Practices and rituals offer us a point of stability in an otherwise chaotic world.
Seeking calm amid the storm? Let me introduce you to a little ritual that just might help you turn inward and get back to the stable core of your being. It’s called hitbodedut!
What is Hitbodedut
When you go outside and talk to the world, to the plants, to the divine, that is Hitbodedut.
Hitbodedut literally means “seclusion” and in rabbinic literature refers to meditation. However, it is most closely associated with a practice of the great Hasidic master Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810). Rabbi Nachman urged his followers to set aside time every day to talk openly with God in one’s native language. – My Jewish Learning
Reb Nachman teaches that when we go outside and share our deepest wishes, hopes, and prayers out into the winds, our words are uplifted and empowered by the flora of the fields. The plants enter into our prayers and strengthen the power of our words.
How is this relevant to Yoga though? I’m so glad you asked 😉
Praying with our Bodies
What is our asana practice if not the translation of our deepest hopes and dreams into movement. Do we not all hope for peace and dream of a world where all beings are filled with ease, comfort, strength, resilience, flexibility.
I know that when I practice, it is the moving expression of my deep hope for healing, both my personal healing and the healing of the whole world.
Our physical practice, viewed in this way, becomes a moving meditation, a full body prayer. If we take that practice out into the fields, then from this perspective, all the plants strengthen and assist our prayers.
So dear yogis, when you feel powerless or lost, take your prayers and your practices into the fields and Do Yoga Outside! Be with yourself and connect to oneness, allow it to strengthen your deepest desires for the betterment of humanity.
Grant me the ability to be alone; may it be my custom to go outdoors each day among the trees and grass – among all growing things and there may I be alone, and enter into prayer May I express everything in my heart, and may all the foliage of the field – all grasses, trees, and plants – awake at my coming, to send the powers of their life into my prayer so that my prayer is made whole through the life and spirit of all growing things, which are made as one May I then pour out the prayers of my heart before the universe like water May I lift up my hands in reverence, on my behalf, and that of all living beings
-Based on Reb Nachman’s Prayer – Likutei Tefillah, 2:11
Nachman of Breslov, 1772-1810, Ukraine
Likutei Moharan (Collected Teachings) published between 1808-1815
Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, 1707-1746, Amsterdam Messilat Yesharim (Path of the Upright)