Discover how we can express and deepen our understanding of Jewish spirituality through yoga. Being fully present in our own lives is key to experiencing joy, love, gratitude and even pain—in other words, living life to its fullest.
Led by RYT certified yoga teachers and CSR members Shari Balaish and Naomi Norman, and Cantor Melanie Cooperman. All are welcome. Please bring your own mat. If you need one, a limited number are available; reserve in advance with Cantor Cooperman.
No experience necessary.
What exactly is Jewish Yoga?
This year, we will be exploring the beauty of Hebrew chant, and how it can illuminate our physical yoga practice. When we chant, we "kindle a light in words" and that light can be a lantern on the journey through our inner landscape.
It’s a way of practicing yoga through a Jewish lens, and discovering how certain aspects of Judaism and a yoga practice can overlap, intertwine and enhance each other.
A yoga practice can also bring a greater connection to the “divine,” whatever your interpretation of that may be. In fact, the word “yoga” literally means “union” or “yoke” and is meant to connect body, mind and spirit. The physical asana (posture) practice that we think of as yoga today, is actually only one limb of Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga, but that’s a subject for a whole different article!
Getting back to Jewish yoga, let’s take it one step further…
In Hebrew, the word neshama refers to our innermost soul, “the soul which we are given that is holy and pure.” In Sanskrit, jivatman refers to the purity of the divine light that dwells within us all. Once again, we see how both traditions overlap. Or as Edith Bortman describes in her book, “Mussar Yoga,” “For students of Mussar, self-study allows the light of the divine soul to shine outward more brightly. For yogis, self-study illuminates the path inward toward the divine soul.”
We can look at the study of middot as a way to enhance and give greater meaning to our yoga practice. Or reverse it, and look at our asana practice as a way to embody and “live” the qualities of middot. Either way, “Jewish yoga” is a way to connect more deeply with ourselves, body, mind and spirit.
“With awareness I observe the pull of impulse, and wisdom guides my response.”
See you on the mat,
Naomi, Shari & Melanie