Entering Sarah’s Tent: A Preparation for Rosh Hashanah
http://isabellafreedman.org/torahyoga

Monday, July 22 – Sunday, July 28, 2013

Experience the wonder of Torah study and the groundedness of yoga practice with Diane Bloomfield, whose teachings spring forth from her own deep learning in Jerusalem.

This 6-day course is part of an ongoing series of Torah Yoga retreats, each of which focuses on the teachings of a particular Torah master.

Sfat Emet, the 19th century Chassidic Rebbe from Gur Poland, teaches that the illumination that a righteous person brings into this world shines forever. In this summer’s retreat, through the study of Sfat Emet and the practice of Iyengar yoga we will learn and lengthen, talk and twist, study and sing, bend and breathe, wrestle and relax our way into the continually shining light of Sarah Imeinu, the first of the 4 mothers of the Jewish people. As Sarah features prominently in the Torah reading of the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the study of Sarah is also a wonderful preparation for the New Year.

Each morning, Diane will lead a full Iyengar yoga practice that is integrated with a Jewish teaching. In each session, we will focus on a different family of thoughtfully sequenced yoga poses including standing poses, forward bends, baby back bends, and beginning inversions, so that throughout the week we will cover a wide and balanced range of poses. These yoga sessions are suitable for all levels of experience. Trained Torah Yoga assistants will be available to help individual students adapt the poses as needed.

Each afternoon, we will learn the Torah text from that morning’s practice through classical shiurim (teacher-led Torah), group discussions, and traditional Jewish chevruta (study with a partner). Knowledge of Hebrew is not necessary because we will examine original Hebrew texts together with their English translations. At the end of each day, the afternoon Torah study sessions will be integrated back into a series of restorative yoga postures and breath work.

In the early mornings and late afternoons, there will be Torah Yoga classes offered to the whole community by alumni of the Yoga and Jewish Spirituality teacher training program.

In the evenings, we will be treated to experiential learning sessions connected to our theme led also by alumni of the Yoga and Jewish Spirituality Teacher Training Program. Arthur Kurzweil will also be a guest teacher.

One of the most precious practices in the Jewish tradition is called Torah Lishma, the study of Torah for its own sake, with no other goal in mind. A primary goal of this course is for students to taste the sweetness of Torah Lishma. Adding yoga to Jewish learning adds a new and unique experiential dimension to Torah Lishma.

Whether they come as teachers, healers, rabbis, cantors, artists, therapists, dancers, or curious learners, students often leave a Torah Yoga retreat with a deep desire to share Torah Yoga with others as. Those who are already teaching Torah Yoga will find renewed inspiration and sources from the texts and translations brought to this retreat.

Requirements

No previous Torah study or yoga practice is required for participation in this retreat. All are welcome: newcomers to Torah Yoga, long-time practitioners, and alumni of the Yoga and Jewish Spirituality Teacher Training program.

Ongoing study and practice

After Torah Yoga retreats, students often continue their learning with Diane’s weekly online course: Torah from Jerusalem. In addition, in response to the popularity of Diane’s classes here and abroad, she is now planning a Torah Yoga retreat to be held in Israel in the spring of 2015. This special retreat will culminate Diane’s current Torah Yoga series with the study of Rav Kook’s teachings known as Torat Eretz Yisrael (The Torah of the Land of Israel).