift your arms sideways to shoulder level &, leaving the arms there, allow shoulders to relax. Rotate arms to bring the palms to facing forwards (fingers together) & imagine an elongation going from the spine (between your shoulders) through your shoulders, arms and out through your fingers. Apply inward arm spirals: imagine an elongation travels down spirals that start at top of the top back of your arms (behind your shoulders), & move down and round the sides of your arms to the pad of your index finger joints causing the pad of the index finger joints to be pressed into an imaginary surface (with almost no actual forward movement of the pad of the finger joint). Maintaining the inward arm spirals, apply outward arm spirals. Imagine an elongation travels down a spiral which starts at the top inside of your arms (i.e. in your armpits), moves down and round the front and then the sides of your arms to pads of your little finger joints, causing the pads of the little finger joints to be pressed down against your imaginary surface (with almost no actual downwards movement of the pad of the little finger joint). Exhaling, bend your trunk to the right; inhaling, imagine elongation from spine to finger tips; exhaling, imagine a contraction from left arm-pit to left hip and lift trunk back to centre; inhaling, recheck activity of arms and legs and reactive them as necessary. Ideally your hips will not move at all – if the legs lose their activity, there is a tendency to allow the hips to move in a way that allows the trunk to appear to move further into a side bend but in fact this loses much of the benefit of this practice. Also aim to keep the arms and shoulders in a straight line throughout. Repeat up to 3 more times. Release by first relaxing and lowering the arms and then releasing sense of drawing the feet towards each other, then the leg spirals and then turn the feet to face forwards and step feet together. Repeat to the other side.
Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest. Place your palms over the front of your knees. Inhaling, straighten one leg whilst leaving the knee essentially where it is resting in your hand and, at the same time, lift the other arm into the air and then lower to the floor pointing away from the hip of the straightened leg. Exhaling, relax and flex the leg downwards, at the same time returning the hand (of the other side) through the air to the other knee. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 2 to 3 more times to each side.
Lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice. You could try: imagining while inhaling that you receive love from the right side and, exhaling, you send love out to the left, then, on the next inhalation, receiving love from the left side and, exhaling, sending love to your right. Continue for a few breaths, then, after a few breaths, after sending love out to the right, imagine receiving from both right and left while inhaling and sending out love to both right and left while exhaling. Pause for a couple of breaths with your awareness resting at your centre. 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.