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Virasana Session 1
From the upright kneeling position, bring one leg forwards and place the foot on the ground in front of you. Place a yoga block or a couple of books or a thickly folded towel beside the foot that is still pointing backwards (behind your trunk). Lower your buttocks backwards onto the padding so that your heel is just outside buttocks. Ideally the pelvic girdle will be level and you may find you need to experiment a little with the height of the padding to achieve a pelvic girdle that does not tilt to one side. Rest your hands on the front of your front knee – gently pull your hands against the knee to help encourage your spine to elongate and straighten upwards. Straighten the front leg forwards as much as you can whilst still keeping the sole of the front foot resting on the floor. Exhaling, draw the toes (and top of foot) of the forward foot towards the shin (so the sole lifts off the floor). Inhaling, press the foot forwards and downwards. Repeat 2 to 4 more times. Move the foot backwards until beside the knee of the other leg. Lift your hips and trunk up to the one-foot-forwards kneeling position and then return the raised knee to the upright kneeling position. Repeat to the other side. With practice you will find this exercise becomes possible, and comfortable, with decreasing amounts of padding (height) under your buttocks.
From the upright kneeling position place the amount of support used for the previous exercise between your feet. Make sure your lower legs are parallel (i.e. knees the same distance apart as feet), your toes point backwards and the “tops” of your feet rest on the floor (i.e. soles of feet facing upward). Keeping your trunk long and essentially straight, lower your buttocks backwards to the support placed between your feet – as you do this, use your hands to roll your calf muscles outwards (away from the thigh muscles). Adjust your trunk as appropriate to make it essentially vertical with the spine long. Rest your hands on your thighs. Bring your awareness to your pelvic girdle – imagine it as heavy and hence sinking downwards. Then bring your awareness to your sacrum – and imagine an elongation from the sacrum to the vertebra just above the sacrum (the 5th lumbar vertebra). Imagine the 5th lumbar vertebra as fixed in space and imagine the pelvic girdle hanging from it and sinking downwards into the support it is resting on. Bring your awareness back to the 5th lumbar vertebra and imagine an elongation up from here to the 4th lumbar vertebra. Imagine the 4th lumbar vertebra as fixed in space, and the 5th lumbar vertebra suspended from it and sinking downwards, then imagine the pelvic girdle suspended from the 5th lumbar vertebra and sinking downwards onto the support it is resting on. And so on, all the way up the spine to the head. Then pause for a couple of breaths with the awareness resting on the abdominal movements with the breath. When you are ready to release, press through the lower legs to lift up into the upright kneeling position.
Lie on your back with your legs in a crooked position and rest your palms on your abdomen. Keeping the loose curve of the arms, rotate them about the axis of the upper arms to bring the backs of the hands to floor. Exhaling, slide the heel of one leg along the floor (the sole will tilt off the ground at some point) so the leg becomes straight along the floor and, at the same time, rotate the arm on the side of this leg to return the palm to the abdomen. Inhaling, slide the heel of the straight leg back to the buttocks (to beside the other foot) and, at the same time, rotate the arm to return the back of the hand to the floor. Repeat to the other side. Continue for 4 to 8 more breaths, enjoying slow movements and the gentle smooth flow of breath.
Lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice. You could try the following as a breathing/meditation or relaxation practice. While inhaling and while exhaling, let the word and the meaning of the word “warmth” form in your awareness. Remember not to rush sitting up and standing after practising relaxation as it causes the blood pressure to fall, which can cause dizziness if one moves too quickly.