A note from Estelle Eugene, founder of Yoga Mosaic (the precursor to the Jewish Yoga Network)
I began the Yoga Mosaic website as a very low key affair way back in the nineties intending just to reach my fellow Jewish yogis in the UK. When I first started to practice yoga it never occurred to me to link yoga with Judaism but when I trained to be a teacher necessitating study of Vedantic philosophies I found I understood them better via my Jewish studies.
When the editor of a once popular publication called “New Moon” – that has been through various transformations since to finally emerge as the current” Jewish News “ (www.totallyjewish.com) asked me to write an article on yoga and Judaism because I was teaching it at the Yakar Study Centre where I worked – I was totally astonished
and, feeling inadequate for the task, asked a few of my Jewish yoga colleagues to assist me with the project. Half a dozen of us met – enjoyed our discussion – and decided to run a seminar . The first one we ever ran took place in March 1993 and featured the much respected Bill Heilbronn, whose work you will find on this site under Articles and Books. The theme was ” Yoga and the Jewish Tradition” – which was the title of a series that Bill had run for the Uk magazine “Yoga and Health”.
Each of us invited a couple of colleagues and thus Yoga Mosaic was born. Since then, it has run regular seminars – the titles of some of them appear on the “England” section of the site and in recent years, has teamed up with the Jewish Community Centre in London to reach an even wider audience. The website was created shortly after the founding and the original guest page used to receive a lot of entries from people in the US and Canada who were very welcome – but I did not have the know-how to incorporate their news onto my site. And then in 2005 – along came Reisha Golden who – loving the setup of Yoga Mosaic – began a dialogue with me resulting in her establishing the US/Canada contributions on to the site.
She did a fantastic job – but for personal reasons needed, after a few years to pursue her individual career – and then along comes Marcus – bursting with energy, enthusiasm and ideas – many of which can be accessed on Marcus’s personal website (www.bibliyoga.com) – intending to move to the US from the UK and enthused with the idea of expanding Yoga Mosaic into an international network with the more appropriate renaming – The Jewish Yoga Network.
I am absolutely thrilled for Marcus to develop and evolve this – and to retain all the wonderful works that so many of you have contributed over the years. I am deeply grateful personally to Marcus because where I wavered with the website after Reisha retired – he simply refused to allow me to give up – with the result that all previous friends and supporters and new seekers now have a wonderful resource to exchange and communicate with one another and with the added benefit of Jewish Yoga Network Yoga Days – which were easy to organise in the UK where so many of the members were London based but more problematical in the US because of the distances involved between States. Marcus – London born – has done – is doing as fantastic job for Jewish yogis everywhere – I thank him and salute him – and add an additional thank you to the wonderful guy for whom I worked with great joy – for many years – Rabbi Mickey Rosen z”l founder of Yakar (www.yakar.org) who always encouraged all my efforts and championed the establishment of Yoga Mosaic.
Estelle Eugene, Weybridge, England, December 2010