What does it mean to live free? How do we find our way out of bondage? These questions are central to the yearly Jewish ritual of Passover and to the philosophy of Yoga. “Moksha” or liberation is the goal of Yoga according to the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita is both a story and an extended meditation on the themes of freedom and faith. Practicing yoga is often said to be the path of liberation. In a similar vein, the Haggadah, the manual of the Passover ritual, commands each Jew to remember her journey from slavery to freedom. The recounting of the Exodus is fulfilled to this day on a yearly basis in Jewish households throughout the world.
And yet freedom can seem like an abstract concept in the midst of our everyday lives or even our yoga practice or Passover. Seder plate? Check. Matzo ball soup? Check. Hip openers? Check. But how do these ingredients add up to an experience of freedom?
In this workshop, we will explore the story of Exodus and the practice of Yoga as inspiration to each of us on our path to liberation. This will not be a traditional observance of Passover or a typical yoga class but an exploration of the spiritual meaning of freedom in our lives through a combination of reading, writing and movement. We will share reading an abbreviated story of Exodus, a liberating Asana practice and short writing exercises on the themes of slavery, liberation and faith (writing will not be critiqued and need only be shared voluntarily). Like Miriam after the parting of the Red Sea, we will end with a celebratory dance.
No prior experience with Passover, Yoga or Creative Writing necessary. Participants are asked to bring an object for the altar that represents liberation and a pen and paper.
Nina Schnall M.A., M.F.A., is an anthropologist, writer and writing consultant living in the Oakland Hills. A Fulbright scholar to Haiti, Nina’s journey has been deeply influenced by travel and a multi-disciplinary approach to spiritual tradition. She is busy at work on a novel and manuscript of creative non-fiction. As a consultant, she helps people transform their lives through story. She has been practicing yoga for the last ten years; her teachers include Gay White, JinSung and Ann Dyer. For excerpts of her writing, visit: http://nooneleftbehindproject.wordpress.com or you can email her with questions about the workshop at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie Emden directs the Embodied Learning Initiative at Jewish LearningWorks in San Francisco. She is a graduate of teaching certification programs in Iyengar-based yoga from the Yoga Room in Berkeley; in Yoga and Jewish Spirituality from the Elat Chayyim Center for Jewish Spirituality; and in Movement-based Expressive Arts from Tamalpa Institute. She has a passion for bringing Jewish text, wisdom, and practice alive via movement, dance, yoga and the expressive arts. Contact: email@example.com
The Embodied Jewish Learning Initiative is a program of Jewish LearningWorks, with support from the Joan and Robert Sinton Philanthropic Fund, Barbara and Christopher Wilson, The Opaline Fund, and Paul and Sheri Robbins.