I will be showing up in my sweats at Temple again on Wednesday, February 3rd for another installment of our Holy Yoga series, a (sometimes) monthly drop in yoga experience in the back of the sanctuary. I’ll be there with my mat and sweats. I’m hoping others will too. Why?
In early December, almost two dozen showed up for Rav Yoga, a Jewish spiritual yoga experience with my friend, Rabbi Heather Altman. Rabbi Altman inspired our yoga practice:
Drawing on the Hebrew connection between “rav” (rabbi-teacher) and “rov” (plenty), Rav Yoga means Abundant Yoga, as well as Yoga Rabbi. In Rav Yoga, Heather united yoga and Judaism in a manner that was authentic to both beautiful traditions. Rav Yoga practice empowered, renewed, and connected our body, mind, and soul.
I first encountered Yoga as a Spiritual Practice at the Institute for Jewish Spirituality (IJS) retreats. The embodiment of mindfulness was transformative. For a few years, I practiced yoga regularly as a spiritual practice. For me, yoga was just as the IJS described it:
We work with our physical bodies by intentionally assuming poses that stretch, lengthen, and strengthen the body. We learn to pay attention more fully to sensations in our bodies as they move into various shapes and forms, and to the breath that flows in and out. Over time our bodies and our awareness become stronger, more flexible, more balanced, and more relaxed. As we release tensions and blocks in the body, even at the cellular level, there is often release of tensions and constrictions held in the mind and the emotions as well. As this process unfolds, we can experience more spaciousness and renewed capacities for movement and growth in our lives. As we return to the yoga mat to practice regularly, we learn to ground ourselves in awareness of the moment and in our attunement to details of our inner lives as they show up in the stretching, holding and releasing of the poses. And as the surface constrictions give way to a more expansive sense of possibility underneath, spiritual awakenings and movement can happen as well.
Since I fell out of my practice (though my wife pushes, prods, entices me back every so often), I figured that if I made it part of my Temple responsibilities, I would practice. Last month’s yoga session was great. I look forward to February’s session, led by yoga instructor/congregant Julie Buckley.
If you are in the area, come:
- Holy Yoga with Rabbi Kipnes, Wednesday, Feb 3, 9-11 am
- Julie asks that we each bring a large towel and a small, face towel in addition to a mat (or two large towels if you do not have a mat). If you have a strap, bring that too.
- RSVP to my assistant Susie Stark (firstname.lastname@example.org).