Saturday, January 30, 2021

Day 5 of 21: Have A Sweet Week

Tonight I had the opportunity to lead a Havdalah Yoga class with a handful of families from my synagogue (via Zoom). The Havdalah service is short, where you say prayers while you: light a braided the candle, sip wine, inhale the scent of spices, notice the reflection of the flame (in your fingernails of all things), and at the end, douse the flame. The significance is to utilize all the senses - feel the cup, smell the spices, see the flame of the candle, hear the blessings and taste the wine - close the sabbath, and welcome a new week. Havdalah itself means separation which is semantically ironic as the braided candle represents unity; the name of the ceremony signifies the separation of the sabbath from the rest of the week.

Our beginning centering meditation included one of the havening hand gestures to focus on attention, and the suggestion that everyone embrace an affirmation to complement the idea of a sweet week, personal reflection, celebration, and appreciating blessings. After, I lead them them through a modified "sunset" salution with hip openers in seated poses, and slow generous breaths for deep hamstring/calf stretches. I also had us creates the shapes of the Hebrew letters shin, bet and tav (that spell Shabbat) with our bodies to add a little levity to the class.

I took a moment to explain that in a yoga we consider everyone to be part of the divine, and each forward fold is an opportunity to bow to your own inner wisdom, divinity, the "godliness" that lives in each of us.

At the end of the class I suggested everyone revisit their affirmation, repeat the havening gesture, and then as a group we big one another both "Shavua Tov" (Have a good week) as well as "Namaste," where we bow to honor the wisdom in one another.

Peace Peace Peace, Shanti, Shalom.

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