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Finding Your Flow—in Hebrew?

The ancient asanas of yoga find a surprising new partner: Jewish liturgical chants.

Practice

Illustration Credit: Dānmālā 517 by Kathy Klein

At first glance, a session of shira yoga might look like a typical yoga class. But hang around to listen, and you’ll notice that, instead of traditional kirtan music or a flowing electronic groove, the room is humming with an ancient Hebrew chant.Currently available in New York and Boston, and launching later this year in San Francisco, shira yoga was conceived as a fresh new way to help people connect to piyut, or Jewish liturgical poems. Traditionally sung or chanted during religious services, the verses of the piyut can be performed in a wide range of musical styles and have been experiencing a cultural and religious revival in Israel for the past decade.Now a new organization, Piyut North America, is seeking to bring that revival to the United States, hoping to increase the appreciation of piyut, as well as to offer Jews—and non-Jews—a creative way to connect with their faith.Organizer Eva Heinstein, an Israeli American ethnomusicologist and yoga practitioner, said shira yoga seemed like a natural pairing.“We looked for a community that had an interest in music, chant, and spiritual practice. For ma …

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