SAVE THE DATE!!

– ASL-Interpreted Shabbat Morning Services (February 12th)

From Martin Luther King’s birthday (January 15th, our most-recent one) to
Abraham Lincoln’s (February 12th, our next one)…that’s pretty distinguished
company!

New York’s Tifereth Israel-Town & Village (T&V) Synagogue (www.tandv.org)
will be hosting another sign-language-interpreted Shabbat Service on Saturday
morning, February 12th, and we hope you can join us!

The Service will include full readings from the Torah and Haftorah (Prophets),
and will be held from 10:00 AM — 12:30 PM at 334 East 14th Street, between
1st and 2nd Avenues in Manhattan.  Our Deaf/hearing interpreting team will
again include Naomi Brunnlehrman and Christopher Tester, and their work will
be underwritten thanks to UJA-Federation of New York’s Jewish Community Deaf
Interpreter Fund.

A Kiddush (refreshments and social hour) will follow Services, and all are
welcome to participate!

(Please note:  Out of respect for Shabbat, pen, paper and cell phones cannot
be used at T&V on Saturday morning.)

For additional information, please contact Bram Weiser at
or (212) 677-0368v.

Thanks, and we’ll hope to see you there!

(Schedule is subject to change.)

P.S.  Next month(!!) is Purim and T&V proudly offers an ASL-interpreted
Megillah reading (and, don’t forget, fun for all ages, too!) for the fourth
consecutive year, so mark your calendars now!  Saturday evening, March 19th…
Details are coming soon…so don’t miss out!

P.P.S.  ASL interpreters are available at T&V when requests are made in
advance.  Please contact me () for more information.

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Wasa with Parmesan Herb Seasoning

Ingredients

½ teaspoon chopped basil
¼ teaspoon chopped marjoram
¼ teaspoon chopped thyme
½ tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 pieces WASA Oat Crispbread (may substitute WASA Multigrain, Sourdough rye or Hearty Rye Crispbread)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350º
Mix herbs and oil in small bowl. Brush mixture onto crispbread.
Mix parmesan cheese with salt and pepper to taste in a separate small bowl. Sprinkle parmesan cheese mixture on crispbread.
Place crispbread on baking sheet line with parchment and bake for 5 to 7 minutes.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Serves 1

Nutritional Value Per Serving

Calories 147
Total Fat 7 g
Saturated Fat 1.2 g
Cholesterol 2 mg
Sodium 186 mg
Total Carbohydrate 20 g
Dietary Fiber 4 g
Protein 3 g
Calcium 21 mg

Child’s Pose

Alone in a cabin in the mountains, I put the kettle on the stove. My husband left yesterday to return to the city, and I have a few days to myself before more relatives arrive. I want to take this time to better develop my “home” yoga practice.

After hot oatmeal, tea, and a refreshing shower, I’m ready. In the past, I would quickly find myself intimidated or overwhelmed at the thought of practicing yoga without a teacher and other students, but I recently read an article that put me at ease. It suggested starting with one pose – just one – and building from there.

One pose?

Well. In that case, Child’s Pose.

So that is what’s on my agenda as I walk over to the blue mat rolled out on the floor. It seems appropriate to “open” my practice, so I sit with my legs crossed and chant three Oms (can you believe it – no other voices to drown out mine).

Then I got on my hands and knees and folded back into Child’s Pose. I stayed in the active position instead of the passive position.

I’ve always loved this pose. A wonderful stretch. Also – and I’m not sure if the yoga experts would agree here – but to me it feels like a gratitude pose, bowing down and saying Thanks. Finally, it’s a relaxation pose – not just for the body, but for the mind.

I try to let go of my worries. I can hear the fire crackle in the woodstove behind me. I feel it’s warmth on my back. I sink into the Earth as the tops of my feet and the palms of my hands press into the ground. After a few minutes I lift my head. For awhile I turn around and gaze at the yellow flames through the woodstove’s glass door.

Not bad for my first day, I think. Tomorrow I’ll really shake things up with Child’s Pose and Tadasana. Š

In the Beginning

Thanks to all who have stopped by and/or left comments as the Wasa blog gets underway.

A couple people mentioned that this blog has inspired them to try yoga. I know the feeling. My husband inspired me to try yoga years ago after I watched him ease into a backbend with grace. I’ve mentioned that before, but what I failed to mention was the fact that I didn’t like my first yoga class. Or my second. Or third;

I knew the benefits of yoga – flexibility, awareness, inner stillness – were practices I needed in my life, but during class I couldn’t hold the poses. It takes time to find balance and build strength. Also, the teacher wasn’t a good fit. Plus, I kept slipping on my mat because I was wearing socks. Not to mention my loose-fitting t-shirt flipped over my head when I’d bend over for Downward Facing Dog.

So my first suggestion is to wear comfortable “stretchy” clothes. Slip off your shoes (and socks) before entering the studio. Bare feet help you “stick” to the mat. If you don’t have a mat, you can rent one. Sometimes they’re free, sometimes $1.

Okay, now you’re in the studio before class has begun. Believe it or not this can be the most intimidating part.

A few years ago I remember encouraging a friend to try a yoga class. We were traveling in San Francisco and the class was at 6am. I couldn’t attend because of another obligation (um, I believe it was sleep), but my friend was a super early riser and decided to try yoga for the first time. Ten minutes later she clamored back into the room complaining that when she walked in the studio all the students were gathering foam blocks, long white straps, and bolsters, and she had no idea what these were, if she needed any, and, if so, which ones she should take.¼br />

Oh gosh, I felt awful for sleeping in. I had completely forgotten how many times I’ve felt that exact same way when I’ve tried something new. Like the first time I tried a spinning class. I was standing in the cool dark studio when a group of women walked in all holding biking shoes (biking shoes? Oops! I didn’t have those). Then they began turning knobs, lowering the seats, and adjusting the handlebars. I was outta there in 30 seconds (I went back the next day – it turns out you don’t need biking shoes and the instructor showed me how to adjust the parts – but still).

Even just a few weeks ago I tried a new yoga studio and noticed the students folding blankets in a manner I’d never seen before. I’ve been practicing yoga for years and I still felt a bit out of place. I wasn’t sure if I should fold the blanket “my” way or “their” way. That question was answered when the teacher began class and showed everyone what she wanted us to do.

So, a few more suggestions: don’t worry about the blocks, straps, and blankets. They are props to help people (like me) adjust in certain poses. If you need a prop during a pose, the yoga teacher will bring it to you, or you can ask her before class begins. Also, consider brining a friend to your first class if that would make you feel more comfortable (a friend who has practiced before can show you the ropes; if not, you two can navigate the waters together).

Now class has begun . . . and you don’t understand a word the teacher is saying. Chaturanga Dandasana? Urdhva Mukha Svanasana? Virabhadrasana II? The same thing happened to me in a dance class once where the teacher was using terms I’d never heard. The students around me began spinning and hopping and twirling about as I stood there, motionless and a little annoyed (it was a “beginners” class). Finally I gave up and tried to sneak out of the room. A woman came over and touched me on the shoulder, “You just don’t know the lingo yet. You’ll get the hang of it,” she promised.

And I promise – you’ll get the hang of yoga lingo. I do, however, recommend finding an “intro to yoga” course if you’re trying it for the first time. After trying yoga and not liking it, I finally went to this 2-day orientation at Yoga Works. Instead of jumping right into sun salutations, we sat in a circle and talked. The teacher showed us how to breathe, answered our questions, and walked us slowly through the fundamental poses. That’s when yoga began to change to my life.

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