Time travel is endlessly fascinating. Plenty of films have been made about it. We cried over The Time Traveller's Wife, marvelled at Back to the Future, and got a bit confused with Twelve Monkeys. The fantasy of time travel is that we could go back and change things to improve the present, or at least to eradicate regrets. Simon & Garfunkel reluctantly sang about lost time; "time, time, time, see what's become of me/ as I looked around for my possibilities/I was so hard to please"*. The good news is; we have the technology to slow down time, and you don't need to be an Einstein to do it.
Today's Kosher Sutra is read in the context of 'Moadim', which are festivals or 'holy convocations', although the word 'Moed' actually means a kind of 'special time'. Right now we are in the middle of the seven weeks of the Omer, an agricultural count that was later underpinned with kabbalistic meaning. This Sunday's mini-celebration is the 33rd Day, Lag B'Omer, which commemorates the end of the plague which killed the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva. It is a breath of fresh air in the middle of the counting, and we then continue the count until the climax of Shavuot in a couple of weeks, on Day 50**.
One of the things I love about yoga is that it gives us the ability to slow down time. My teacher Edward has often commented on this, as we count our breaths in a way that is deliberately controlled and measured, and as a result we clear our mind and can think more quickly. Time is relative, as Einstein taught, and by slowing down our mind we can actually think more quickly and gain more focus.
Time is a very human thing. God isn't bound by it. Animals aren't bothered by it. We are the ones who have watches, schedules and time-management programmes to try and get on top of it. The rabbis stressed that time is within our control, and by controlling time we can reduce stress***.
Take your posture and count 50 breaths (or, if you're pushed for time, count each inhale and exhale, which will mean you're only doing 25 breaths). By mastering time, we become masters of our world.
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THE KOSHER SUTRAS © MARCUS J FREED/BIBLIYOGA 2010/5770
Young children often drop into this pose and plonk onto the floor quite happily. The pose can be fairly difficult when you start practicing it because over a period of time our bodies become tighter and the hips and knees are prime areas for physical tension. Fortunately, yoga makes you younger…
i. Kneel on the floor with the tops of your feet flat on the ground beneath you.
ii. Move your feet to either sides of your hips and place your buttocks on the ground in the middle.
iii. Raise your sternum and place your hands on your knees, facing upwards.
iv. As an extra variation, interlace your hands above your head and take 10 breaths in this position.
Modification: If you are finding this too difficult on your knees, place a pillow, cushion or block beneath your buttocks.
Advanced: Take hold of your knees, bring your chin into the top of the sternum and lift your chest. Keep your arms straight as you continue pulling up on your knees.
Benefits: Improves the condition of flat feet because pressure is being applied to the tops of the feet, good for digestion (according to Iyengar this pose is helpful for relieving a full stomach straight after a meal) and the posture is also curative for knees and ankles.