Heart n’ Soul
Vayera 2010/5771
KOSHER SUTRA Strengthen your heart (Genesis 18:5)
SOUL SOLUTION Heal the heart
BODY BENEFITS opens the chest, improves digestion and balance

How often are we completely reckless with our own hearts? It’s all very well to quote the sage Hillel’s advice that we should love our neighbour as ourselves, but what if we don’t love ourselves? The first principle of yoga, ahimsa, is a doctrine of non-violence that begins with kindness to our bodies, but it can take effort to replace our inner critic with an inner friend.

Today’s Kosher Sutra is spoken by Abraham who is feeding guests and suggests they ‘strengthen their hearts’ with food. Except we know that these guests are angels who don’t actually eat, and it’s possible that Abraham knew that too and that he was strengthening their hearts with friendship and hospitality. A commentator called the Baal HaTurim connected this phrase with other mentions of fortifying the heart; ‘Mark well in your heart her ramparts’ (Psalms 48:14) and ‘You will see and your heart will rejoice (Isaiah 66:14), and he suggests that Abraham felt pain in his heart when he didn’t have guests to entertain.

Our yoga posture is a heart-opener and an opportunity to literally lift the heart, open the chest and allow more oxygenated blood to flow through this vital organ. We begin by opening our heart on the yoga mat and then open our heart to other people, whether it is through offering food or kindness. These actions can take place with our hands but end up by strengthening our hearts.

Marcus J Freed (c) 2010


i.Stand in Mountain Pose. Inhale your hands out to the side and exhale them together behind your back, pushing your elbows inwards and your hands upwards.
ii. Inhale and step your right foot forwards ½ metre.
iii. Rotate your left foot so that it is pointing to the left at a 45-degree angle.
iv. Draw up the muscles on your legs and exhale with your chest towards your right thigh.
v. Raise the arches on both of your feet.
vi. Aim to get your chin on your shin and deepen the posture with every exhale.