Seated Practices

Sitting Practice

The following poses can be done by themselves and in combination. The main thing to keep in mind is to pay attention to your body. Avoiding pain is key. If anything does not feel right, skip or modify. The breath is most important. If we were in a face to face setting, I could work with a more skillful set of poses keeping your needs in mind. For now, I want to offer these as a starting point.

Easy Seated Twists

These sitting practices can be done on the ground or sitting in a chair.

Balancing the weight of the body on both sit bones along with keeping the back long are important. When turning to the side, do so in two steps and on the exhale. That is, take an inhale and on the exhale turn and pause, take another inhale and on the exhale twist further but don’t do so powering yourself through the twist. Listen to your body. Take time to scan from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head.

These sitting practices can be done on the ground or sitting in a chair. Balancing the weight of the body on both sit bones along with keeping the back long are important. When turning to the side, do so in at least two steps and on the exhale. That is, take an inhale and on the exhale turn and pause, take another inhale and on the exhale twist further but don’t do so powering yourself through the twist. Listen to your body. Take time to scan from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head.

Variations

Improvise and move in ways that feel good. Before starting, try lifting arms in the air on the inhale and bringing them down on the exhale. You can take one arm up and the other one about a foot to the side and leaning toward the side where the hand is on the ground.

Seated Forward Fold with Side Stretches

From a easy seated pose (1), find your breath. Take your time practicing even breathing at first and then adding ocean breathing. Inhale and on the exhale walk your hands forward to the point before your back begins to round. Keep your back long.

Take a moment to notice your awareness of the front of the body and the back of the body. Is the awareness even or do you find yourself sensing one side more than the other?

After a time of exploring, inhale and on the exhale walk your hands forward. Stay there without exerting too much effort. Take an inhale and on the exhale, walk to the right side. Go about 60% of your capacity.

Sense your body as you pause and breathe. Tent your fingers and notice your back.

Inhale and on the exhale move your hands back to center. Pause. Tent your fingers. Sense. Inhale and on the exhale move your hands the left. Tent your fingers. Move your shoulders. Explore sensation. Come back to center on the exhale and take time to notice sensations without judgement.

Do this sequence several times.

Cat/Cow Stretches

On hands and knees, place knees right under hips and hands right under shoulders. From a neutral position and on the inhale, arch the back. On the exhale, round the back. Do this for a couple of minutes. Exploring the breath and the sensations in the lower and upper back.

Balancing Table Pose

On hands and knees, inhale and lift right leg back. Point toes down. Draw your belly toward the spine. Sense your gluten and back. On the next inhale, lift left arm up. Reach forward. Palm faces right. Spread fingers out.

Sense the right side of the body.

Notice your balance. Hold for three inhales and exhales. On the last exhale, bring both knee and hand down. Repeat the same way on the opposite side. Do this several times. You can vary the movement by bringing knee and elbow together on the exhale. As you do, round your back, bring chin toward chest.

Variation of One-Legged Seated Spinal Twist Pose

Start with both legs extended. Point toes up. Lengthen back. Sit balanced. Sense your back and hips. On the next exhale, bring your right foot in as much as your body allows. Hug your knee. Take your time and establish your breath. On the next exhale, take your left arm and hook the crease of your elbow on your knee.

Lengthen and take your right hand and place behind you to keep back long. Turn to your right. Explore and remember to avoid pain. Hold the pose and find your breath as you do. Keep flexing your foot or pointing the toes up.

When ready, on an exhale come to center and repeat on the left side. Notice your back, hips and legs. Finish by stretching out both legs.

After your daily practice, take time to write in your notebook. Explore any sensations and emotions you are experiencing. Track your autonomic state (ventral, sympathetic, or dorsal.)