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Layover from chest on chair or couch.
The aim is to achieve the maximum back bend. This will be achieved from a comfortable chest position on a comfortable base. The legs are allowed to drape over the shoulders and the natural weight of the legs and seat tighten the bend.
Entry to start position is achieved by a simple back bend to the chair (or couch) as at picture CLO1. Early in the bend contact with the chair will be made by the hands and they take a support role getting into the start position.
It is important that the student gets properly into the start position and she should wriggle herself (position CLO2) until the exact position of chest, chin, arms and hands for the start position is achieved.
The start position is seen in CLO3. Note that the chin is on the seat of the chair as are the hands and that the hands are just in front of the chin. The arms are in a position where they are providing maximum support to stop any forward roll off the chair. This position is another "comfort zone" one. I have deliberately chosen a furniture item that the student will know well. Its surface is soft and comfortable and it is relatively low to the ground. No balance is required and the student will be able to relax while doing the exercise part.
Bring the legs over as in position CLO4. The toes can be pointed and they should touch the floor. While most seats are low enough to allow this an unusually high seat and student with short legs may need suitably sized cushions placed on the floor so that the toes can touch this and take load if needed because this is the "rest" position.
Both legs are then raised as in position CLO5 and the bend in the back tightens.
From this position one leg is brought back into position as shown in position CLO6 and then returned to position as CLO5. Then the other leg is taken through the same motion. This continuously performed "cycling type" motion will tighten the bend considerably and after the specified number of cycling actions the student returns to the rest position as in CLO4.
This exercise will have a large number of repetitions resting in CLO4 between them. As the student does more and more of this exercise she will start to feel her seat make contact with her upper back from time to time.
At this stage she will be able to relax and if she allows the weight of the legs and seat to take over while in the position of picture CLO4 she will, in time, be able to get her seat to touch her own back and rest in the position.
This exercise will have prepared the back for any tight bending. Now that the student is very flexible in the back it is time to introduce other positions where some balance is required. For example, a standing back bend would now be introduced because the back is supple and only the standing balance will be new.
Utilizing the elbow stand for back bending. Although a hand stand requires considerable balance a stand done on the forearms (elbow stand) is relatively easy. The elbow stand is a very useful balance position because considerable back bending can be carried out in this balance.
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