Praying with Our Feet

Lisa Goldstein
Rabbi Lisa Goldstein
The other day I got together with a friend who is one of the wise advisors in my life.  I told her about a particular issue I was grappling with.  She shared a meditation instruction of bringing attention to the sensation of my feet on the floor and really focusing on the way gravity presses the feet down into the support of floor.  As I practiced with this instruction, I felt a kind of stability that opened up a clarity that helped me understand what steps to take next.
The very next day I was learning a text from 
Likkutei Halachot with my study partner.  The topic was about how to find  eitzot  amiti'ot shleimot , wise advice, the kind that can lead you where you really need to go, not just in the short term, but for long term attainment. This book was written by Nachman of Breslov's beloved disciple, Nathan, and-as is usual for Nachman teachings-there were lots of metaphors for the wise advice that we all seek.
So, given my experience the day before, I was astonished to see that one of the metaphors for wise advice was  raglayim , the legs and feet!

A Moment of Mindfulness
by Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg

How We Make for Safety
by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality

Waters of Refuge: Restorative Yoga
by Rabbi Myriam Klotz

Love After Love
by Derek Walcott

Birchot HaShachar in Movement
by Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg

Upcoming Programs:


A Moment of Mindfulness is a Moment of Compassion 

- Either Way, is a Blessing

Sheila Weinberg
Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg
Coming home to this moment.
Recognizing we are alive. And that is good.
Let's take a moment to receive what is here.
I invite everyone to take a conscious breath and just  feel. Whatever feeling feels like to you.
Breathing in. breathing out.

How We Make for Safety
the Institute for Jewish Spirituality
At every Institute retreat, we work to create a space where everyone - regardless of where they are coming from, what they bring with them, and and what might arise for them on retreat - can feel safe, held, welcomed, and able to express themselves without fear of judgment or rebuke.
For those of you who may be running groups of your own, participating in groups that you may like to see change, or even looking to see informal spaces such as family or friend dynamics change, we wish to share with you the Institute's guidelines of  How We Make for Safety, presented to all participants at each Institute retreat.

Myriam Klotz
Rabbi Myriam Klotz

Restorative yoga involves gentle, passive stretching, allowing the nervous system to quiet down and experience deep rest. In this guided practice, explore how, in stressful times, we can find our ways to the waters of quiet and repose, restoring the soul to a place of ease and well being. Find renewal in slowing down, letting the body rest in stillness and quiet - experience a deep place of rest in the body and the breath.

Derek Walcott
Treating ourselves gently can be one of the hardest parts of self-care. This poem might serve as a  kavvanah  before a lovingkindness meditation, or you might use a line or two as a focus phrase to remind you to treat yourself with love. 
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.

Sheila Weinberg
Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg
I have taught this combination of Qi Gong at many retreats. Feel free to improvise. It is most valuable to coordinate the movement with the breath and not to strive for perfection. As one of my teachers said, "Underdo."
Use  in  and  out  breath with each movement, allowing your hands to rise in front of your body, to shoulder level, hands in front ( in  breath) -  Baruch ; extend your fingers ( out  breath)  ata ; pull arms into chest - wrists toward shoulder ( in  breath)  ado  or  yud hay ; let hands float down (out breath)  nai  or  vav hay ; move arms all the way over head ( in  breath)  elohaynuu ; arms open and down to sides ( out  breath)  ruach ha-olam .