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Vrkasana Session 5
Stand in TADASANA. Lift one foot and place on the floor on the outside of the other foot so that the outer edges are touching. Start with your arms by your side, palms facing inwards. Inhaling, lift the arms sideways; at about shoulder-level rotate the arms along their axis to bring the palms to face upwards and continue lifting until they are pointing upwards or as far as feels comfortable. Exhaling, lower the arms sideways; at about shoulder level rotate the arms along their axis to bring the palms to face downwards and continue lowering until they are by your side. Repeat 3 to 6 times moving slowly and starting the arm movements when the breath starts and finishing when the breath finishes. Then return the foot to beside the inside of the other foot. Repeat to the other side.

Stand in tadasana – this time with your feet together. Let your gaze rest on a convenient spot. Lift one foot up and replace with just the very tip of the big toe resting on the floor beside the ankle of the other leg so that the knee is bent and pointing forwards. Draw the heel upwards until the foot is halfway up the lower half of the other leg. Rotate the bent leg so that the knee ends up pointing sideways and the sole of your foot rests very lightly against the side of the other leg. Gently encourage your knee to point as much sideways as it will and, without lifting the foot, have a sense of drawing the heel up into your groin. (Hint: On days when your balance is poor this exercise can be done with your back against a wall or with your toes resting on the floor.) Place your hands over your heart centre – one hand on top of the other with palms facing inwards. Inhaling, straighten your arms forwards (at shoulder level) and then swing them sideways to point sideways in one continuous movement. Exhaling, swing your arms forwards and then fold them inwards to bring your hands back to rest on your heart centre (with the alternate hand on top). Repeat 3 more times with your breath, with a sense of opening to the world as you open your arms and folding nurturing into your heart centre as you bring your hands back to it. Then pause for a couple of breaths with your hands resting on your heart centre. Exit the pose by rotating your bent leg so it points forwards and then place the foot back on the ground beside the other – then lower your arms to your sides. Repeat to the other side.

Stand in TADASANA. That is with your feet parallel and hip-width apart, your spine long and vertical, and with arms and shoulders relaxed. Inhaling, lift your heels off the floor. Exhaling, bend your knees, keeping your heels off the floor – bend knees until your bottom reaches your heels or as far as is comfortable. Inhaling, straighten your legs and, while exhaling, lower your heels. Repeat 4 to 6 more times – aiming to start and finish the movements at the same time as the breath starts and finishes. Take care that the knees point forwards throughout this exercise.

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: Imagine yourself as a tree with many branches supporting lots and lots of leaves. Imagine your leaves gently caressed by air currents and as receivers of sunlight. Imagine the sunlight shining on you, shining on your leaves. Imagine receiving the gift of energy from the sun; imagine your leaves receiving sunlight and storing the sunlight energy ready for later use. Imagine the sunlight energy stored in you ready for when you might need it. Feel the resilience and endurance this stored sunlight energy gives you as a whole. Feel and Enjoy. 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.