All at sea
Noah 2010/5771
KOSHER SUTRA And the water pushed on the earth… (Gen 7:23)
SOUL SOLUTION Calm the chaos
BODY BENEFITS Strengthen abs and thighs

There are days when we feel as if we are all at sea. Chaos reigns and stillness eludes us. Sometimes it seems impossible to do everything we need to do, in the way we’d like to do it and in the time we’d like to get it done.

Our Kosher Sutra is from the Noah narrative, with water that flooded the earth for 150 days. The world was returned to a primal state, much like the sheer chaos that preceded creation. The rabbis explain that this utter disorder, the ‘tohu vavohu’ (Genesis 1:12), is more than just a physical formlessness. Rather, it is the state of confusion that is found in the mind of a child*.

The purpose of yoga, according to the Yoga Sutras, is to bring order to the chaos and to still the inner craziness that some meditation systems call ‘the monkey mind’. I recently heard a friend say that they wouldn’t even try yoga because they can’t focus their mind. Although it’s certainly not easy when we’re pumped high on caffeine and highly distracted with multiple messaging devices, we can always bring peace to the chaos in our lives.

Breathe deep, join me in five boat poses, and let’s sail these waters in peace.

*Sfat Emet, Parshat Noach 5639.

Marcus J Freed (c) 2010

i. Sit in staff posture, with your hands by your side, legs in front of you and back straight.
ii. Push your legs together and inhale, lifting them upwards so that they are raised to a 45° angle in front of you. Point your toes and flex the ankles.
iii. On the same in-breath, raise your arms so that they are directly in front of you, hands facing towards one another on either side of your legs.
iv. Remain in the pose for five breaths, come down sit cross-legged.
v. Place both hands on the ground and lift yourself off the ground in the cross-legged position. [photo]
vi. Sit back on the ground and repeat Boat pose. Do this sequence five times.

Modification: If you have problems with stability in the pose, initially keep your hands on the ground when you lift your legs. [photo] If you find that you are getting tired when you are reaching one of the later repetitions, keep breathing and work harder! It’s yoga – not sunbathing!

Advanced: Stay up for longer. And in between the boat poses, take yourself up to a full handstand. Another option is to take hold of your big toes with your forefingers. [photo]

Seated version: This can be done in a chair quite easily and will work your abdominal muscles even more deeply. Take hold of the sides of your chair, straighten your legs in front of you and lift your bottom off the chair. Make sure that you keep breathing, relax the face and focus all of your energy on the posture in hand (so to speak). Try to lift your sternum and look forwards.