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Warrior 3 Session 1
Stand in Tadasana facing a chair (with the seat facing you). Transfer your weight from one leg onto the other. Lift the unweighted leg and place the heel on the seat of the chair so your leg is straight. Imagine an elongation from the hip of your lifted leg, down the back of the leg and out through the heel – the heel may slightly move away from as you do this, but it is fine if it doesn’t. Press the heel downwards (keeping a sense of space in the back of the knee). Place the backs of your hands on your lower back, little finger and thumb touching (so as to give you feedback about the shape of your lower back). Maintaining the length and shape of your spine, lean forwards at the hips until you begin to feel a stretch in the back thigh of your lifted leg. Hold this position, pressing your heel downwards as much as you can for about 4 breaths. Then very gently and slowly release the pressing down of the heel and hold for a couple more breaths. Maintaining the shape and length of your spine, lift your trunk back to upright. Return your lifted foot to beside your other foot. Repeat to the other side.
Stand facing a wall, just over arm’s length away from you. Bend your knees, keeping trunk upright. Rotate your pelvic girdle so your bottom tucks in and under, and your lower back straightens and elongates [obviously unnecessary if your lower back is already straight]. Exhaling, imagine/feel your feet/hips sinking downwards a little and, inhaling, imagine/feel your spine elongating upwards. Place the back of your hands on your lower back with one hand higher up the back so that the little finger of one just touches the other thumb. Check the alignment of your head – you may want to tuck your chin in a little. Maintaining the current shape and elongation of your spine, slowly lean your trunk forwards from your hips to about horizontal (or a bit less than that if you wish). Swing your arms in the same plane as your trunk to place your hands on the wall – fingers pointing upwards, forearms parallel to each other and elbows bent so the whole arm is in the same plane as your trunk. Transfer your weight from one leg into the other. Lift unweighted leg backwards to place toe on floor behind – still no weight on foot. Imagine an elongation from the hip through the lifted leg, down through the leg and out of the heel. Then, maintaining the sense of the hips facing the floor and the shape of the back and the length of the unweighted leg, lift the leg up to being in the same plane as the trunk – or less high then this. Hold for about 5 breaths with a sense of length between the crown of the head and the heel of the lifted leg. To release, reverse the movements you used to enter the pose. Repeat to the other side.
Lie on your back with your legs in a crooked position with feet parallel. Bring your attention to your neck: use your hands to gently lift and lower your head to make sure the back of your neck is elongated. Rest your arms close to your sides and pull your shoulders down away from your ears; then relax. Inhaling, imagine an elongation occurring in your spine. As you exhale, squeeze your abdomen inwards towards your spine so that your lower back elongates along the floor and your pelvis tilts slightly off the floor. Continue to exhale as you push /sink your feet into the floor to lift your hips off the floor. As you inhale, maintain most of the abdominal tone and direct the in-breath into the chest area so that it expands and lifts a bit higher. Exhale while slowly lowering your back down vertebra by vertebra (from the neck downwards), until your bottom is resting on the floor again. Repeat 3 to 8 times. Pause if it feels like your lower back would like it, bring your knees to your chest and hug them for a few breaths before settling for relaxation.
Lie down in a comfortable position and practise a relaxation method of your choice. You could try the following as a meditation or relaxation practice. Imagine a square and imagine colouring in the square with a colour that you associate with the Earth (i.e. – a soil colour). 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.