Guest post by Mokshadharma Saraswati who belongs to the International Yoga Fellowship Movement and is a follower of Paramahamsa Niranjanananda of Bihar School of Yoga India. She currently teaches Hatha/Raja yoga in the Satyananda style in Chiang Khong, Thailand.
If you have a desire to be more flexible and have more mobility and freedom of movement then our short yoga class might be just what you need to get started.
I thought I would begin with the ANTI-RHEUMATIC GROUP OF POSTURES. This group is concerned with loosening up the joints of the body. Excellent for those of you with rheumatism, arthritis, high blood pressure, heart problems and any other ailments where vigorous exercise is not advised. They are particularly useful for eliminating energy blockages in the joints and the outer extremities of the body. The long term benefits of doing the whole series of postures are as follows. They free up the joints, restore metabolism, promote free flow of energy in the body, stimulate circulation and promote muscle relaxation.
As with any worthwhile exercise program Patience, Persistence and Practice are the keys to a successful outcome.
We are going to start working on FEET, TOES, ANKLES, LEGS AND KNEES. There are also 2/3 more challenging postures for those of you with more strength and flexibility and no specific health issues.
You will need 2 blankets and a pillow. Fold one blanket lengthways and place the pillow and second blanket nearby. Sit comfortably with your legs stretched out in front of you legs flat on the floor. If this is difficult tuck the pillow under your knees.
The base position
Your back needs to be straight and tall, neck long, head erect. Place your hands beside your body near your buttocks palms down. Your feet need to be active ( heels down toes facing up).
Breathe in and breathe out and stretch your feet forward pointing your toes towards the floor. Feel the stretch along the top of the feet. Now stretch your feet back towards you. Feel the stretch in the toes, feet, ankle and calf muscle. Repeat the sequence 15-20 times slowly and methodically and then rest when complete.
Stretch your toes
Keep your feet active. Tense and tighten the toes as you breathe in, hold the tension, then release on the outbreath. Repeat this sequence 15-20 times slowly and methodically and then rest when complete.
Rotating your feet
Spread your feet a little apart. Keep the feet active heels on the floor. Start with the right foot first. Start to rotate the foot clockwise slowly and methodically. Do 15-20 rotations then rotate the foot anti-clockwise. Work with the breath breathe in as you start the rotation, breathe out as the foot goes down and around and back to the start. Repeat then on the left foot. Rest when complete.
Rotating the ankles
If you have a pillow tucked under your knees remove it now. Still in the base position. Bend your right leg and draw the knee up towards your chest. Lay the leg across your left leg just above the knee leave enough room to rotate your ankle easily. Place your right hand on your right knee. Hold your toes with the left hand. Begin to slowly and methodically rotate the ankle clockwise working with the breath. Do 15-20 rotations then rotate the ankle in the anti-clockwise direction. Release the right leg down to the floor and work now with the left leg repeating the sequence. Rest when complete.
Rolling the legs in and out
Still in the base position roll you legs inwards so your knees connect and the toes of your right foot sit on the toes of the left foot briefly. Now roll your legs out so both feet are turned out opening up your inner thighs. Slowly and methodically repeat this exercise 15-20 times. Now do it all again with the toes of the left foot sitting briefly on the toes of the right foot. Focus and concentrate to ensure the knees roll together and connect. Work with the breath. Rolling the legs in breathe in, rolling legs out breathe out. Use the outbreath to help you stretch and flatten those legs out releasing them down.
Congratulations you have done the first 6 postures in the series. More to come but for now lie down and draw your legs up onto your chest. Wrap your hands around your knees and rock yourself gently from side to side massaging the base of your spine at the sacrum and releasing tension from your buttocks and back after sitting for so long. Remember not to lift your head off the floor use your pillow to support your neck. Release your legs down and wrap yourself up in your second blanket to keep warm. Close your eyes and relax completely until you are ready to get up and get on with your day.
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