Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Preparing for Passover with Yoga

Once again we are cleaning out cabinets and polishing tables and chairs and
wanting all of our effort to be meaningful and contribute to our inner growth and
spiritual development.When we clean our homes we are looking for leven or
"chometz", but it has become a custom amongst many to utilize the season and
the time for "Spring Cleaning" which is still a search for "chometz" but so much more.

With Pesach inspired Spring Cleaning, we are formally looking for chometz but in
fact we are doing so much more, we are letting go of all that no longer serves the
needs of our family or ourselves.... old clothes that no longer fit, old dishes we
no longer use and hopefully old beliefs and attitudes that no longer serve us.
"Chometz" is leaven,which is flour and water that has fermented or become
expanded in some way through a fermentation process...that fermentation process
corresponds to the inflation of the ego self, the self-centered, limited, animal
instinctual self... during our cleaning and during the holiday, we want to achieve a
surrendering of this self to our higher, G-d centered and more holy ultruistic and
"other-oriented" self, we want to let go of the small self, to allow space for the
bigger and surrendered to G-d self....

In Yoga, there are a series of Warrior poses, one of them is called
"The Surrendered Warrior" Pose. I usually offer the Surrendered Warrior in class after we have done Warrior 1 and/or Warrior 2. Warrior 1 pose offers a feeling of standing strong on the base of one's spread legs and an opportunity to feel one's strength and one's capacity to reach upwards either seeking or offering inspiration. In Warrior 2 pose as we look over one of our outstretched arms and as we gaze beyond the hand, we can form an intention or visualization of what we want/ hope to achieve and what we would like to manifest in the future.....Surrendered warrior offers us an opportunity to hand that intention over to Hashem as we turn our front palm heavenward and literally surrender that intension upwards. It's a wonderful embodied way to experience that forming of an intention and then the handling of it over to something higher and greater than ourselves. As we lean backward in this pose, we can feel and understand that our efforts can only take us so far, but at a certain point, not only do we stand back, but we can literally lean back in deference to our handing of power over to the G-d of all things and outcomes.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Doula Training!!!

So it seems in just a week I will be able to add "Dona Trained Doula " to my professional CV! (i'myH!) It is most exciting and opens the possibility for more work around birthing moms, both with pre-natal yoga and support and postpartum yoga and support! It feels like a really wonderful development and offers the awesome privilege of assisting women in a time that could be so wonderful, but for many unfortunately is often filled with anxiety, suffering, and fear.
I will add more to this in the coming weeks!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The value of values and a clear perspective!

The holiday of Shavuot, when Jews worldwide celebrate the receiving of the Torah,  is just over a week away and its time for us to ask ourselves a fundamental question?What Role does Torah play in our lives?
Do we view the world and are our values truly shaped by a Torah- Centric lens, or are our views and opinions shaped more by the current trends on facebook, the opinions on NPR or our most recently watched movie? 
We are living in very challenging, confusing and unsettling times... . so many values, beliefs and centuary old institutions have come into question; political ideologies or religious  theologies that just a few years ago seemed solid and dependable are no longer trusted or relied upon and people dont trust  not just used car sales-people or politicians, but we no longer trust
the Media
the Police
the Banks
 or the Economy!
Living in a world where so much cannot be trusted or relied upon is very unsettling. NPR itself has a radio show right now called "The United States of Anxiety".

But as Jews we do have something very precious... we do have something that despite all of this uncertainty and dissillutionment is still Rock Solid...
we do have the Torah!
Torah values are not dependent on current trends...Torah values provide light and clarity in an ever increasing muddled reality, but unless we involve ourselves with authentic Torah learning, we cannot take advantage of this great gift. Without Torah learning, even if we have taken on the commitments to be observant,  we remain vulnerable to having our world view shaped by every  social trend or new" ism" out there.
and of course we cannot inspire our kids unless we are truly connected!
 Learning Torah gives us the opportunity to shape our own outlook and perspective into one that is Torah-True....
I encourage you to join me, every  Wednesday evening at 7:45pm as we connect to authentic Torah,
discussing the weekly Parsha or  upcoming holidays with Chassidic insights, some Tanya and of course a great cup of Tea.

Torah Learning Circle: TLC
Chassidic Insights into living your best life!
(Featuring Torah, Tea and Tanya!)
Wednesday evenings at 7:45pm

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A biblical perspective on "Tweeting".

