NOOM, YOGA & JUDAISM: THREE BALANCED DIETS FOR THE SOUL – BY MARC

First off, the word diet has two meanings. It is what we habitually do and eat in order to nourish ourselves.  i.e. a daily diet of Judaism is good for the soul… We should strive for a daily diet of healthy food, lots of water and exercise.

I need to change my daily “diet” to make sure I am giving myself exactly what my body, mind and soul needs. Judaism literally FEEDS my soul and gives me spiritual nourishment. 

A diet is also a set plan where we restrict ourselves in order to lose weight and get in shape. This involves making better decisions, substitutions and stopping the eyes and heart from wandering. Sound familiar?

The “diets” that work are always more about lifestyle changes and not depravation and elimination, which is hardly sustainable. And fad diets make drop weight quickly, which is sometimes a good thing, but if they are not realistic and practical, failure and weight gain will still follow. 

So here I am, out of shape thanks to the pandemic and my own laziness. Rather than doing another fad die, I opted for both definitions of a diet, and just started the Noom program, which is based in psychology. 

Plus, I just got back to Yoga this past weekend, which was tough and rewarding… but amazing as always.

And I am going steady in a new Tanya class at the Chabad of Sherman Oaks with the amazing Rabbi Yossi Lipskier. All three are “feeding” my soul.

Second, I need to reiterate to one of my favorite quotes:
“There are no coincidences, it is G-d’s way of remaining anonymous.”
 – Rabbi Shlomo Bistritzky

Why am I mentioning this quote here? Because in the last few weeks, every lesson I have learned in Tanya, Yoga and Noom are all interrelated. Boom!Here are the standouts:

Value yourself

Be open enough to receive and know you deserve it. BUT… also be willing and free to let things go. So says Noom, yoga and Judaism!

In yoga this weekend, my fantastic teacher Krista, opened the class with having us do a specific mudra (a symbolic or ritual gesture or pose  in Hinduism Buddhism). We started with our hands together at our hearts in “prayer” position and then slowly opened them up, keeping all the fingertips together, but making a bowl to receive. We held this for a while, setting the intention of the class. 

We must be open and willing to receive the lessons and all that will present itself, and be must be willing and free to let go of things that do not serve us. It immediately reminded me of two things. Th first, was a mantra I came up with a while ago, and one that I need to get back to…

I release the things that no longer serve me, to make room for the things that do and will. 

The second thing was an amazing story I heave read and heard Rabbi David Aaron tell. 

Rabbi David Aaron of the famed Isralight tells the great story of one of his earliest experiences with Kabbalah. The gist of the story is that when a Kabbalah master offered him an apple and he went to grab it, the room of students screamed no. This happened several times, until he noticed “that people were motioning for me to cup my hand and hold it beneath the apple. I did so. The great Kabbalist smiled and dropped the apple into my hand. He then bent over and, in a tone that seemed to admonish me, whispered in my ear, “What have you been learning?” Before I could answer, he turned and walked away.” 

“Kabbalah” literally means “receptivity”—indeed, it is the art of learning to receive…The lesson was: when you are offered a gift, do not take it; instead, make of yourself a space that can receive it. Kabbalah is not only about getting more out of life; it is about receiving life as a gift. It is about the art of receiving life’s gifts of love, spiritual growth, awareness, creativity, freedom, inner peace, happiness, and holiness.”Rabbi Yossi taught us about Iskafya, a word I had never heard of but is now one of the most profound lessons I have learned and one of my favorites. The Rabbi described it as “Instead of saying now, say no.” 

Clearly this means to stop and not immediately go with the eyes and heart. In dieting terms, this is an essential concept. When you open the cupboard, stop. Are those calories worth it? Can you make a healthier and better decision? Yes, you can… so instead of saying now, say no.

I added a tweak to this… Instead of saying now, say KNOW. The more knowledge we have in anything means the better decisions we will make. So stop and instead of saying now, say no… and KNOW… Boom!

Thanks to my fellow seeker Charly for sending this Iskafya article to me!

“Its literal meaning is “suppression,” which is quite an accurate reflection of its actual meaning. Iskafya is self-restraint, a person’s exercise of self-control over his cravings, his addictions, his body. Iskafya is the mind showing the body who his boss. “So, mister,” says the mind. “You want to indulge in that indulgence? Do you? No. Not today.”

The commonality is astounding. All three are coming to me at the exact time I need them. All three are reinforcing the other; proof that we can learn from anyone and anywhere, another brilliant Jewish ideal and guidance.

So the next time you want to change your diet, consider the things that will truly feed your body, mind and soul, and do something that will take hold and last. Here’s to my having the power to stop, be wiser and make better decisions. Here’s to my losing the things that are unhealthy for me, and being open to receiving the things that are positive. Here’s to that for all of us, body, mind, soul and spirituality!!!

L’Chaim.

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