November 23, 2010
Kosher Sutra: Safe Arrivals (Vayishlach)
Kosher Sutra: ‘And Yacov arrived safely’ (Gen 33:18)
Soul Solution: Total healing, body and soul
Posture: Bound-angle pose
Body Benefit: Strengthen hips & preparation for childbirth
We’ve all heard that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, but it’s not usually much fun to hear that when you’re writhing with pain. There is certainly some truth in the phrase because we can all get stronger when we recover from injuries, but that doesn’t mean that old war wounds don’t still ache from time to time.
There is a beautiful image, or so I thought, of Jacob who walks away after he’s spent the night wrestling with an angel. He’s uplifted, inspired, had his name upgraded to Israel – ‘the one who struggles with God and man and overcomes’, but despite his spiritual enlightenment, he still carries a bit of pain and walks with a limp.
Yoga can be transformational although the physical-spiritual encounter that takes place on a yoga mat can cause injuries for many people. At some point or another plenty of serious yogis will push themselves too far, allowing their ego to overcome their breathing and causing themselves an injury. The bad news is that this hurts at the time but the good news is that a good practice and a great teacher can help you heal from many physical pains so that you become stronger than ever.
Jacob walking with a limp is poetic but it isn’t pretty, and there’s nothing beautiful about an exquisite, spiritually-induced pain. If we read a little further we see that his true graduation to become the man called Israel, a Luke-Skywalker-becomes-Jedi-sort-of-moment, only happens when he has healed various relationships. Things improve with his father-in-law and his estranged brother, and when he meets his sibling Esau, he ‘arrived safely’. The Hebrew word is ‘Shalem’, meaning complete or whole, and Rashi explains that Jacob/Israel was completely healed with regards to his body, his emotional pains, his financial difficulties.
Be strong, be healed, be happy.
In Peace, Shabbat Shalom,
HOW TO DO BOUND ANGLE/COBBLER POSTURE (BADDHAKONASANA)