As this is a period of polishing our character and "personal vessel"  in preparation for receiving the Torah in a few weeks, I  thought I would share this brief food for thought...from Parsha Metzora.
Did you know the Torah  speaks  about tweeting??
A person who was on a sophistiated level spiritually and who spoke badly about others could become afflicted with a type of "disease" called "Tzara'ath" which would manifest, innitially on the walls of the  gossipers home, then on his or her clothing and finally, if the gossiper is still unrepentant, on the skin. 
One of the rituals necessary to get the affected person healed involved an offering that involved two birds, one that would be sacrificed and one that would be let free.
The first thing that I found  amazing about this ritual  is that two birds are used... to teach us that as dangerous as negative speech is,  speech is very important, and often as bad as it can be to speak negatively, it is also bad not to speak up when the right words need to be said!  There are times when keeping silent can be a grave error.... just as we need to watch ourselves from speeking badly, we must not neglect speeking up for what we believe in or to defend what we believe in when the sitiuation demands;  even offering a comforting word to someone in need might make a critical difference, ...thus the second bird,.....who is set free! 
The second point that I found fascinating is brought by the biblical commentator Rashi who explains why specifically birds are used in the rectification ritual..,"Because lesions of Tzara'ath come as a result of derogatory speech, which is done by chattering. Therefore for his cleansing, this person is required to bring birds, which twitter constantly with chirping sounds."
Such a great cautionary tale about using Twitter without due concideration!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Excited to share....

So this blog is a place to share, ideas, thoughts and different musings. Mostly I have used this blog to write about theoretical concepts and ideas, but today I feel I just want to share something personal. The picture featured here was just taken this past Sunday, and it is is of me holding my IAYT Certification. The IAYT is the International Association of Yoga Therapists.  I had thought it would be  quite a grueling process to actually get this certification, but through tremendous Hashgochah Pratis, ( Divine Guidance and Divine Protection) I was able to qualify for a pathway that made it quite manageable and possible... this particular pathway will no longer be open after June of this year,  and from then on, achieving such a certification will truly require a much more intense and prolonged commitment. I am so grateful to Hashem that I started my training when I did, and that I was thus able to qualify for this in a manner that while still incredibly demanding and time- consuming, was actually possible for me to accomplish despite all of my other commitments as wife, mother, grandmother, ( baruch Hashem) and teacher . 

I believe that all of my life I have wanted to serve in some way, offer my talents to others in a manner that could be truly helpful and to quote a cliche,  " be of service". For many years I dedicated myself to teaching Torah, and I believe that in the process many folks ( somehow seems like the best word for now) benefitted a great deal by acquiring insight and information about our timeless heritage,  and of course as every teacher knows, I benefitted the most from all of that teaching, not only through getting so much more familiar with all of our amazing texts but having many wonderful Torah students over the years from whom I learnt a great deal. However, while involved in all that theoretical and philosophical teaching,  I often wondered if I  was doing justice to the material at hand and if there was a deeper, more holistic manner in which I could not only convey the deep concepts being discussed, but also accomplish the deep spiritual work required myself more fully and authentically.  I also wondered if my teaching was really making a difference on an essential level in the lives of those whom I taught or was I  just sharing "information" that was intellectually engaging.

We live in the world as a soul within a body and are truly a combination of Soul and Body or Body and Soul, and it began to occur to me, that true change,  true learning and transformation really does need to involve both body and soul... and thus began my journey of learning to teach Yoga as well as Torah. ( I have practiced yoga since I was about  14 years old, but somehow becoming a teacher of the practice, and sharing it with others marked some sort of critical shift.) 

The world is a very challenging place and so many of us are hurt and damaged in some way. I am so grateful that I am on a path and continue to learn more every day, how to bring in the gifts of deep breathing, stretching, strengthening, meditation  and learning to let go, not only for the benefit of  my students and clients, but as mentioned above, as every teacher knows, we teach and share in order to learn ourselves... I am grateful I  am learning everyday how I  can breathe more deeply, slow myself down more frequently and in the process, learn to listen more attentively while I  stretch and strengthen. 

My commitment when I began this journey of learning how to teach Yoga was ultimately to assist and deepen my sharing of Torah,  in an integrated and holistic mind-body-soul combination, and I continue to be motivated to do so.
Currently,  I am teaching a class called "A Taste of Tanya", hopefully in this class, I can achieve the kind of integrated learning that I have been aiming for.

The point of this blog was to share my joy and gratitude to Hashem, that I can now truly claim the title of Therapist, which in the context of my almost 54 years is a big deal and in a way a culmination of a lifelong journey, dream and ambition ( even though I don't think I really even realized it myself for most of those years..) and hopefully with Hashem's help I will be able to do justice to the title...!  

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Shabbos and the Shabbos Project.

I think it's time to write about Shabbos and the Shabbos Project!

Four years ago the chief Rabbi of South Africa Rabbi Warren Goldstein got an amazing idea that has quite literally changed the face of the Jewish World....
He inspired over 85% of the Jewish population in South Africa, the majority of whom were not actually "religious" to keep an entire Shabbos with all its halachic ramifications! They had a Challah Bake the Thursday night before the appointed shabbos with 100s of women participating and had a Havdalah Concert with Shlomo Katz at the end of Shabbos attended by over 5000 people!!
When the rest of the world heard about what an awesome Shabbos South African Jewry had managed to pull off, they wanted in.... and thus the Shabbos Project was born!

