Be an engine for action, and a grateful recipient

All of us who have studied for years with Laurie are accustomed to various projects around the abdomen (and the feet and hands!). This sequence is intended to show how the abdomen can be the engine at times but also the grateful recipient of actions in other parts of the body.  Abdominal control can also bring the sense of ease and relaxation within a pose that is mentioned in one of the very few yoga sutras that mention asana.  That sutra appears below, along with a relevant (and interesting) sutra from the yogic “superpowers” chapter of the sutras.  

YS III.30 By samyama on the navel plexus of the body comes knowledge of the arrangement of the body.

YS II.47 Such posture should be attained by the relaxation of effort and absorption in the infinite.

Check back to our earlier post ” More than a little stretching” for a pdf of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and a quick click to buy Light on the Yoga Sutra’s of Patanjali by BKS Iyengar.

The sequence below sets a mental focus on the abdominal work that results in lighter inversions. The whole sequence should not be practiced while menstruating. If you don’t do head stand, the downward facing dog is an good alternative pose. Setubandha Sarvangasana (bridge pose), off bolsters or blocks, is a good substitute for shoulderstand.

Let me know how it works for you in the comments. Click on Daves-abdominal-engine-sequence to open the practice sheet.


This is the invocation led by Laurie

The YouTube below has no images, but is an audio clip of Laurie reading Savasana instructions from Yoga:A Gem for Women by Geeta Iyengar. Click twice; it’s about a 10 minute Savasana

6 Replies to “Be an engine for action, and a grateful recipient”

  1. Thanks Bethanni. Love this. The abdominal area carries so much importance: support for our bodies and our emotions. Fear and sadness make us “sick to our stomach,” and the support of a yoga practice makes us feel supported and light.

  2. I went through this as a 45 minute practice. It could have easily been longer, an hour would be great for sure as well, an hour and half to get more expansive. I chose this one because I’ve been really reflecting on this sentiment lately of being grateful while also not holing up into an enjoyable self-isolation that is supported in privilege. I want to be able to support others as well as myself and share blessings that I experience. I also often feel fatigued by interacting socially so being an engine for action for others in addition to myself often feels exhausting and daunting. So I was so happy to practice this. It really helped me feel more inner heat and centeredness, confidence that I can take care of myself in a way that naturally cultivates the great energy I need to happily reach out to others, support and share – from a place of wholeness and ease. Thank you!

  3. Love the sutra reference. I worked the abdominal poses slowly and also quickly. Jatara Parivartan in sets – bent legs 5 times to right and 5 time to left, straight legs – 5 times to each side at different speeds.
    I was very ready to turn upside down and appreciate how the abdomen can receive, especially in inversions. In my inversions I added some twists and leg variations that echoed back to the beginning of your sequence.

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