Hot Kosher Sutra for you this Lag B'Omer
Jewliciously famous for bringing his unique kabbalistic blend of Yoga and Torah to Long Beach at Jewlicious this year, Marcus J Freed is going to be in LA this August. Please friend him on facebook or email him directly firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s Kosher Sutra is dedicated to you, friends all over the world who have provided enthusiasm for the Bibliyoga project. Thank you.
BIBLIYOGA PRACTICE: Partner yoga – support each other with leg balance (ie Tree or Archer)
BODY BENEFIT: Increased stability and support, and leg strength.
SOUL INTENTION: To strengthen another person and help provide balance for others.
KOSHER SUTRA: Acquire a friend for yourself. (Ethics of the Fathers, 1:6)
Yoga is so much easier to practice when you’re doing it with a friend. There’s something about the energy of having someone else in the room. My morning yoga practice is generally a solo affair and it’s easy to drift off, lose focus and suddenly find myself staring into space. Last night I was going through the Tripsichore yoga sequences with a friend and reminded of the subtle energy shift that takes place – like having a running partner, it’s so much easier to get motivated (and stay motivated when there’s two of you). I’ll stop this paragraph here before my parents publicly implore me to get married.
Today is Lag B’Omer, the 33rd day of the journey from the festival of Passover to Shavuot, a seven-week process of spiritual liberation.
The Talmud explains how the master scholar Rabbi Akiva had 24,000 students and they were all killed by a mysterious plague which was caused because they didn’t respect one another (BT Yevamot 62b). Too much ego, too much self-centredness. Lag B’Omer was the day the plague stopped. So we rejoice. The story goes on; the great Rabbi Akiva continued undeterred and re-established his academy with just five students. One of them was Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a leading light in the world of Kabbalah who revealed the Zohar (Kabbalistic ‘Book of Splendour’). Rabbi Shimon eventually died on Lag B’Omer and his passing is commemorated by lighting bonfires to represent the light he brought into the world. Another custom of Lag B’Omer is to get your hair cut (I also did this, but only for an undercut and trimmed ends – religious devotion only goes so far when it comes to the Freedfro).
There is much to focus on from a yogic perspective – revealing light, inner fires, reducing ego – but today’s Kosher Sutra is from Ethics of the Fathers, with the sage Yehoshua ben Perchyah who advised that we should ‘acquire for ourselves a friend’. The Hebrew word he used for acquire was koneh which is usually associated with purchasing something. When we stop to reflect, there is often a cost to friendship which involves putting in time, effort and respect…
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Whereas we are still connected to family members regardless of what we do (although communications can break down in some cases), friends are only there if we give them a reason to be so. Friendship does have a cost but the rewards can be immense.
First we can begin with being a friend to ourselves. Then we can focus on being a friend to others. Today’s recommended posture is a one-legged balance – done whilst standing next to a friend – and you can use each other for support. Please send in your partner yoga pics and they’ll be featured on the Bibliyoga website!
Kabbalistic bonus material
For those who’ve been along to the Bibliyoga Kabbalah Experience sessions, we’ve looked at how the sefira energies correspond with the body – and today’s quality is Hod She b’Hod, or Humble Humility. This makes sense as humility is essential in building friendships and communities, and the kabbalists noted how the Divine energy of Hod is represented by the left leg (Tikkunei HaZohar, intro). Hence the one-legged balance!
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