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Torah Yoga: Tasting the Tree of Life

Jul 23, 2018 - Jul 29, 2018

Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT

With Diane Bloomfield, Nancy Wolfson, and Julie Emden

Eating in community is a central part of Jewish practice and celebration. Rabbi Nachman teaches that Torah can teach us how to eat. In this retreat we will taste how eating together builds community as we take ourTorah study together “to the table,” literally through daily​ Torah study, yoga practice, and ​conscious eating sessions. We will expand the concept of eating through awareness of the ways we are nourished by our study, breath, movements, yoga, and each other.

 

Retreat Overview

Each morning, the teachers will lead a full Iyengar yoga practice that is integrated with a Jewish teaching. In each session, we will focus on a different family of thoughtfully sequenced yoga poses including standing poses, forward bends, baby back bends, and beginning inversions, so that throughout the week we will cover a wide and balanced range of poses. These yoga sessions are suitable for all levels of experience. Trained Torah Yoga assistants will be available to help individual students adapt the poses as needed.

Each afternoon, we will learn the Torah text from that morning’s practice through classical shiurim (teacher-led Torah), group discussions, and traditional Jewish chevruta (study with a partner). Knowledge of Hebrew is not necessary because we will examine original Hebrew texts together with their English translations. At the end of each day, the afternoon Torah study sessions will be integrated back into a series of restorative yoga postures and breath work.

In the early mornings and late afternoons, there will be Torah Yoga classes offered to the whole community by alumni of the Torah Yoga program. There will also be the opportunity to join the Davenen Leadership Training Institute community for prayer services.

In the evenings, we will be treated to experiential learning sessions connected to our theme led also by alumni of the Torah Yoga Program.

One of the most precious practices in the Jewish tradition is called Torah Lishma, the study of Torah for its own sake, with no other goal in mind. A primary goal of this course is for students to taste the sweetness of Torah Lishma. Adding yoga to Jewish learning adds a new and unique experiential dimension to Torah Lishma.

Whether they come as teachers, healers, rabbis, cantors, artists, therapists, dancers, or curious learners, students often leave a Torah Yoga retreat with a deep desire to share Torah Yoga with others. Those who are already teaching Torah Yoga will find renewed inspiration and sources from the texts and translations brought to this retreat.

No previous Torah study or yoga practice is required for participation in this retreat. All are welcome: newcomers to Torah Yoga, long-time practitioners, and alumni of the Torah Yoga program.

Resources: Torah Yoga: Experiencing Jewish Wisdom Through Classic Postures by Diane Bloomfield is available in our bookstore.

Teachers

Diane Bloomfield
Diane Bloomfield is the the author of Torah Yoga: Experiencing Jewish Wisdom through Classic Postures. She lives in Jerusalem where she teaches ongoing Torah and Torah Yoga classes live and on the web. Diane also teaches Torah Yoga retreats and teacher training programs in the United States. Diane has learned Torah since the mid-eighties at Pardes and other institutions, and with private teachers. She is a certified Junior level Iyengar Yoga Instructor and a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist. She is currently working on her new book, Playing with Torah: Delight for a Distressed World. Her newest endeavor, together with veteran tour guide and author Allan Rabinowitz, is leading 10-day trips through Israel called Torah Yoga in Hiking Boots. Visit Diane’s website for more information.
 

Nancy Wolfson-Moche
Nancy Wolfson-Moche, CHHC, RYT-200 teaches yoga and is a nourishment educator, certified macrobiotic counselor and writer guiding people in improving their health and well-being through making informed diet and lifestyle choices. She crafts and teaches food awareness and cooking programs for children and adults in schools, community centers, and privately. For twenty years, while awakening to the power of food, Nancy was an editor and writer on lifestyle magazines. Her articles have appeared in scores of magazines and newspapers. Check out her blog, Vegetables for Breakfast and see more about Nancy at youarebecauseyoueat.com.
 

Julie Emden
Julie Emden, RYT-500, directs the Embodied Jewish Learning Initiative at Jewish LearningWorks in San Francisco. A graduate of five fellowship and teaching certification programs related to her work as a Jewish educator, Iyengar-based yoga instructor and movement/expressive artist, Julie has nineteen years of experience guiding others in exploring Jewish wisdom, text and practices via the body in a variety of settings. Embodied Jewish Learning offers classes, workshops, teacher trainings, and strategic consultation and guidance for Jewish Wellness Initiatives throughout the SF Bay Area. More info at: www.jewishlearningworks.org/embodied-jewish-learning Contact: jbemden@gmail.com.
 

