Stairway to Heaven
Vayeitzei 2010/5771
KOSHER SUTRA “God was standing over him” (Gen 28:13)
SOUL SOLUTION Bounce back from setbacks
BIBLIYOGA POSE Shabbat Pose (Sarvasana)
BODY BENEFITS Rejuvenation and strengthen inner vision
Earlier this week I was looking at a shiny new wooden floor of a church. The Temple of Zion congregation is in the infamous Lower 9th district of New Orleans and half of the building was submerged by the flood waters that followed Hurricane Katrina. We were listening to a presentation from a member of Avodah, the Jewish service corps that has been helping rebuild the community, and it was inspiring to see how the locals have regained the sense of belief after such devastation. With a new floor to stand on, they are able to stand tall and move forwards.


Our Kosher Sutra is amidst a dramatic passage. Jacob lies down and has a meditational dream about angels ascending and descending a ladder. The commentator Ramban explains how this dream was a form of prophecy. On a symbolic level Jacob was able to pierce through the surface layer of physical reality and see how his physical body was completely connected to the higher spiritual realms.

The process of yoga is to continually connect our body with our soul, through the ‘unification’ that takes place in all of the flowing postures (asana) and movements (vinyasa). Our Kosher Sutra features Jacob taking shabbat pose/Savasana/corpse posture where he is lying on his back and utterly ensconced in his meditation. What was the proof it worked? He awoke and God was – at least metaphorically – standing above him.

Life is full of unexpected hurricanes and tornadoes and we can always take it lying down and find ourselves beaten into submission. Alternatively, we can use these opportunities to find a deeper spiritual strength and in doing so, overcome the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune so that we bounce back stronger than ever before.

Shalom V'Ahava


Los Angeles, California

Marcus J Freed (c) 2010

There’s lots to say about this pose. Loads in fact. Really, a huge huge huge amount. But I’m not going to say it here as it’s said elsewhere. Nevertheless, this isn’t Relaxation pose. It’s a dynamic posture that is part of a very important yogic tradition. Often translated from the Sanskrit as Corpse Posture, it serves as a reminder that our bodies are temporary and that we should appreciate this relatively brief sojourn on earth.
Shabbat pose looks easy but it’s all about concentration. We completely release the breath in this pose and devote all of our resources to be conscious of our being. Focus on the inside of your body and you can even mentally scan through every part of your body from your toes upwards.

i. Lie on your back with your feet around hip width apart. Don’t spread them too widely.
ii. Place your palms facing upwards, by the sides of your hips.
iii. Close your eyes.