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10- MIN YOGA  SESSION  BASED AROUND VRKASANA (TREE POSE)    (1)

Vrkasana Session 1
FIRST EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Lie on your back with your legs in the crooked position – that is with the soles of your feet against the mat (feet parallel and about hip-width apart) and your knees pointing up into the air. Either have your arms lying by your side or place your hands on your abdomen – whichever feels most comfortable. Straighten one leg along the floor, keeping the heel in contact with the floor as you do this. Activate the foot and leg (of the straight leg) as though you are standing – i.e. your toes should be pointing to the ceiling. Have a conscious feeling of pressing through the foot (of your straight leg) into an imaginary surface – pressing with your heels, pad of your big toe joint and pad of your little toe joint. Exhaling, lower the knee of the bent leg sideways towards the floor and then, while inhaling, lift the knee back to centre (pointing upwards). In this movement the knee may not reach the floor, which is fine – just explore your current range of movement. Repeat this movement with the breath 3 to 6 more times. Slowly draw the heel of the straight leg back along the floor to your buttocks until the leg is in the crooked position alongside the other leg. Repeat to the other side.

SECOND EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
You are now lying on your back with your legs in the crooked position. Straighten one leg along the floor, keeping the heel in contact with the floor as you do this. Activate the foot and leg (of the straight leg) as though you are standing – i.e. your toes should be pointing to the ceiling. Have a conscious feeling of pressing through the foot of your straight leg into an imaginary surface – pressing with your heels, pad of your big toe joint and pad of your little toe joint. Exhaling, lower the knee of the bent leg sideways towards the floor and then allow this leg to relax. Wait for the exhalation to start and then slowly squeeze / contract your abdomen in towards your spine (starting at the base of your abdomen squeezing up towards your chest) continuing to increase the abdominal contraction until the exhalation finishes, then release the abdominal squeeze before allowing the inhalation to occur naturally. Repeat this breath 2 to 4 more times. Slowly draw the heel of the straight leg back along the floor to your buttocks until the leg is in the crooked position alongside the other leg. Repeat to the other side.

THIRD EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
From the crooked leg position, move one foot about a foot-length away from your buttocks and bring the other leg to your chest. Settle your spine downwards. Straighten the leg that is bent over your chest upwards into the air (only as far as feels comfortable and take care to keep the leg over your trunk). Exhaling, tilt that leg across your body while keeping both sides of your pelvic girdle resting on your mat – this leg movement may be quite small. Inhaling, lift the leg back to pointing upwards. Repeat 3 to 6 more times. Bend the knee to your chest and return the foot to the floor. Bring the other foot back closer to your buttocks. Repeat to the other side.

FOURTH EXERCISE OF SESSION (4 minutes)
Move into a comfortable position for practising a relaxation of your choice. You could try the following relaxation practice: Imagine a tree in front of you – any sort of tree, perhaps one you have seen many times or an imaginary one. Explore in your mind the different parts of the tree – the trunk, strong and resilient, connecting the roots and the branches; the roots connecting down into the earth and drawing nutrients and water from the earth; the branches spreading wide to support the leaves; and the leaves connecting with the air and receiving light from the sun. Observe and enjoy the form of the tree. 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.