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A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals

This 40-minute session brings us into the shoulders, upper back, abdominals, and hips.
It is well suited to morning or evening. As the sequence includes some mild inversions and abdominal actions, it is not suited for women during the menstrual cycle.

A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals

Start with a brief Supta Baddha Konasana, to open the chest and prepare for the session.
Come up to Virasana Forward, and then stand for Uttanasana, hands to the shins or to the floor.
Move into Adho Mukha Svanasana, Downward Dog Pose, once in the usual way, and one time holding the sides of the mat and extending one leg at a time back.

Stand in Tadasana, feet apart, and take the arms into three variations: Baddanguliyasana, Garudasana, and Namaskar.

Take your mat to the wall for Half-Uttanasana, hips in line over the heels.

Reverse that movement and walk the feet up the wall, hands to the floor – Full Arm Balance preparation.

Step down and go to Virasana Forward, and then to Head Balance preparation: once with the feet on the floor, placed against the wall, and once walking the feet up the wall, head off the floor. These are also good shoulder-opening movements and they help to release tension in the neck.

Come back into Adho Mukha Svanasana to connect the arms and legs back to the centre.

Now lie on your mat, away from the wall, and take the legs up to 90 degrees, back pelvis firmly o the floor; Urdhva Prasarita Padasana. Repeat twice, once with hands by the sides and once with the arms extending behind you.

Supta Padangusthasana, done quickly here, taking the Right hand to the Right leg, and then change to the Left. This starts to strengthen the abdominal area and to integrate the legs to the pelvis.

Come to sitting in Dandasana, and then bring the legs and arms up for Paripurna Navasana, Boat Pose, or V-Shape Pose. Try the same pose with the feet up against the wall, which gives support for the lower back but also shows us how to stay focussed and clear with the leg action required.

To release any lower abdominal and lower back tension, sit in Virasana, and then move into Baddha Konasana. This broadens the area of the lower abdomen and starts to work into the hips through its lateral upper leg opening.

Now go back to the wall, lying flat, with the legs at 90 degrees up against the wall.
After about a minute, bring the legs to Baddha Konasana, and then after some breaths to Upavistha Konasana, spreading the legs wide apart.

Then bend the knees into the chest, Pavanmuktasana, and finish with a twisting action, taking the knees to the side, to the Right, and then to the Left.

Roll to the side and set up for a short Savasana, bringing the eyes, face, and body to quietness. Observe what the body feels like, and let your mind be still for a few minutes.

Video stills from this sequence

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A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals
A short session focusing on shoulders, hips, upper back, and abdominals