Jewish educator, actor turns yoga on its head
What do downward facing dog, warrior one, or child’s pose have in common with Genesis and Exodus?
For Marcus J. Freed, a Jewish educator, classically trained actor, and master yogi, the combination of yoga and Jewish spirituality is a pathway to the Divine.
“I was very frustrated with traditional forms of Jewish worship, despite being religiously observant and having studied at a yeshiva after university,” said Freed, the founder of Bibliyoga, in an e-mail interview with NJJN.
“When sitting in the synagogue for what seemed like hours on end, I thought there must be more than this. I got a sore back, the seats weren’t especially comfortable, and I just wanted to get up and dance or do handstands.”
On May 7-8, Freed will bring his unorthodox method of attaining Jewish enlightenment to Temple Shalom in Aberdeen. He will be the annual Morris and Rose Goldfeder Scholar-in-Residence, sponsored by Anna and Norman Katz in honor of her parents.
Program chair Sharon Steinhorn of Marlboro recalled she was among the eight or nine temple members who saw Freed in November at the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial in Toronto.
“We saw him perform this one-man show about King Solomon and all his wives — which he will also be performing for us — that was just hilarious,” she said.
Freed said his Bibliyoga system “engages the mind, body, and spirit through a combination of dynamic yoga postures while engaging in sacred Jewish texts.”
The Briton recalled that as he was completing formal training as an actor at the prestigious London Drama School, he met a “truly incredible” yoga teacher, Edward Clark.
“This also provided me with a great spiritual buzz,” said Freed. “When I started looking into traditional Jewish sources — Tanach (Bible), Talmud, Zohar (Kabala), and rabbinic commentaries — I saw that there were references to physicality and body-prayer all over the place.
“Bibliyoga was born, and it’s now been taught in over 20 countries.”
Also a BBC broadcaster, he is the owner and head facilitator of Freedthinking, an organizational management and branding consulting firm that specializes in drama-based learning. Freed also e-mails a weekly “kosher sutra” to Bibliyoga followers.
“A terrific yoga experience will leave you feeling uplifted and inspired,” said Freed. “The Bibliyoga workshops combine dynamic yoga that is designed to tone and energize your body, and the yoga is infused with powerful Jewish wisdom for the ultimate body-soul experience.”