Friday, August 18, 2006


Eamonn and I had a great time this past week, splashing in the warm waters of Holden Beach, NC. The few rainstorms we encountered just encouraged more naps and movie watching (Rosemary’s Baby, The King of Comedy, episodes of Strangers with Candy) and we only saw two jellyfish—there is a good chance one was just an empty sandwich bag. Jeff (the friend with the birthday) was a brilliant social chemist and the mix of personalities was dynamite.

One thing most of the guests had in common was an interest in yoga, so we had several classes on the beach. (The guests that had no interest were greatly amused at the response to this class by other beach goers—mostly curious smiles). We did the following sequences:

Work for the Abdominals

Sukhasana (Seated Easy Pose)-Concentrate on lengthening the side ribs to create space in the lower half of the torso. Balance the pelvis so you are resting on the center of the sit bones, not rolling forward or back.

Hastasana + Dandasana (Overhead Arm Stretch and Staff Pose)-Maintain the length you just established, while adding the stretch of the feet forwards and the arms overhead. Keep the spine long and the pelvis balanced so the lower back doesn’t overarch or slump backwards.

Cat Stretch-Start by lifting the tailbone towards the sky and let the arch move through the spine until you are lifting the head. Then point the tailbone down and open the back of the spine until the head drops forward. Repeat, slowly.

Bhujangasana (Cobra)-Use the palms on the ground as a support, but don’t push the chest up; let your back muscles do the lifting. Repeat, and this time you can use your hands to push the chest up and get a deeper stretch in the spine. Keep the hips pressed to the ground.

Salabhasana (Locust)-Deepen the work of the back by lifting both the hands and the feet off the ground. Keep the neck long and the shoulders away from the ears.

Tadasana + Gomukhasana (Mountain and Cow’s Head Arms)-Stand up to give the back muscles a rest and do a little chest opening. Try to press the elbows back and towards the center to deepen the rotation in the shoulder joints.

Navasana (Boat Pose)-Come back to the floor and try and hold this intense pose (see July 10) for at least 10 breaths.

Sukhasana with a twist-Release your abdominals by adding a twist to this seated pose. Let your exhales help you deepen into the twist, as you lengthen the spine by grounding through the sit bone and lifting the top of the head towards the sky.

Standing Poses

Tadasana+Hastasana (Mountain and Overhead Arm Stretch)-Align in this standing pose and keep the lower back in neutral as you lift the palms towards the sky. Standing will make this a more energetic pose, so be sure to keep your breath even.

Trikonasana (Triangle)-With your attention in the side ribs, try to keep both sides long as you fold over the right leg first. Repeat on the left side.

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior 2)-Try to bring the right knee to almost a 90-degree angle, while keeping the head lined up with the tailbone. Make sure the knee stays directly over the right ankle. Change sides.

Parsvakonasana (Lateral Angle)-Keeping the stance you established in Warrior, now fold over the bent right leg and rest the forearm on that thigh. Try to make a straight line from your wrist to ankle by keeping the 90-degree bend in the right knee. Repeat on the left side.

Flow of the following three poses-Use feedback to improve each successive pose—keep the side ribs long, keep the knee over the ankle, keep the hips level—as you flow from Triangle to Warrior to Lateral Angle on each side.

Tadasana+Gomukhasana (Mountain and Cow’s Head Arms)-End with the same quiet energy that you started with, this time by stretching out the chest and shoulders. Pause for a moment in Mountain with your eyes closed and notice what muscles were worked by these poses.

Now, open your eyes and go jump into the ocean (beware of any beached Ziplocs)! ©Brenda K. Plakans. All Rights Reserved.

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