Early this morning, I lay with arms and legs splayed out across the floor and thought to myself, “I think I’m gonna die. Right here; right now.”
Holy yoga, rabbi. What were you doing?
Just that, Holy Yoga with the Rabbi, Congregation Or Ami’s monthly morning yoga, led by master instructor and congregant Julie Buckley. My teachers in the Institute for Jewish Spirituality encouraged us to deepen our yoga practice by bringing yoga into the synagogue. So we did.
Recently I have let my yoga practice slip – “be forgiving,” I tell myself – but the return to yoga this week was refreshing and wonderfully exhausting. Yet under Julie’s guidance, I realigned my body, and stretched my back, legs and hips. It was challenging for me (though the group was filled with yoga novices to yoga mavens) but rewarding.
Why is a synagogue hosting a yoga group and why is the rabbi allocating time to participate?
With the exception of that momentary death wish (“kill me now so I can be finished”), the hour and a half is centering and mindful. During yoga, I feel at one with my breath, the nefesh chaya, breathed into me by the Holy One. I feel whole, filled with shalom, shleimut. Is this not what is meant when we sing the Shema? Adonai Echad, we sing, God is one… God is the oneness, the Unity that connects us all.
For those of you who do yoga, is it spiritual for you? How is the experience Jewish?