I, too, experienced a "yoga conversion" some six years ago. Around that time I had decided to step down as Founding Director of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality (where yoga, along with meditation, prayer and text study, is one of our main spiritual practices) and work instead as one of its program directors, reducing my work-load by just over six hours a week. People wondered if I might use those extra hours to write a book of Jewish spiritual wisdom, start another creative Jewish organization, or...? Instead, I was clear those six hours would be devoted solely to yoga practice. For the first time in my life, I was going to put "embodied spiritual practice" at the top of my "to-do" ("to-be"?!) list.
In my retreat-based work with Jewish spiritual leaders (www.ijs-online.org), we study the literature of Hasidism, where the movements of the inner life are given eloquent expression. The word "Hasidism" comes from the Hebrew word "Hesed" which means lovingkindness. Hasidism at its core is about kindness, love, generosity and acceptance. I was lucky enough at the time I turned to yoga to find a school of yoga which takes these virtues as its core teachings and pedagogy: Anusara Yoga. Anusara is the Hasidism of the yoga world. It has provided me with an embodied vehicle for teaching the heart of Hasidism. Imagine my surprise to be a nearly 50-year old rabbi now training to be a yoga teacher as a way to share a spiritual core of the Jewish tradition!
More information about text formats