One aim of the Jewish Yoga Network is to help support in your teaching of yoga, Jewish wisdom and meditation. Here is a sample resource that you can use for teaching the story of Noah through yoga. Let us know how you get on!
‘Go with the flow’ – the Yoga of Parshat Noach
Kosher Sutra: ‘God’s breath calmed the waters’ (Gen 8:1)
Posture: Boat Pose/Navasana
Soul Solution: Calm the inner chaos
Body Benefit: Strengthen abs, deepen breath.
I recently saw a poster promoting a meditation class in Malibu that had the picture of someone surfing on a longboard and said something like “if your mind is wild like the ocean, it’s time to go surfing. Meditation class starts now”.
As we begin another cycle reading the Book of Genesis, we are reminded of the monkey mind, the Tohu V’Vohu – ‘chaos and confusion’ – from which the world was created. Many of experience this inner turbulence on an all-too-regular basis.
I am comforted by the calming verse that follows soon after, where the breath/spirit of God ‘surfs’ or ‘rests’ (merachefet) on the surface of the water (Gen 1:2).
In case we missed the message in the first reading of Genesis, a similar action takes place in the story of Noah, where the earth is flooded and the Divine breath/spirit floats once again on top of the once-wild waters.
The Taoists have a form of meditation that involves imagining our mind as water and using it to gently melt inner blockages, whether they are undefined emotional issues, pent-up anger or anything standing in our way. The ‘Water Method of Taoist meditation’ involves imagining the water slowly sinking from the top of our brain down through the body until it reaches a blockage, and then slowly melting that block as if it were a chunk of ice. In our yoga postures we can apply a flowing movement similar to the quality of water; this is an essential element of vinyasa (sun salutes).
We can take our Bibliyoga practice to ever-more subtle levels, bringing a deeper awareness to our daily lives. When do we find we are suddenly overwhelmed with inner chaos, when we are revisited by old worries or ancient neuroses that have plagued us year after year? Now is the time to catch our mind before it heads into the chaos, to take on this quality of water, to calm the wildness with our breath, and to unblock our energy so that we can go and flow once again.
(c) Marcus J Freed, 2011.
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