- Here are the final exercises of the daily dozen. These are the primary moves that I believe we should all have in our tool bag. You can practice these daily. You'll feel better. The goal of yoga is to reduce suffering. This simple movement practice works toward that end. Scroll down a couple posts to find the first two installments of this practice.
- Lying on the floor with your knees bent and your arms reaching upward toward the ceiling. Press your belly toward the floor until you feel your low back on the earth. Then use your abdominal muscles to lift your head, and then your shoulders and then ribs from the floor. It is as if you could peel the spine vertebra by vertebra from the earth. The more slowly you move, the more quickly you will gain strength.
- As a beginner your knees will stay bent and you will peel yourself just about ¼ of the way to sitting. As you gain strength you will eventually find yourself rolling all the way up to a full seated position. Then you can begin working with your legs extended on the floor.
- Avoid using momentum to throw the body up from the floor. Keep it slow and controlled.
- 3 to 15 repetitions. Bring your knees into your belly and give them a hug when you’re done.
- Come into a comfortable seated pose, legs extended, cross legged, or soles of the feet together. Bring your hands to prayer hand position in front of your chest. Sit up very tall, use a folded blanket or other support under your pelvis if sitting upright is difficult. Use your abdominal muscles to feel yourself grow taller, lifting your rib cage away from the floor.
- Keep your eyes, your palms and your sternum in the same vertical plane as you twist your rib cage right and left over your pelvis. Keep the pelvis steadfast and immobile. You can check for the steadiness of your pelvis by noticing that your feet are not moving. The range of motion isn't large, this is the spine of your torso twisting, not your shoulders sliding or neck rotating.
- Repeat 5 to 10 twists side to side.
- Come to lying on the floor with your knees bent, the soles of your feet, your pelvis, your shoulders and your head on the floor. Take a few long breaths here before you begin to move.
- Press your low back to the floor and feel your tail bone lift, then rock your tail bone toward the floor and feel your low back rise. Pelvic tilt back and forth like this 5 to 10 times.
- Then when the low back presses into the earth, lift your tail bone, then your pelvis, then one vertebra at a time from the floor. You may just come up a few vertebra so that your rib cage stays on the floor, or you may lift high enough that you weight is on your shoulder blades and feet. Then reverse the motion and slowly drop one vertebra at a time back to the floor.
- Repeat this fluid lifting and lowering 3 to 5 times. If you like you can hold yourself in your lifted position for up to 5 breaths.
- When you are finished, rest on the floor, bring your knees into your belly and give then a hug. You can rock side to side here to massage and relax your back.
Corpse’s Pose: Savasana
- This is the most important and most difficult posture. Do not skip it. Take this important time to relax, meditate, and allow the body and the mind to receive the benefits of your practice.
- Come into a supine posture, lying on the floor facing the ceiling. You might need to put on some clothing to stay warm. You might place a small pillow under your head or a rolled blanket under you knees. Make sure that you are very comfortable.
- Relax. Fall deeply into your breath. Fall deeply into the floor. Allow yourself to completely unwind. Allow your body to receive the efforts of your practice. This time of rest and integration is essential for the nervous system to learn and build on what you have done.
- Rest for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Longer if you like.