The opposite of the Fish Relaxation where the emphasis is on inhaling and exhaling with tension and release, the Crocodile variations put the emphasis on holding the breath while you move with your body. There should be no tension when you do these Nakra-Kriyas. Your breathing should take on a rhythmic tone. Which vertebra is affected depends on the position of the feet, spine and arms. Note: Beginners should only do Crocodiles lying on the back. If you are more advanced, you can do these exercises sitting, standing. I will not introduce inverted posture Crocodiles. Those are for advanced practitioners.
Detailed Instructions for Crocodile Variations
- BREATH: All of the variations that follow have the same breathing instructions. Begin by taking a deep Complete Yoga Breath (if you haven't been to the Breath series yet and want to receive the benefits of these kriyas, learn how to breathe first here). I can't emphasize enough just how important this is. Please do it for your own progress and well-being. With each roll to one side (and there are only two on each side, back and forth), count 1,000, 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 and then stop when you are in the center again.
- Try first: This one is just the left foot crossed over the right foot. It's not difficult.
- Lie on your back with your head and back in a straight line. Feel your shoulder blades against the floor.
- Make a fist with your hands and press the little fingers hard against the floor (keep them there).
- Cross your left foot over your right foot and hold them in this way during this Crocodile series.
- Inhale the Complete Yoga Breath and focus all the energy in your solar plexus as you press is down and hold your breath through the exercise.
- On the count of 1,000, roll your right hip up to the left and roll your head to the right. Look at the floor on your right with your left eye.
- Touch the left side of the floor beside you with your right toes. (See image of Eugenia to get this right.)
- On the count of 2,000, simply roll to the other side and repeat the same on that side of your body. Look at the floor on your left with your right eye. Doing this helps you to reach more distance and creates more focus.
- Repeat this again on both sides to the count of 3,000, 4,000.
- Once you have gone back and forth (4 times total), exhale and return to center where you started. Now you have completed one Crocodile variation with your feet crossed.
A Few Tips Before We Continue
- After doing the left and right sides, exhale and relax your body to prepare for the Fish Relaxations. Your fists should remain on the floor with your little fingers pressed hard to the floor, just out to the side of the body so that you don't roll on top of them with your knees or legs. Look at how Eugenia places her hands to get this right.
- It is a good idea to work from the bottom up. In other words, start with your toes, feet, knees, legs, and up to sitting and standing.
- It is very important to do the breathing correctly. Even if you have a heart or respiratory condition, you should be able to hold your breath for the short time it takes to complete two rounds back and forth on each side (always a total of 4 times). If you have a physical condition that prohibits you from holding your breath, try to at least do 2 rounds back and forth and then exhale and inhale again for the next two. (This is ONLY if you have a physical condition.) For everyone else: it is very important to hold the Complete Yoga Breath while you do the rounds back and forth. This is how you get that inner air massage in the spine, muscles and nerves.
Nakra-Kriya Variations - Feet, Knees
- Place your left heel in between the first two toes of your right foot. Look at this image to get it right. If you were barefoot, your heel would sink in between the toes.
- Repeat the breathing and counting just as you did with your feet crossed. Bring both of your feet as close to the floor on the right side of you as possible. Even if you can't reach, just try to get them close. If it is easy, place both feet sideways on the floor. Turn your head to the left. Repeat this with your right heel in between your first two left toes. Do Fish Relaxations and continue to the next one. Remember, this is not a slow motion movement. You are moving while you count 1000 to the right, 2000 to the left, 3000 to the right, 4000 to the left.
- The image (left) is just the setup to do the variation shown below. Here the hands are placed palms down on the floor straight out from the shoulders. It is better to use your fists with the little fingers pressed against the floor for stability. However, if for any reason that is hard for you, you can do this and press the palms of your hands down instead. See below how this looks when actually done.
- Here it is in action. Eugenia takes a Complete Yoga Breath and holds it while she rolls her head to the right and moves her left knee down to the floor on the left side (it isn't necessary to reach the floor, but just move your left knee as far to the left as you can). Her left heel remains on her right knee and her right foot is turned in to touch the floor sideways. Notice how your left toe also touches the floor. Fists again.
- This is difficult if you are stiff. Practice brings success. Do this 4 times altogether, back and forth.
- The hard part is when you roll to the opposite side to place your left knee on the floor to the right side of your body. No image of that, but you get the idea (hopefully).
- Once you have rolled back and forth 4 times, bringing the knee that is up as close to the floor on both sides of your body, exhale and repeat with your right foot on your left knee. After 4 rounds, you are ready to do 2 Fish Relaxations.