Life isn’t a self-development seminar. That’s why it’s called life. We aren’t given an official induction and there’s no operations manual. One thing we do get, however, is feedback. Whenever we mess up, we find out about it sooner or later. If we listen really closely to the feedback, we can start to function more effectively.
Moses is given one instruction: speak to the rock and it will give out water which will presumably stop his crowd of people from complaining. The instruction is simple: "Take the staff and assemble the congregation, you and your brother Aaron, and speak to the rock in their presence so that it will give forth its water. You shall bring forth water for them from the rock and give the congregation and their livestock to drink." (Numbers. 20:8). Speak to it. How hard can it be?
Yoga is about achieving maximum results with minimum effort. There is a principle of _asetya_, of freedom from stealing, that encourages us not to force our bodies into positions that are not truly ‘ours’ but only to receive them when ready (Yoga Sutras 2:30). We aim not to force other people when they aren’t willing to give, to push them in a direction they don’t want to go. This is easier said than done; everyone has pain, fear and anxiety that lurks just beneath the surface.
If we are worried that a rock isn’t going to produce water then it’s easier to beat it, but nobody responds well to repeated beatings, whether they are metaphorical, verbal, emotional or literal. Today’s practice is staff posture, to ground ourselves and consider how we can be more trusting in situations where we are fearful. When we can truly enter a place of trust in a higher power, we will have all the water we need*.
*_Rashi explains that the Children of Israel would have left the desert and entered the land immediately if Moses had not hit the rock (Rashi on 20:12). Because of this one action, Moses had to forfeit the thing he had been working towards for the best part of his career._
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THE KOSHER SUTRAS © MARCUS J FREED/BIBLIYOGA 2010/5770
Marcus J Freedis the creator of Bibliyoga, USA & North America Director of Yoga Mosaic – the association for Jewish yoga teachers, and yogi-in-residence for JConnectLA and Jewlicious Festivals.
i. sit with your legs straight in front of you, toes pointed outwards and thighs drawn in towards the bones.
ii. place your hands by the sides of your hips with your fingers pointing forwards and your arms completely straight.
iii. Keep your back fully engaged.
Advanced: Activate your abdominal muscles, keep the legs straight and lift yourself upwards with both feet off the ground [photo].
Seated: Straighten both of your legs whilst sitting in a chair.
Benefits: Thighs, posture and back.