Here in New Hempstead we have been participating in our own small way and have had our own Shabbos Project Shabaton in 2014, and in 2015 and this year we are planning on combining the celebration of Shabbos with Yoga, Meditation and the total release and relaxation suggested by the yogic pose "Shevassanah" to create the 
Tiferet Movement  Shabassanah Retreat!

In our times when so many of us spend so much time on computers and talking to our friends on cell phones and through facebook instead of sharing face time, Shabbos brings a refreshing change of pace.
I must confess, I find Shabbos a most welcome reprieve from the constant allure of google, work, emails, LinkedIn  and yes I must include facebook. All of these technologies are wonderful, and I am employing the benefits of them with this blog, however, the change to my social interactions has  been very much noticed and makes shabbos so much more appreciated.

When we need to stop and remind ourselves to walk instead of drive, take time out to meditate and pray instead of continuing without pause, when sitting down to family meals with loved ones becomes more and more of a memory;  Shabbos is truly a visible and more obvious gift each passing year.  So many times I have read about internet addiction, and I believe it's a real thing and something that  adults and children are suffering from at earlier and earlier ages, but on Shabbos we unplug for 26 hours... what a great antidote ! We step away and unplug and all breathe a collective sigh of relief.
As they have always said, " More than the Jews have kept Shabbos, Shabbos has kept the Jews!"

So, if you already observe Shabbos, perhaps join in and participate in a local Challah Bake, or invite  a friend who has not yet begun the amazing Shabbos journey to join you, not just for the Challah Bake, but perhaps some challah that you might have baked, at your own Shabbos table...., and if you have not yet committed to Shabbos observance, why not try it next shabbos for Parshas Lech Lecha when so many around the world will try to keep it all together!

To participate in a Challah Bake right here in Rockland
sign up via link below

Friday, September 16, 2016

Dancing with the light, 98 years young!

I've been meaning to visit the Sunday morning yoga class of Tao Porchon-Lynch for a long time.Tao is 98 years young and still teaching!
I've had a feeling that I just had to meet her, not because I haven't had yoga teachers who have been in their older years before, because in fact two of my most favorite teachers are either in the midst of their 70s in the case of one and in their mid 80s in the case of another, but learning from someone who is still teaching well into their later 90s was just something I felt I had to experience!
I was not only not disappointed, I was totally enchanted!

Tao's  class was lovely and I really enjoyed it, but the take away went far beyond the usual benefits of deep breathing and a good stretch. In fact, the most impressive aspect of Sunday morning's experience was seeing how Tao gave of herself after the class was officially over, because  it was then that I saw her shining light and her incredible ability to give of herself and be totally present. After the class was over, Tao continued sharing small anecdotes and short teachings, musings about life and her insights and thoughts, as if she had all the time in the world and had an endless supply of energy. Tao also patiently posed with quite a few of the students, myself included, who wanted to have their pictures taken with her, and graciously signed copies of her book. What made things even more remarkable than this being at the end of an almost two-hour class, was the fact that our class starting at 10:00am was the second class Tao had taught that morning, the first had started at 8:15am!

Tao has written a book about her life called "Dancing Light", and of course all this week I have been reading it  from cover to cover, trying to discover the source of her energy and jois de vivre. The book speaks of how she grew up, her experiences in the world and how she first learnt and then began to teach yoga. 

She grew up in India amongst spiritual seekers and teachers, her uncle, who brought her up was himself a true seeker and close associate of Mahatma Gandhi. Tao was at different times a cabaret dancer and choreographer, a successful courtier model in Paris, a wine expert, a Hollywood actress as well as a beloved and somewhat famous yoga teacher. Her life seems to have been jam-packed with a number of daring and exciting things, not least of which include marching with Mahatma Gandhi and then much later Martin Luther King, saving Jews as part of the French resistance and fearlessly dancing and performing right through the Blitz bombing of London from September 1940 till May of '41.  

Throughout her life, it seems the teachings of her uncle rang out loud and clear. From him she learnt something that we have perhaps gleaned from our own teachers of Tracht gut un zein gut- Think Good and it will be Good, and that ultimately everything works out for the good, even if that good is not apparent right away.

It is a fascinating read and I have thoroughly enjoyed it, but the part that still shines brightest for me is experiencing personally her vitality and her desire to share and enlighten students after close to four hours of teaching as if there was really nothing else quite as important...

Thank you for that Tao.. for that lesson alone, I can be eternally grateful!

To know more about my yoga, and the  classes that I offer, please check out my website: TiferetMovement.com