Jewish Journal


by Michelle Azar

September 28, 2012 | 3:42 pm

Patanjali, who compiled the Yoga Sutras, an important collection of aphorisms on Yoga practice, said,


I just realized he doesn’t say  WHAT all will come. I assumed it was all “good things” or “all ability to do more back-bends and longer head-stands” or something like that. But he doesn’t. He just says ALL will come.


This week, I know he is right. All of everything. The personal glory that comes with practicing daily, feeling my body heal and open, as well as the deep confusion I feel on the difficult mornings when my body resists boldly, as though it had never stepped on a yoga mat.

I am aware of this Yoga sage’s advice as I practice the rituals of Judaism for the High Holy Days. I observe myself, when I am truly in concentration with myself and the words of prayer, and I pain at the moments of my ego trying to overtake the situation instead.

I am amazed by the difference in everything as I alter my practice, even slightly. I see my body and its erratic ability to move along in the asana (posture) room. I see the shifts in my levels of energy, and patience. I always find the day after the Jewish High Holy days most challenging, and not only because we move from eating to non-eating, and back to eating again, and without so much more than a forward bend!

But I know, these days are markedly more challenging due to the real psychic work now getting a new opportunity to practice. It seems I am getting tested from all sides.  Anything and everything that could stand in the way of me and my potential seem to clutter the already cluttered rooms of my house.

So, choices abound. I can ignore, and hope they don’t continue to trip me as I move from room to room. Or I can practice. Practice going into these new/old relationship challenges with breath, and patience, and yes, a sense of humor.

This week, get out your mats. In my house or yours. And practice. Clear a space, and practice an asana, a breath, and maybe a new reaction to an old trigger. Practice the removal of some emotional clutter. And then see how long you can stand on your head.

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Michelle fell in love with the practice of Ashtanga Yoga, the system of Hatha Yoga taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, some 13 years ago while doing a play in San Francisco. Having...

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