Sample Schedule

7:00 am Community Yoga or Morning Tefillah with Davenen Leaders
8:00 am Breakfast
9:30 am Torah yoga Practice with Iyengar Yoga
12:00 pm Lunch
2:00 pm Text Study with Restorative Yoga
6:00 pm Dinner
7:30 pm Evening Program

Rates and Registration

Check back for registration info.

We strive to make our programs affordable to everyone. Limited scholarships are available, please see the scholarships tab for details.

Tamar Fund Scholarships

We strive to make our retreats affordable to everyone.We believe retreats are important experiences to be shared. Inclusiveness is one of our core values. We strive to ensure that our retreats are as financially accessible as possible. The Tamar fund makes that aspiration possible. Read about more about the Tamar Fund, in loving memory of Tamar Bittelman z’’l.

Please check back for more information.

Camp Teva for Kids

Camp Teva is for kids ages 5 – 12, and runs simultaneously with retreats geared toward adults. Camp Teva combines the best of Teva’s signature Jewish environmental education with all of the opportunities provided by the Adamah Farm to create a distinctive and creative way for kids to have a fun and safe Jewish outdoor, food, and environmental education experience while their parents are enjoying Hazon’s many retreats, conferences, holidays, and workshops at Isabella Freedman. A transformative experience for the whole family!

When you register kids during your event registration process, they are automatically enrolled in Camp Teva! All-inclusive kids’ rates include Camp Teva programming.

more information about camp teva

Guest Information

Arrival and Departure

Check-in is from 2 to 5 pm on Monday, July 23, followed by a welcome and orientation. If you are arriving on a different day, you may check in with the retreat manager on duty anytime after 4 pm on your arrival day. You must be checked out of your room by 10 am on the day your retreat ends. The retreat will come to an end with lunch on Sunday, July 29.

Transportation

For those coming from the New York City area, we are conveniently located just half an hour from Wassaic Train Station, the last stop on the Harlem Line of the Metro North. We offer a shuttle service at the following times for this retreat:

  • 2:03 pm on Monday from Wassaic Train Station to IF
  • 4:03 pm on Monday from Wassaic Train Station to IF
  • 1:30 pm on Sunday from IF to Wassaic Train Station (train departing at 2:27 pm from Wassaic)

If you have not already reserved shuttle service during registration, please call (860) 824-5991 ext. 0 at least a week before the start date of the retreat to reserve your spot. For those of you driving, please see our website for directions to IF.

For more information on getting here, click here.

Ride Share

Help to reduce the environmental impact of car trips to and from Isabella Freedman by checking out our carpool initiative! Upon registering, you will receive a link to a unique rideshare board to help connect you with fellow retreat participants. Offering a ride in your car will help reduce carbon emissions, cut down gas costs and make new friends! If you are looking for a ride, adding yourself to the wait list (on the right hand side of the page) is the best way to be notified when movements occur.

Kashrut Policy

One of our mashgichim (kosher supervisors) must pre-approve all food items that enter the designated dining spaces. If you plan to supplement our delicious, healthy, farm-to-feast meals, your items must be completely sealed in original packaging. Unapproved food and drinks may be enjoyed anywhere on campus besides our dining spaces.

Packing List

You may want to bring:

  • Over-the-counter and/or prescription medications
  • Toiletries
  • Flashlight
  • Chargers for electronic devices
  • Sun protection (sunblock, sunglasses, a hat)
  • Rain gear (a jacket and/or umbrella)
  • Ritual wear
  • Comfortable, loose-fitting clothes for yoga
  • Closed toe shoes
  • Hiking boots to enjoy our many trails
  • Camping equipment, including a tent, sleeping bag, and towel if you are camping

We provide:

  • Toiletries like deodorant and toothpaste for sale in the bookstore
  • Extra kippot and tallitot, in addition to siddurim
  • Yoga mats, blankets, and blocks
  • Heat and A/C in all guest rooms
  • Linens and towels in all guest rooms
  • Alarm clocks in all guest rooms

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.