Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Yoga and Jewish Spirituality

Tonight I'm honored to be teaching a yoga class with some Jewish flavor for JewishXperienceWeek, part of the http://www.ShabbatSanDiego,org celebration this 2018.

My yoga prep for this class has come in the form of reviewing my Yoga 101: the Chakras, the Yamas and Niyamas, personal reflection on what drew me to and keeps me doing yoga, and basic pose review. But the difficult part has been diving into Jewish philosophy more than I've ever done before. A friend gave me this amazing book (also recommended to me by a Rabbi in Chicago, called The Jew in the Lotus. I have to say, after two months of flipping pages it is already so well worn it looks like I've had it for years. This has been the most rewarding part - that *I* am benefitting from this experience, from delving into the spirituality and finding my connection to my community and perhaps even to the divine, especially when I need it most. I will be sharing my thoughts on this tonight, and I hope to see some of you there.

The book, written by Rodger Kamanetz, is a dense with lessons on Judaism in the common era, kabbalah, an Indian travelogue, a Tibetan history lesson, and a comparison of different Hebrew traditions: Orthodox, Hasidic, Reform and JUBUS (Jewish Buddhists). Delegates, Rabbis and other scholars, from different factions traveled to India to visit the XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet, to discuss the plight and future of Tibetan Buddhism, using the Jewish experience as an example, and compare practices, spirituality and even meditation.

The contrast/comparisons between Tibetan Buddhism and Judaism are fascinating. I'm still scribbling notes in margins just hours before the class, and writing in a notebook as I consult my training books and the world wide web for refresher information on yogic practices. I'll add more information after class as this blog post was just a teaser.

There are fundamentalists that might strive to cleave apart Buddhism, or in my case yoga practice, from Judeo-Christian traditions, saying the Jews should only look to Torah for information. In the book, the author, Mr. Kamenetz, speaks of a disenfranchisement from his Jewish community/identity due to dogmatic absolutes like this. I myself was turned off at a young age by the fear mongering about people going "astray" because they were trying to learn more about the world around them and their own path to true spirituality.

But I think it's marvelous to try to find similarities between two ancient traditions that both are based in the notion of practice for the sake of bettering oneself and bettering the world. Mindfulness, practice, and finding a deeper sense of meaning in this life are, for me, and it seems for Mr. Kamenetz, part of the journey toward enlightenment, toward At-One-Ment, toward knowing god.

P.S. Here are a few links (some are on my nightstand waiting to be read!)

Yoga Sutras of Patajali

The Jew in the Lotus:

Who Wrote the Bible


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Yoga Nidra for Veterans 11/11/18

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Garden Yoga @ the Water Conservation Garden

Join us this “winter” for Garden Yoga
at the Cuyamaca Water Conservation Garden

12122 Cuyamaca College Dr. West, El Cajon CA 92019

Mondays 8:30 am - 9:30 am.
October 15 and November 19, December 10, January 14, February 11

Now just $5 for Garden or Silver Sneakers members, or $10 for non members.

Chair and Mat friendly. Reservations required:

Monday, September 24, 2018

In memoriam

Saturday morning 9/22/18 my first cousin, a woman that I grew up with like a sister died from her injuries from a domestic violence attack. No one thought something like this would ever happen in our family or in our quiet Jewish community. She leaves behind two amazing teenage boys. Our family is coming together to support one another and find a way to take care of them, and muddle through this tragedy. Hundreds of people have reached out to say how my cousin touched their lives; it’s heartwarming. I’m so privileged to have developed such a close friendship with her; my heart is broken. I’ll be flying back to Chicago tomorrow morning. Life is so fragile; huh  your loved ones tightly.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Lookin for Yoga Nidra? Try Bonnie Tomeoni's Class

Yoga Nidra Meditation by Bonnie Tomeoni

Thursdays 6:30-7:30 & Wednesdays 12:30-1:30pm

hosted at A Gentle Way Yoga


Yoga Nidra  is an ancient form of body-mind meditation that is typically done in a lying down position. It is the art, science of conscious, deep relaxation that balances the body and mind.
Yoga Nidra consists of gentle stretching, breathing exercises (pranayama) and guided meditation to put you in the deepest possible state of relaxation while still maintaining full consciousness. This state of consciousness (yoga nidra) is different from meditation in which concentration on a single focus is required. In yoga nidra the practitioner remains in a state of light withdrawal of the 5 senses (pratyahara) with four senses internalised, that is, withdrawn, and only the hearing still connects to the instructions.
Benefits Include:
  • Relief from Chronic Stress
  • Decreases Inflammation
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Physical and mental balance
  • Improves and stabilizes mood 
Bonnie Tomeoni has been a yoga practitioner for over 30 years and recently completed out 200-hr Teacher Training Program. She is a certified Yoga Nidra Guide.
Cost: $18/class

Location: A Gentle Way Yoga Center
8274 Parkway Drive #102, La Mesa, CA 91942