WELCOME TO THE YOGA AND JUDAISM CENTER

The primary focus of this yoga is not on physical exercise, but is rather "yoga beyond the mat," focusing on meditation, mysticism, philosophy and psychology.
Likewise, the focus on Judaism here is on "Hebrew Spirituality", the spirituality within Judaism, not the religion.
Your comments and posts are welcome.

Quote of the Week 310- Essence is More Than the Sum of the Parts


A biological organism is something more than the sum of its parts. Consider the people you know. If you analyze them according to height, weight, age, where they went to school, and so on, you are engaging in a form of reductionism that will never capture their essence. We intuitively understand this to be true with human beings, but we have been trained not to apply it to every other substance and life-form and the planet.


--Herbalist Stephen Harrod Buhner in an interview by Akshay Ahuja in Sun Magazine, December 2014, Issue 468


CURRENT TEACHING SESSIONS


UPCOMING IN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY - SAVE THE DATES!!!


JEWISH YOGA MEDITATION AND MYSTICISM. The great spiritual traditions of both East and West have throughout the ages promoted various forms of meditation as important practices to foster spiritual awakening and development. As an independent practice, to supplement other spiritual or religious practices, for stress management and relaxation, or all of the above, this course will provide the theoretical framework and practical technique for a traditional yoga-based practice derived from an ancient and time-honored Himalayan tradition. Included will be basic breathing and stress reduction techniques. They lay the foundation for access to avenues leading to the stillness within. Connections will also be made throughout to similar principles found in Jewish mysticism, including utilizing Hebrew phrases in place of yoga mantras. The class consists of 4 two-hour sessions meeting once a week for 4 consecutive weeks.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR. Steven J. Gold, BA Antioch College, Philosophy and Religion; JD Emory Law School, is the founder/director of the Yoga and Judaism Center in Atlanta, GA and the author of Yoga and Judaism (2007) Ivri: The Essence of Hebrew Spirituality (2010), Torah Portion Summaries; With Insights from the Perspective of a Jewish Yogi (2010), and Basic Spiritual Principles (2011). He has been an initiate, student, practitioner and teacher in a Himalayan meditation tradition for over 35 years and a student of Kabala and Jewish Spirituality for several years. He developed a hybrid Jewish Yoga Meditation which is the focus of these sessions.


Cost: $60.00 for the 4-session course, or whatever can be comfortably afforded (nobody turned away for inability to pay); we are looking for participants willing to commit for all of the sessions because they are cumulative in nature, although missing one session is not fatal.


Dates and Times: Sunday mornings, 11 AM to 1 PM; January 25,

February 1, February 8, and February 15, 2015


Location: The home of Steve Gold, 3562 Castlehill Court, Tucker, GA 30084


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Yoga, Breath, Chanting and Meditation Mini-Retreat

Sponsored by Neshama Interfaith Center


Steve Gold will facilitate this mini-retreat on Saturday, February 7, 2015. It will include physical exercise, breathing and relaxation, chanting and guided meditation.


Date: Saturday, February 7, 2015

Time: Session 1, 10 AM to Noon; Session 2, 1 PM to 3:00 PM; Break for bag lunch between sessions, Noon to 1 PM

Location: TBD

Fee: $20.00 each for individual sessions, $30.00 for both sessions


Session 1: Yoga Body-Breath-Mind-Spirit Practices

10 AM to Noon


Yoga is most popularly known as a system of physical exercise developed in India to tone, balance and calm the body and internal organs. It is also part of a more comprehensive system designed to facilitate spiritual development through progressive steps of a journey from without to within. It leads from the body to the breath to the mind and ultimately to the spirit. Chanting is also a spiritually beneficial practice within the yoga system channeling emotions in a uplifting direction.


This session will begin with physical exercises, followed by breathing and relaxation exercises, followed by chanting, and ending with a guided meditation. Bring a yoga mat, a blanket or pillow for seated meditation and chanting (chairs will be provided for those who are not comfortable sitting on the floor).


It is recommended that participants come to the class on an empty stomach, or if you must eat, finish a light breakfast at least one hour before the start of the class session. Yoga and meditation is best done on an empty stomach.




