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Virasana Session 2
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 – as you do this, use your hands to roll your calf muscles outwards (away from the thigh muscles). 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. Actively point the knee of the folded leg downwards and then press the shin and foot downwards as much as you can without causing the thigh/buttocks to lift: hold for about 5 breaths. Then slowly relax the downward pressing of the shin and hold for a couple more breaths. 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 same amount of support used for the previous exercise between your feet. Make sure your toes point backwards and the “tops” of your feet rest on the floor (i.e. soles of feet facing upward) and the heels of your feet just wide enough apart to allow your buttocks to fit between them. 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. Keeping your toes pointing backwards, bring your knees together. Loosely curve your arms so that your hands are one on top of the other in front of the abdomen, palms facing upwards. Have a sense of the length between: the crown of the head and the end of the tailbone and also that between the shoulder joints. Inhaling, lift the arm with the uppermost hand forwards and then overhead whilst maintaining the loose curve of the arm – as you do this, allow the other hand to rise slightly. Exhaling, lower the arm forwards (maintaining loose curve of arm), taking the hand to below the other hand. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 2 to 4 more times to each side. When you are ready to release, press through the lower legs to lift up into the upright kneeling position.
Sit on the same support as earlier, but this time with the legs in front with knees pointing to the ceiling and soles of the feet resting on the floor – feet and knees slightly wider than hip-width apart. Rest your hands on the front of your knees – gently pull your hands against the knees to help encourage your spine to elongate and straighten upwards. Transfer your hands to one knee. Exhaling, straighten the leg without hands on it (aiming to keep the upper leg/knee still) and, inhaling, allow the leg to flex, returning the foot to the floor where it was before. Repeat 3 to 5 times, then transfer hands to the other knee and repeat to the other side.
Either, lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice or, sit for some breathing or meditation. You could lie down and try the following as a breathing/meditation or relaxation practice. Imagine a ball of nurturing energy on the lower abdomen. Exhaling, imagine nurturing energy flows down one thigh into the knee joint and, inhaling, that it returns through the thigh to the energy ball in the lower abdomen. And, on the next breath, the current goes to the other knee. After several breaths, let your awareness rest in the lower abdomen for a couple of breaths. 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.