This session is the first in the series aimed at building up confidence and stability and bone density by working with poses that address weight bearing on the legs and also the arms.
Yoga practice can both challenge and support the practitioner as they develop their understanding of what will best work as we age.
Start in Supta Baddha Konasana lying back over a bolster with the balls of feet pressed into the wall and a block under each outer thigh for support.
Come up and bend forwards into Virasana, placing the hands on blocks to better extend the spine and support the forward action. It is important that those with low bone density don’t over-round the back ribs and spine but bend forward from the hips instead.
Come up for Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing Dog pose) using blocks placed against the wall at about 45-50 degrees.
Start with the hands turned out, inner wrists in line with the inner armpit.
Then come down and set up with the fingers pointing inwards outer shoulder in line with the outer wrists.
Come to standing and take a chair.
Stand with your back to the wall, touching or just a little away for further balance development.
Step the R foot onto the chair seat, and then step down. I foot up, and down. Keep the body as stable and steady as possible. Be conscious of your standing leg, which acts as your anchor. Repeat 6-8 times.
Turn the chair and with the R hip facing to the chair, step the R foot up onto the chair, foot in line over the heel, the knee at 90 degrees to the hip. Turn the chest to face directly forward, R buttock forward.
Now try to find a similar action in Vrksasana, Tree pose. Standing on the L leg, place the R knee firmly up against the wall, R foot directly into the inner upper thigh of the L. When steady, raise the arms straight up. Change sides.
Place the back of the chair against the wall, and sit onto the chair seat facing outwards. Have a blanket or two nearby as you may need extra height.
From the chair, press evenly into both feet and come up to standing. Keep the feet straight and work to keep the weight even on both sides. Sit back down, evenly and smoothly.
If the chair seat feels a long way away and you find you are clunky in these movements, fold one or two blankets onto the chair seat, and this will make the movement up and down a little easier. You want to be consistent and steady
Turn and face the chair and go to 1/2 Uttanasana with the hands placed onto the backrest of the chair and the buttocks over the heels. Keep the head in line with the arms, and elbows straight.
Then fold the arms and rest the elbows and forearms onto the chair seat. Head supported by the arms. Take more height if needed to rest freely onto the chair seat.
Now Utkatasana with the feet hip-width apart and about 1.5 feet away from the wall. Place a block between the thighs just above the knees. Keeping the back pelvis firmly against the wall bend the knees to where you can still maintain even balance through the legs. If the knees start to complain, don’t bend that far. Go up and down 4-5 times.
1/2 Uttanasana with the hands to the wall.
Place the hands at hip height, shoulder width, and step the feet back to bring the buttocks over the heels. Keep the arms straight, sternum forward, and head in line with the arms.
Take a chair and prepare for Full Arm Balance preparation.
Place the back of the chair against the wall, the hands down on the floor, and step the feet up to the chair seat. Keep the elbows and legs straight. Step down and place the hands onto the backrest of the chair for 1/2 Uttanasana, then if accessible without over-rounding the back, hold the elbows and rest the forearms onto the chair seat. Uttanasana resting.
Now either repeat the last pose, or this time see if you can step the feet up the wall, bringing the trunk to a right angle, legs, and arms straight.
Come down and rest in Uttanasana, with the buttocks to the wall and placing the hands onto the shins or ankles, bending from the hips.
A little more arm work.
Headstand preparation, which here just involves finding support from the forearms with the head off the floor to build confidence in the arms and shoulders.
Interlock your fingers, elbows shoulder width apart, and with the feet to the wall raise the buttocks up. Keep the head off the floor. Hold for as long as you can sustain the lift.
Lie on your back with good space behind you where you can stretch the arms straight back without hitting the wall.
Supta Padangusthasana 1, up and down to work into and strengthen the abdominal area
Take the R leg and R arm up and the L hand to the L thigh, simultaneously. Arms back. L leg and L arm up, arms back, and so on. 8-10 repetitions.
To finish, place a bolster folded over up against the wall.
Place a half-folded blanket over the section of the bolster that is resting on the floor.
Place the buttocks and back pelvis onto the bolster/blanket section, shoulders and head resting on the floor, with blanket support as needed. Legs up the wall at about 70 degrees.