There is a question as to whether our economy is in a recession or if it has entered a full depression. One thing we can be certain of is that things have changed. The current issue of Fast Company magazine leads with a story about ‘Generation Flux’, its name for the status quo. Gen Fluxers could be 20 years old, 40, 60 or older, and are defined not by their age but by their attitude. “You don’t need to be a jack of all trades to flourish now”, they wrote, “but you do need to be open-minded”.
Our Kosher Sutra joins the Children of Israel who are in a state of flux. They have been uprooted from the ‘comfort’ of slavery and are being pursued by Egyptian forces as they escape towards the Sea of Reeds. Things have become so uncertain that their anxieties are running sky-high and they are campaigning to return to a life of slavery rather than open up to the possibilities of a new and exciting world. Moses gives them a very simple and very yogic instruction: “Do not fear! Stand fast and see the salvation of God….[and] remain silent” (Exodus 14:14).
How can we stand still and remain silent when we are overcome with the fear and anxiety that is brought on by sudden change? Which Bibliyoga tools can we use when we are longing to wind back the clock to the way things were?
On a recent trip to China, yoga guru BKS Iyengar gave some helpful clues on how we can learn to stand fast, using the metaphor of a tree. He explained that “the movements for any asana (yoga pose) should come from the root not the shoot”*. For example in a standing forward straddle bend (Prasarita Padottanasana), the focus should be on spreading the legs from the groins (‘the roots’) rather than the feet (‘the shoots’). When standing straight we might also focus on keeping the front of the groins open and using gravity to bring our weight so that it is evenly distributed across our feet.
The world is going to change whether we like it or not, and it is our choice how much we want to suffer. We may feel like resisting the flux and turning back the clock. Some say ‘better the devil you know’, but that doesn’t need to be the motto by which we live our lives if we desire liberation. Rather, we can stand up straight, get rooted, listen actively and watch carefully for the miracles that are about to unfold before our eyes.
*Yoga Rahasya, Vol 18, No 3, 2011. Sweet timing for Tu B’shvat.
Marcus J Freed is the creator of Bibliyoga (www.bibliyoga.com), President of the Jewish Yoga Network (www.jewishyoganetwork.org) and CEO of Freedthinking (www.freedthinking.com). He lives in Los Angeles.
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