Sit ups

Stand with the feet at shoulder width. Fold your hands, bring the fingers up till the finger tips of both hands touch the respective shoulders, elbows pointing ahead. Breath in deeply. Towards the end of the in-breath swing the fore arms back away from the body and in a fluid movement, swing the whole arms back, like pendulums. Simultaneous with this backward movement of arms, complete the in-breath, filling lungs to their full depth, deep into the belly. By the time the in-breath is completed the arms are straight and at their back most position. At this time, you are still standing straight.

Now, while breathing out forcefully, sit down quickly till the thighs are parallel to the floor or a little below. Simultaneous with this sitting movement, start swinging the arms smoothly forward. On reaching the lowest sitting position, rise quickly to the standing position simultaneously swinging the arms forward, breathing in during this rising movement. When the arms reach the foremost position bend the fore arms at the elbows, bringing the finger tips back to the shoulders. You have thus reached the starting position completing one cycle.

The fast body movement of sitting down and rising is done, during the vigorous and forceful out-breath. As soon as the starting position is reached, repeat the cycle beginning with the in-breath. Let the arms swing to and fro in rhythm with the body, helping to nicely balance the body. Simply feel the sensation of in and out breaths or count during the out-breaths, in cycles of 3 breaths. Feel the tensing and loosening of the leg muscles and swinging sensation of the arms. The mind is engaged on two things – cool sensation of in-breaths, sensation of tensing and relaxing of muscles and movement of arms and legs. The sitting down and standing up movements are continuous.

Start with about 3 – 5 sit ups, gradually increasing to 10 or more, as the leg muscles become stronger. If you feel out of breath, stop and take a few normal breaths and resume the movements. Practice in the morning or in the evening or before dinner.

Any time you get up from a lying down or sitting position, make it a habit to breath out quickly and consciously. Any time you want a burst of energy, like lifting a weight, breath out forcefully, if necessary, through the mouth.

Benefits:This practice links body movement with the in and out breaths, thus enhancing the awareness of breath. It speeds up the progress towards the ultimate goal of spontaneous breath feeling, happening every time the body moves. It also develops passive awareness of body sensations in preparation for meditation. It removes lethargy and energizes the body.

Parent page: ‘Phase II – Physicals’

Next page: Rolling

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