This week I taught yoga in a few places other than my home studio. I was at my friend Barbara’s beach house in Little Compton and at the beach in Charlestown. The ocean calls to me; I love what my friend Pat calls the Galilee smell - salty, briny, maybe a little hint of bait combined with clam cakes! I love the sand under my feet on a walk and the sound of seagulls and fog horns. While I love the mountains, I know that I can never live far from an east coast ocean…and that smell!
While many people love visiting the beach, I have come to learn that some of us physically and emotionally feel better when near the ocean. As I started writing this blog, I realized I had talked about the power that the sea in a blog in May of 2022. Since that time, I have discovered that there is a name for those of us who feel this powerful pull of the ocean, it is called being a thalassophile. The benefits of being near the ocean are well documented. Many of us find the seawater’s shades of deep blue and turquoise naturally calming and rejuvenating. In 1904, René Quinton, a French biologist, published a book, “Eau de Mer, Milieu Organique”, (Seawater: An Organic Milieu), regarding how seawater can be beneficial and a source of treatment to various ailments. I used sea water to successfully heal my son Sam’s eczema when he was a baby, yes, hauling it home in winter was a challenge-he was not in favor of a February dunk! Ancient civilizations used the water for its healing properties and anyone who has visited the Newport mansions will remember the hot and cold running sea water in the bathtubs at the Breakers!
When we practice yoga near the ocean we can gaze into the blue water, inhale its scent, and find inspiration and calmness in its inherent healing properties. I walk on the beach all year long, in sun and snow, and can think of no other place that helps me feel better mentally and physically. If you are curious about what defines a thalassophile, enjoy these articles!
Our Practice – Crab Pose (Reverse Table Pose) - Ardha Purvottanasana
Who knew that reverse table was crab pose? I love the imagery and today we chuckled as we scuttled around our mats like crabs 😁😅😂🦀🦀
This backbend strengthens the arms and can help improve posture. It is a chest (heart) opener, strengthen the back, core, shoulders and hamstrings. Also helps strengthen the arms, wrists, legs and back. It can help boost energy.
Sit on the buttocks with the knees bent, feet hip distance wide and flat on the floor.
Place the hands on the floor behind you, shoulder distance wide and fingers pointing in.
Inhale and lift the hips, bringing the torso parallel to the floor. The feet should be under the knees and hands under the shoulders.
Breathe while holding the pose.
Meditating on the Healing Power of the Sea
I have mentioned before that I loved the book by Anne Morrow Lindbergh written in 1955 called Gift From The Sea. In the book, which was the bestselling nonfiction book that year, she uses the sea, and in particular individual shells, as organizing metaphors for each chapter. If you have not read it, especially if you are captivated by the power of the ocean, you must! For more on Anne Morrow Lindbergh and the book see the following article.
“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.”
― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea
Nurturing with Food – Zucchini Cucumber Gazpacho
Staying with the beach theme, I remembered this delicious soup that I have made and enjoyed at the beach. I am not usually a fan of cold soup, but I really enjoy this! And, with all the zucchini around right now, how can you go wrong?!
See you on the mat!