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Yoga for Jewish Mothers
OR: The Sacred "OY"
By Bob Kalish
To begin find a quiet corner of any room in the house, maybe the living room. If the smell of the plastic furniture covers doesn't prove a distraction. Set up a small table for a makeshift altar. Don't panic, we're not going to sacrifice a goat. Place a vase of flowers on the table, a few tchochkes, and a nice, framed photo of your son, maybe the one taken for his Bar Mitzvah, although the suit never fit right. Or maybe the photo taken at his Harvard graduation.
Now we are ready to begin. What to wear? Anything with spandex. Sit on the floor with knees bent and folded in what used to be called "Indian" fashion. Rest hands on knees, sit up straight. Now, in the Hindu tradition, they begin each Yoga session by chanting the sacred syllable, "Om." For us the sacred syllable of "Oy" will do fine thank you. Take a full, deep breath and while exhaling slowly, give out with your: Ooooooooooooyyyyyyyyyyyy.
Now you are ready to begin Yoga. Do the following postures, or asanas, slowly and mindfully. Do not push yourself beyond pain, although God knows it isn't easy.
SALUTE TO THE SON: Stand erect, facing the altar. Don't slouch. Raise hands above your head, arching your back, bending your knees if you have to. Then from the waist bend forward bringing your hands to the floor. Ignore the dust, so my daughter-in-law's not such a housekeeper but what can you do?
Okay, where was I. Oh yes, from bending over move your left foot back and bend the leg so your knee is on the mat, if you have a mat. If not, a nice shag rug will do. Bring the other leg back and assume the DOWN FACING DOG posture, in which hands and feet are on the floor and the hips are in the air, forming an upside down V. From there rock your kishkas to the COBRA posture by bringing your knees to the floor and sliding your upper body through your arms while, making a face like Newt Gingrich after his third mimosa.
DEAD MENSCH POSE: This posture is much like the CORPSE pose but it's wholesale. Lie on your back; try to avoid the dust balls big as Texas. Arms at your side, legs in their natural position, relaxed, on the floor. Don't even look at the ceiling where it leaked ten years ago and they still haven't fixed the stains. See if you can take a deep breath without coughing, letting the breath spread, starting from your toes work your way up the body, relaxing every muscle. If there's any pain, try to focus your mind on the pain, letting go of any negative thoughts, like when your son missed calling you on Mother's Day. If pain persists, try applying a good-sized piece of raw brisket to the muscle, turning it often.
STORK POSE: This posture is believed to help fallow women become pregnant, assuming the daughter-in-law WANTS to have children and not be a career woman without a career. So who am I to judge, who raised my family and never let them go hungry? That wasn't work? Anyway, stand erect facing the altar and those lovable blue eyes staring back. Bring palms together at chest level while lifting left leg with bent knee so you are balancing on right foot. Take a few breaths, then lower left leg and lift right so knee is bent at 90-degree angle. Hold for as long as it takes for your daughter-in-law to thank you for the crock pot you got them when they got married.
When done with the asanas, sit quietly with legs folded and meditate on the Cohen (a mystical Jewish syllable) "what?" until it's time to eat.
from the Febuary 2012 Edition of the Jewish Magazine
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