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10- MIN YOGA  SESSION  BASED AROUND VRKASANA (TREE POSE)    (4)

Vrkasana Session 4
FIRST EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Stand in TADASANA. Lift one leg sideways, then lower it sideways while flexing the ankle so that just the heel rests lightly on the floor. Inhaling, rotate this leg as a whole along its axis (from the hip joint) so the toes point inwards. Then, exhaling, rotate the whole of the leg along its axis (from the hip joint) to bring the toes to point outwards. Repeat 3 to 6 times moving slowly and trying to explore the full range of rotation movement. Then return the foot to its initial position beside the other foot. Repeat to the other side.

SECOND EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Stand in Tadasana – this time with your feet together. Lift one foot up a little and place it so that just the very tip of the big toe rests on the floor level with the ankle of the other leg - the knee is then bent and pointing forwards. Rotate the bent leg (leaving the big toe resting on the floor) so that the knee ends up pointing sideways and the sole of your foot rests against the ankle of the other leg. (Hint: it can be very helpful to practise this with one’s back against a wall so that the back of the head, back of shoulders and buttocks rest against the wall. This aids balance and can gives one extra feedback on the shape of one’s posture.) Bring your hands into the prayer position in front of your chest and let your gaze rest on a convenient spot in your line of sight. Bring your attention to the bent leg and, without lifting the foot, have a sense of drawing the heel up into your groin. Imagine an inward spiral travelling down from the top back of the bent leg, moving down and round the side and then front of your leg towards the pad of your big toe joints: feel this cause the pad of the big toe joint to move slightly in towards the ankle of your other leg. Maintain this inward movement of the pad of the big toe joint and imagine an outward spiral travelling down the leg. Imagine the top of the spiral at the top inside of your leg; then imagine a movement (very little movement actually occurs) moving down and round the front of your legs from this point towards the pad of your little toe joint and feel this cause the pad of the little toes joint to feel as though it is being turned into your ankle. Imagining these two spirals travelling down your leg will encourage you to engage your leg muscles in a way that gently encourages your knee to turn more to the side. Ideally your foot is only very lightly touching the ankle rather than being firmly pressed against it. Hold for 5 or so breaths. Exit the pose by rotating your bent leg so the knee points forwards and then lift the foot and place it back on the ground beside the other, then lower your arms to your sides. Repeat to the other side.

THIRD EXERCISE OF SESSION (2 minutes)
Stand in TADASANA. That is, with your feet parallel and hip-width apart, your spine long and vertical, and with arms and shoulders relaxed. Lift one leg forwards and then lower the toes to the floor in front. Exhaling, swing the leg in an arc crossing in front of the other leg – toes stay on the floor throughout. Inhaling, swing the leg in an arc forwards and round to the other side – again the toes stay on the floor throughout. Repeat 3 to 6 more times – toes describing a semi-circle as the leg swings from side to side. Lift the foot up and replace on the floor besides the other foot. Repeat to the other side.

FOURTH EXERCISE OF SESSION (4 minutes)
Either sit to practise breathing or meditation, or move into a comfortable position for practising a relaxation of your choice. You could try the following as a relaxation practice: Imagine energy currents flowing in through your limbs to your centre as you inhale, and out from your centre, through your limbs as you exhale. 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.