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Wall-supported Partial Shoulder-stands Session 4
Kneel in the upright kneeling position with knees and feet about hip-width apart. Move one leg forwards so the foot rests on the floor with the leg straight or nearly straight. Check your pelvic girdle is still level. Press the back foot downwards as much as feels comfortable. Imagine the tailbone sinking downwards with a sense of the lower back lengthening. Then engage leg muscles as though trying to draw the front foot backwards (against the resistance supplied by the floor) – and allow the front knee to slowly bend as the hip gradually moves forwards until the front knee is over the front ankle. Have arms relaxed by your sides with palms facing backwards. Inhaling, lift your arms forwards and up until pointing away from your hips and in line with your upper back – and, as the arms lift past shoulder level, let shoulders move backwards so your spine starts to curve backwards. (If the head “wants” to tilt backwards, this is OK, but don’t encourage it to do so). In the pause after inhaling, imagine an elongation up the front of your trunk, through the shoulders and up through the hands. Exhaling and maintaining the back bend, take your arms backwards, allowing them to move out to the side only as much as necessary to be able to draw them downwards back to your sides. In the pause after exhaling, remind yourself to keep the back foot pressing downwards and the tailbone drawn downwards. Repeat 2 to 4 more times – allowing yourself to move into a deeper backbend. Then, on an inhalation, lift the trunk back to upright, gently relax legs and move hips backwards until the front leg is straight. Then return the forward leg to beside the other leg. Repeat to the other side.
Lie on your back with buttocks as close to a wall as possible; rest heels on the wall with legs very slightly bent. Let your arms rest on floor by your side, palms facing down. Press heels against the wall so your pelvic girdle and knees lift and the soles of your feet come in contact with the wall. Press your soles into the wall so your hips and knees lift and your spine gently un-peels off the floor. Take this movement as far as feels comfortable, or until weight rests on shoulders (if weight feels like it is taken onto neck then you have taken movement too far). Bend elbows to bring forearms to pointing upwards and then bend your wrists so palms face upwards. Press downwards through the shoulders and elbows as much as feels comfortable and hold for 5 to 15 breaths. Gradually release the pressing down of the shoulders and elbow and let arms relax; then gently lower your pelvic girdle down.
Leave your legs straight and resting against the wall. Lift arms up to vertical with palms facing and resting against each other. Exhaling, lower both arms to one side so one hand moves up the leading arm and. at the same time. turn your head so you end up looking along the length of the arms. Inhaling, lift both arms back to vertical so the leading hand moves along the following arm and, at the same time, return the head to facing upwards. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 3 to 6 times to each side.
Lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice. You could try imagining you are lying in the palms of a Divine being who is nurturing you and keeping you safe. Remember not to rush sitting up (and then standing) after practising relaxation as it causes one’s blood pressure to lower, which can cause dizziness if one moves too quickly.