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MIND & BODY
MIND &
BODY

The Art of Kabalah Yoga

Easy as Alef, Bet, Gimel

by Jamie Bussin

When most people imagine how they look when they’re holding their asanas (yoga postures) they see themselves as manifestations of the animal or thing that the pose is named after; the arched back of the ‘cobra’, the bent legs of the ‘pigeon’ or the rooted strength and balance of the ‘tree’. Not Audi Gozlan. He sees the grace of God.

In 2000 as part of an exercise and training regimen, Gozlan started his practice of yoga with his wife, Karen, a yoga instructor. While performing the Warrior II pose during a yoga class, Gozlan perceived that the pose also roughly formed ‘alef’, the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet. The realization made him look at yoga in a di erent way. He began to see other asanas not only in terms of flora and fauna, but also as Hebrew characters formed by his body. Gozlan, had previously studied and taught Kabalah wisdom and meditation. Kabalah refers to the study of ancient Jewish mystical traditions focused on seeking knowledge about the universe, its purpose and its creation –and our relationship to these important elements. Kabalah teaches that the energy of every- thing in the world, both living creatures and inanimate objects alike, came into existence through the Hebrew letters that spell out their

names. The letters, in addition to being char- acterizations of sounds, are the codes behind each form of life, creating and animating them out of nothingness. Gozlan believes that by learning the deep meanings of the letters and by seeing the poses in your body as the shapes of Hebrew letters, you will embrace their divine energy and be healed, strengthened, and inspired both physically and spiritually. By assuming certain postures, participants can draw on the powers of the Hebrew letters. Thus Kabalah Yoga was born. Over the next eleven years Gozlan has been designing and developing the program and teaching it worldwide. His website (www.KabalahYoga. com) has attracted thousands of visitors and his Facebook page (Kabalah Yoga) has over 11,000 fans and members from all over the world. Since last year, ONE Network began broadcasting the Kabalah Yoga show. Shot on location in Canada and Israel, each episode teaches a practical lesson in life through the implementation of yoga postures and through the deep wisdom of Kabalah. There are currently no live Kabalah Yoga classes being taught in Toronto, although Gozlan is in discussion with local studios to conduct some workshops in January and February 2012. While the spiritual essence of Kabalah Yoga is decidedly Jewish, Gozlan sees no

essence of Kabalah Yoga is decidedly Jewish, Gozlan sees no KABALAH + YOGA Audi Gozlan isn’t

KABALAH + YOGA

Audi Gozlan isn’t the only one to have joined the traditions of Kabalah and yoga. Other similar unions include Naam Yoga, Ophanim Yoga, Torah Yoga and Alpha-bet Yoga. Books and shows on such practices include:

Torah Yoga: Experiencing Jewish Wisdom Through Classic Postures by Diane Bloomfield

Kabbalah Yoga for Ambitious Beginners Creating Your Own Fountain of Youth by Yvonne Dayan.

Kabalah Yoga: The Chakra Series Airs daily on the ONE Network, check local listings for showtimes.

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conflict. One doesn’t need to be Jewish to practice Kabalah Yoga. Its principles are universal and compliment rather than conflict with the philosophy and meditative practices of traditional yoga

- which has religious roots in Hinduism.

Kabalah yoga is open to anyone willing to embrace both the physical and non- physical sides of the discipline and focus on the unity of the body, mind and spirit. Gozlan explains, “In order to experience harmony in life you need to bring balance between the physical and spiritual selves. This is the true search inward. When we go to the gym we nour- ish the body. But we also have to exercise our spirits. Kabalah yoga brings this

harmony. It allows you to discover your-

self from the inside out – to discover this deep essence inside of you, while getting

a workout. Because when you’re doing

this yoga you’re getting a real workout - I

mean you’re really shvitzing.” In practice, Kabalah Yoga is not dissimilar to Hatha yoga – though the

form is slightly di erent. One does not need to be an expert; it’s suitable for many levels and abilities. As with traditional practices, you’ll benefit from increased muscle strength and flex- ibility, protection from falls and reduced stress. Gozlan says, “I try to stick to the traditional Hatha yoga. That’s my background. But what I do in addition is integrate the concept of Kabalah. The Sun Salutations are not just movements. When you extend your arms over your head in Mountain Pose you are forming the letter ‘lamed’. Lamed is all about opening your heart to heaven. When you do the Downward Facing Dog you are opening yourself to the earth and form- ing the letter ‘heth’. The Sun Salutation’s progression actually spells the Hebrew words ‘lech lecha’, which translate to ‘enter into your self’”. Gozlan’s passion is the ongoing exploration of the similarities between the traditions in India through yoga and mediation, and Judaism. The new

season of Kabalah Yoga: The Chakra Series, premiered on the ONE Network on November 16th and airs daily. The Chakras in the Hindu tradition are the main energy channels. In Kabalah there are corresponding energy channels called Sefirot. Episodes in the new series explore these energy channels; whether the physical channels of the body or the spiritual channels of the soul. Each thirty minute show begins with Gozlan practicing yoga by the ocean in Israel. After that, he introduces the theme for the show and the guest, who is usually a well known yoga teacher from any of the traditions. There is a five minute discus- sion about Kabalah and yoga and then the host and guest practice a yoga flow that spells out an idea in Hebrew. With Kabalah Yoga you may find a unique form of exercise or perhaps, the truth about the universe.

Jamie Bussin is the Publisher of Tonic Magazine. The Kabalistic meaning of his name is “one who despises pigeon pose”. For more information on Kabalah Yoga visit www.kabalahyoga.com

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