My friends make fun of me because I’ve been obsessed with holiday mash-ups recently (and you’ll see I’m not alone if you’re also a fan of Chosen Eats!). It all started with the epic Thanksgivukkah, and now my mind is on Purim and St. Patrick’s Day, the overlap of the ultimate Jewish and Irish drinking holidays. Given the parade and fanfare in the city, most Bostonians know about St. Patty’s Day. But when my Catholic friend asked me about Purim, the whole table was in disbelief when I proceeded to explain that we are, indeed, commanded to get plastered (among other things, of course!). Yes, St. Patty’s Day is known for green beer and debauchery, but let’s be clear—no one is technically commanding you to get drunk. Add in the costumes, noisemakers, Megillah reading and delicious triangle cookies—aka hamentashen—and Purim has much more to it than we see on the surface.
Aside from parties and Megillah readings (which are fantastic, by the way, and in fact I would highly recommend checking out the “Roaring 20s Purim Party” at Osaka Japanese Sushi & Steak House in Brookline on Saturday), Shira Yoga is bringing a new perspective to Purim this year. Since drinking and yoga may or may not mesh so well, this class is an opportunity to mentally and physically focus on certain key Purim themes. As cantorial student/yogi/teacher Julie Newman says: “Purim is all about what we hide and what we reveal—and if that isn’t yoga, then I don’t know what is! We carry so much internally, and yoga practice is a space where we can focus on the internal and reveal our true selves.” And just as we wear costumes to hide our true selves on Purim, “our everyday lives can equally mask the stress and tension that so many of us carry below the surface,” she says.
Through text and breathing, this new weekly Shira Yoga class at Down Under Yoga is a unique opportunity to explore the physical connection to Jewish thought through piyutim, ancient Sephardic poetry and song. Each week a different piyut sheds light on a different aspect of the yoga practice, and naturally has an application to many holidays and yoga poses when you delve into the essence of the text. Julie, along with yoga instructor Adina Allen, creates a spiritually, mentally and physically charged environment, and I’m excited to experience their take on Purim.
You can even get your own Purim yoga mat here, no joke! So whether you celebrate Purim with us on Sunday afternoon at Down Under Yoga, check out a Purim party, send mishloach manot (Purim baskets) or just eat some hamentashen, think beneath the surface and consider this a holiday that allows us to reflect both inside and out.