'Cliffies Emulate Cobras, Limpid Pools

Fourteen leotard-clad 'Cliffies rolled around the living room floor of traditionally staid Cabot Hall last night, in the second of the informal, after-dinner Yoga classes offered this year.

"Relax completely, girls," said instructor Ted Moynahan during the frequent rest breaks. "Nobody's watching you." And nobody was watching, except for the instructor, the CRIMSON photographer, and two couples giggling outside the door. "Act like limpid pools," said Moynahan.

At the end of the two-hour which included back bends, head stands, and innumerable stretches, a period of total relaxation put a few of the girls to sleep.

Buster Keaton Position

Moynahan, who took up Yoga only a year ago, and who is "Of course not!" a Zen Buddhist, explained the exercises with a faint Boston accent. One pose, with the left arm stretched forward and the right hand holding the right foot behind the back, Moynahan described as "the Buster Keaton position."

Some of the other exercises had names that were closer to the original Sanskrit. "The Fish" is done by lying on your back, with only the head and lower body touching the floor and the back sharply arched. "The Cobra" is a slow curl starting from a face-down, lying position, so that you end by looking at the ceiling. Both are done to stretch the neck and back muscles.


One of Monynahan's favorites is "The Lion," which he says cures colds even for people who don't do Yoga regularly. It consists of sticking out your tongue very hard and glaring. "It makes the neck muscles taut and sends the blood rushing like crasy around your throat," he explained.

Alternate Nostrils

Extremely slow breathing through alternate nostrils was tried by the girls "because it has a very profound calming effect." They also did "bellows breathing," a series of 30 very fast gulps of breath, and followed this with two violent breaths, one slow, deep breath, and then a long, hold breath with closed eyes. "This gets out the guck at the bottom of your lungs," Moynahan said.

Since the professed goal of Yoga is "molding the body and harmonizing its movements," Moynahan repeatedly urged his students to be conscious of the internal movements of their body as they rested. Incidental benefits of the exercises, he said, are "ellimination of fat and sag, peak beauty, peak health, so colds, no insomnia, no constipation, etc." "Peddle air--it up the old leg muscles and firms up these thighs," Yogaman Ted Moynahan advises one of his young pretages in Cabot Hall, Moynahan also had the girls looking like limpid pools and cobras "Some of them are just marvelous--they catch on so awfully fast," he said.