This series of asanas is usually used as a warmup to a practice session.
Caution: Resist the temptation to press the tongue against either the roof of the mouth or the lower palate. Keep the breath even and without effort. Try to move smoothly from one position to the next without hesitation.
Remember, practice is the key to success.
1. Begin by bringing your hands up to rest in front of the heart, with the upper arms lifted parallel to the fl oor. Press your fingers together firmly, pointing slightly away from the chest.
2. Bring your feet to rest under the knees. Distribute the weight from the balls of the big toes, across the sole of the foot, with the outer edge of the foot drawing back to the middle of the heel.
3. Keep the knees in line with the hip joints.
4. Extend the arms forward at the width of the shoulders, the palms facing each other. If there is a shoulder joint problem, extend the arms out to the side, with the palms facing up.
5. On the inhalation, bring the arms even with the center of the ears.
6. With the next inhalation, place the hands on the wall, stretch the arms up, retain your hips back, keeping the head parallel to the biceps.
7. Hold for 3 even breaths.
8. With an inhalation, slip the hands down to shoulder height, draw the wrists up and the shoulders down.
9. At the same time, move the right leg back outside the legs of the chair, and drop the right knee toward the fl oor. If the knee does not reach the floor use a folded blanket or bolster. If possible, pull the knee back into line with the hip joint.
10. As you advance the left leg forward, grip both hands under the knee, and with an exhalation pull the leg up sharply toward your chest.
11. With an inhalation, place the leg on the floor beside the other leg.
12. Lift the back waist, and try to bring the inhalation into the side chest.
13. On the exhalation, place your hands on top of the knees and press the elbows forward, as you rest your forehead against the wall.
14. On the exhalation, drop the arms outside the legs, letting the entire area of the shoulder girdle drape downward.
15. Hold for 3 breaths.
16. With an inhalation, bring your arms up and press your hands on top of the knees. Press down to bring the torso and then the head to a vertical position.
17. Grip the sides of the seat of the chair and thrust the buttocks back. Push down firmly on your hands to lift the buttocks at least 3 inches from the seat of the chair.
18. Hold for 3 breaths. Then on an exhalation, sit down, swing the arms forward, and place the hands firmly against the wall at shoulder level again.
19. Set the right leg back, and drop the knee to the fl oor in line with the hip joint. If a prop is being used, continue to use it as before.
20. Draw the leg forward with both hands under the knee, pulling the knee sharply toward the chest with an exhalation. Then as you inhale, place the leg together with the other leg.
21. Raise the arms up again toward the ceiling, parallel to the ears.
22. Bring your arms down, and as your hands become even with the forehead, bring the palms together into Namaste at the heart.
23. Sit quietly. Breathe smoothly and evenly for at least 30 seconds. Observe your breath and the balance of the body. Observe any changes in the spinal column, chest position, and softness of the shoulder girdle, and allow the eyes to gaze forward. Release any tension in the forehead or temples. This series can be repeated several times, alternating from right to left.
This series can be used to energize and also to calm the nervous system, depending on the intent of the practice. It increases flexibility, range of motion, and circulation in the limbs, particularly the legs. When you sit for long periods of time with little or no movement, blood tends to pool in the lower limbs, causing edema and other conditions. This pose helps to reduce the swelling. Digestion improves, elimination can become regular, and breath improves in volume, timing, and placement. It contributes to a general feeling of contentment and accomplishment, all of which are positive feedback.