Posted by Michelle Azar
We were about half way through class Tuesday night, when I heard a light knock at the door of our studio. To be clear, our studio also serves as a meeting room, sometimes a storage room, and weekly as a house of worship to the Orthodox congregation who rents space at Temple Emanuel.
I went to the door quietly, and the Rabbi, a kind man who I have become fond of, apologizes profusely for disturbing, but in some desperation pleas, “It is a fast day, and we need our Torah.”
My mind was an instant jumble. I’d imagine it’s not often for a yoga class to be interrupted with such a request. First, I was aware of my attire. Though perfectly suited for yoga practice, I had never felt more naked in my life. Me, the wife of a rabbi, standing in my Lululemon’s, restricting a Torah from another rabbi; oy.
Then, my ignorance. “Fast day?” I wondered back to the Rabbi. Too early for the one I knew that usually falls late July. But there wasn’t time for a history lesson. We both had to get back to our flocks. In my effort to protect my women, and prioritze our religious practices, though clearly different in this moment especially, we negotiated. “Ten minutes?” “10 minutes, ” he agreed and rushed off, again with apologies for interruping.
Back in class, we moved through the rest of the asanas fluidly, mindfully, and with a lot of giggling. The awareness of this unique interruption alive in the room. Luckily, one of our class mates was part of that congregation and knew which fast day this was, so she filled us in.
When I asked us all to come to the wall for our last moments, we were all very tentative. Usually the ark holding the Torah remains invisible to us throughout class, but this evening it was larger than the room itself. I felt funny chanting in my usual Sanskrit to close our class, and further uncomfortable to place my palms together at my heart in a gesture of gratitude. Though I had long ago made peace with these practices, tonight they just did not mesh with my Jewish traditions.
We finished class with ease, and I opened the door for the Torah delivery. I knew better than to reach in and take the Torah to him, being the ill clad, female that I am. I sat down outside afterward to take stock.
I realized after a few breaths, that I did not feel ashamed. I had done nothing hurtful to anyone, and instead had only lived out all the roles I have in this community in that short half hour. I am always Jewish. I am always alive with a love and reverance for the traditions, ones that I know about and ones that I am eager to learn about. I pay respect to those around me, and deserve respect to for investing and investigating my practices. The yoga practices and traditions that I learn and teach I try to impart with as much honestly as I can. I never choose them OVER my practices as a Jew, but more in conjunction which always manages to deepen my connections to Judaism.
Integration is the process of unifying with integrity all the different parts of ourselfves. The yogi with the rabbi with the student with the mother with the wife and the actor and the messy perfectionist that I label myself. For years I had tried in vain to keep these personas separate. All that happened from never introducing self to self is a sense of exhaustion. And ill feeling. This was a great teaching for me. Taught me how far I have come, and how far I have yet to go. How much more there is for me to learn, and feel comfortable with in ALL my life’s practices.
And how ready I am to have my own yoga studio.
11.22.13 at 5:30 pm |
11.11.13 at 3:17 pm |
10.4.13 at 2:36 pm |
9.18.13 at 1:14 pm |
8.30.13 at 10:37 am |
8.19.13 at 10:38 am |
June 17, 2013 | 10:52 am
Posted by Michelle Azar
I sent my big girl to the mall with her daddy today. I wanted to buy him new pants but there were two problems with my idea. He rarely likes what I buy him, and I hate shopping so all I wind up doing is having to return things, and who’s got the time for that?? I figured if he went with his girl who has the patience and passion for the activity, the goal might be accomplished.
I guess this is acceptance. Maturation of sorts. I used to imagine family life as being always a team activity, and when anything fell short of that the whole thing was a failure. I now see it as a much more fluid, ever changing sort of system. Sometimes the group system works best. These are times that have to be nurtured and protected. Family trips or meals, for instance, as most often the memories made over ride the challenges.
There are a whole host of activities that actually don’t need all members of the team. Some people are Definitely better off being benched at home, lets say, imagining with their dolls or doing laundry. Things they may actually be better suited for in the moment.
So the mindful parenting continues… When and how to discern these moments, and to feel gratitude for all we have and HAVE had in our personal family teams is enough.
Please join me as our summer schedule continues! With a couple of time changes AND additions!
MONDAY` 9AM-10 AM TEMPLE EMANUEL
7-8:30 PM U STUDIO (beginning mid July)
TUESDAY 6:30-7:45 PM TEMPLE EMANUEL
WEDNESDAY 10-11 AM TEMPLE EMANUEL
THURSDAY 9-10 AM TEMPLE EMANUEL
TEMPLE EMANUEL 8844 BURTON WAY, BH 90211
U STUDIO 5410 WILSHIRE BLVD. #500 LA 90036
in appreciation, michelle
June 10, 2013 | 10:16 am
Posted by Michelle Azar
I was out gardening yesterday Did I really just start a sentence like that? I promise, I have never actually gardened in my life, except at kibbutz camp maybe when I was 12. Something about weeds and watering And sunlight.
So yesterday, I was outside looking at the dry mud and unruly things growing, and dying, in the pretty wooden beds I had built last year, and before I knew it, I was down and dirty. In the mud, pulling and snipping and I realized though I had been watering the beds daily (ish) I had done only the most cursory job, A quick ode to watering as it were while I went about my day. An ode so that they might not fully die, and so that I might not fully feel so bad about wanting to live in beauty but not spending the time to care for and maintain that life.
After and hour or so in the mud, I felt pretty damn good. And sheepish. How did I build this bed and not get in there to make it enough?? What are the things you have built or started that you could not find the time , or energy for once it got going? Are there things that you want to get back to, to dig deeper and dirtier ? And what are the things that hold you back from doing that dirty work?
Maybe it is time to get back in the mud. Or get out of the mud for that matter! I think it important to take assessments every couple of months and see where you are placing your attention. Maybe you look and decide yes, good, and continue to attend in that way. And then maybe you decide no, attention must be paid elsewhere. To hop into the mud and get down and dirty again.
We will be practicing regularly through the summer, and I will keep you posted on additional classes and retreats.
THIS WEEK CLASSES REMAIN IN SCHEDULE EXCEPT:
WEDNESDAY JUNE 12 9 AM RATHER THAN 10 AM.