Break for ‘Bring your own’ bag lunch between sessions, Noon to 1 PM

Session 2: Science of Breath and Pranayama – Theory and Practice

1 PM to 3 PM


Yoga emphasizes the significance of the breath and its associated, more subtle life force, called “prana”. This tandem serves as a significant layer of the soul and physiological and spiritual function that connects the body with the deeper levels of lower and higher mind, and beyond. This session will start with an in-depth theoretical presentation exploring the physiological functions of the breath and corresponding psychic functions of the flow of life force prana. It will conclude with a detailed experiential meditation exercise putting the theory into practice.


About the facilitator: Steven J. Gold, BA Antioch College, Philosophy and Religion; JD Emory Law School, is the founder/director of the Yoga and Judaism Center in Atlanta, GA and the author of Yoga and Judaism (2007), Ivri: The Essence of Hebrew Spirituality (2010), Torah Portion Summaries; With Insights from the Perspective of a Jewish Yogi (2010), and Basic Spiritual Principles (2011). He has been an initiate, student, practitioner and teacher in a Himalayan yoga and meditation tradition for over 35 years and a student of Kabala and Jewish Spirituality for several years. His teaching activities include yoga and meditation as contained in Indian spirituality, Jewish mysticism, and correlations between the two traditions. Blog: http://yajcenter.blogspot.com. Email: yajcenter@aol.com.


To register for one or both sessions (please confirm which you are interested in joining, if only one), please email Sue at sue@neshamainterfaithcenter.org.

Payment on the day by cash or check, payable to Steve Gold www.neshamainterfaithcenter.org


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Daat Elyon presents:


Living in the Presence of God

A Contemplative Shabbaton

With Rabbi Yoel Glick

February 27, 28, March 1, 2015


Come join us for a Shabbaton with the renowned teacher, spiritual guide and mentor Rabbi Yoel Glick. During this weekend, Rabbi Yoel will share insights, practices and experiences from his new book Living the Life of Jewish Meditation: A Comprehensive Guide to Practice and Experience.


Friday night, February 27: Contemplative Kabbalat Shabbat

Friday Night, Rabbi Yoel Glick will lead a contemplative Kabbalat Shabbat service to greet the Sabbath Queen with short guided meditations, chanting and singing.

Time: 7:30 PM

Location: Ahavath Achim Synagogue, 600 Peachtree Battle Ave. NW, Atlanta 30327


Saturday Morning, February 28, Meditation Workshop: Building a Jewish Meditation Practice

At the heart of the meditative life is our daily practice. Our day-to-day meditation is the key to transforming our consciousness. In this workshop, we will explore the five categories of meditation techniques - stilling the mind, visualization, concentration, mantra chanting and contemplation - and delve into the inner processes that they set into motion.

Time: 10 AM to 1 PM

Location: Lang Carson Center (at Lang Carson Park), 100 Flat Shoals Ave SE, Atlanta, 30316

Fee: $20.00. Pre-registration/prepayment required. Send fee payable to Yoga and Judaism Center, PO Box 1769, Decatur, GA 30031. Space is limited; first-come, first-served. Bring yoga mat, meditation blanket/cushion.


Saturday Evening, February 28: Celebratory Havdalah

In this Havdalah service, Rabbi Yoel will utilize the traditional rituals, Kabbalistic chanting, Hasidic melodies and mystical teaching to conclude the Shabbat and draw its spiritual power into the consciousness of the new week.

Time: 7 PM to 8 PM

Location: Vista Yoga, 2836 LaVista Rd., Decatur 30033 (behind Napoleon’s)


Sunday Morning, March 1: Seeking the Living Presence of God: The Story of My Spiritual Journey

In this talk, Rabbi Yoel will talk about his spiritual journey and the vibrant encounter between Judaism and Hinduism which has become his life’s path and work.

Time: 11 AM (silent meditation from 10:30 AM to 11 AM; program starts at 11AM)

Location: Vedanta Center of Atlanta, 2331 Brockett Rd. Tucker, GA 30084


Sunday Afternoon, March 1: Building the Temple of the Heart: The Three Pillars of the Spiritual Life

In the Hebrew Bible, God commands Israel: “Make me a sanctuary and I shall dwell in your midst.” The Baal Shem teaches that each of us is a living temple.

The rabbis set out the three pillars of this inner temple: Torah (study of spiritual wisdom), Avodah (Worship) and Gimilut Hasadim (Acts of Loving-kindness). These three pillars correspond to the three Yogas of Hinduism: Jnana yoga, Bhakti yoga, and Karma yoga. They can also be defined as the expansion of our consciousness, the constant remembrance of God, and the inner work of self-transformation. In this talk and experiential workshop, we will explore how to use these three paths to build a sacred space inside us where the Divine Presence dwells.

Time: 1 PM to 3 PM

Location: Vedanta Center of Atlanta, 2331 Brockett Rd. Tucker, GA 30084



For more information, contact Steve Gold, Yoga and Judaism Center, yajcenter@aol.com, 770-270-8290.

All sessions are free and open to the public, except for Saturday morning, as noted.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Quote of the Week 260 - The Revenge of the Spirit


Perhaps environmental pollution and the painful gap between the rich and the poor do not constitute the major challenges of our civilization. Perhaps the real challenge lies in the way humankind meets the world- that is, in human consciousness. Consciousness is what makes us unique in the history of evolution. But we have yet to embrace fully what it means to be human…

External evolution requires internal evolution. That was the dimension Abraham Maslow added to the basic Freudian needs: our search for meaning. We strive to develop our consciousness to achieve self-actualization…

The time has come for the spirit to escape from institutions, organizations, structures, strictures and systems. The development of the economy, technology and society is bringing human autonomy closer and closer. Modern individuals have infinitely more opportunities to organize their own lives than did those of previous generations We are at the threshold of a revenge of the spirit. This is the top of Maslow’s pyramid; self-realization. Consciousness separates the human being from other living creatures. We are all recognizably unique and our desire is to fulfill that uniqueness. The next phase of evolution is about becoming conscious beings that direct ourselves. That’s the way to happiness vitality intelligence and health.

The vision of the autonomous individual should not be confused with the current culture of individualism. At a higher level of awareness, the autonomous person realizes her independence relies on the respect and tolerance of others. As more and more people find their own way to spiritual development, they realize that every person, every creature, is part o a greater whole. This growing awareness is changing society. Personal development on a large scale – in sharp contrast with the collective mass hysteria of the various religious – adds a new dimension to the evolution.

If the expansion of consciousness is the mark of the future, it will have a profound effect on the way we equip and organize our world. As awareness rises, equality and community become stronger forces at the expense of old-fashioned, overly controlling rules and overly dominant institutions that promote competition. We will see less emphasis on power, more space for self-organization. That will amount to less winning or losing and more spontaneous synergy on the road to a common outcome.
We are discovering that the pollution of the mind gave rise to the pollution of the environment and that ecology is not just about preserving resources and nature but about realizing humanity’s place in the creation of the universe. “Self-realization will make us spontaneously inclined to value and defend the integrity of the world around us,” said Arne Naess, the founder of the deep ecology movement.

Self-direction will transform standardized education systems, as children cease to be asked to parrot what they read in books selected by their teachers and parents but learn to discover, develop and capitalize on their own talents. Self-determination is also crucial for our health. Autonomous individuals are more healthy individuals. And so increased consciousness will dismantle the expensive, rule-bound system of health care…

In the end, what an Indian master once told me accurately describes our mission: “The greatest journey we can make is the journey within. While going nowhere, while staying right here, we can travel an even greater distance inside.” That journey begins with feeling, listening, looking and experiencing, and sometimes by taking a moment in our busy lives to experience our connection with creation, to invite the future in, to discover that happiness is more than matter or property, to learn that health is, first and foremost, an individual, inner experience…

Come, let’s invest in our dreams of a world renewed, trusting that a new era is now supporting our longing. “It is our duty – as men and women – to behave as though limits to our ability do not exist. We are collaborators in the creation of the universe,” said French philosopoher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. And we should never forget that we are here to trust and realize our dreams. There’s no more fundamental change.

--Excerpts from the article, The Revenge of the Spirit in The Intelligent Optimist magazine (formerly Ode) January/February 2013 edition
by Jurriaan Kamp, editor-in-chief

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