the schmooze

Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York
My middle son is into yoga--from the
Sanskrit root word Yuj, to unite, yoke, or
join body, mind and breath.  Many people
think that yoga is just stretching.  Yes,
stretching is involved, but yoga is really
about creating balance in the "guf" (body)
through developing both strength and
flexibility.  This is accomplished through the
performance of poses or postures, each of
which has specific physical benefits.

On Long Island we have something called
"Laughter Yoga,"--a relatively new form of
aerobic exercise.  The class starts with 15
minutes of yogic breathing and gentle aerobic exercise.  And at one point,
participants clap their hands in syncopated
rhythm and chant "Ho!  Ho! Ha!-Ha! Ho!  Ho!
Ha!-Ha! Ha!"  In no time, everyone is in

What do people think of this workout...and
exercise in general?

.  "I tried Yoga once but took off for the
   mall halfway through class, as I had a
   sudden ("plutsemdik") craving for a soft
   pretzel and world peace."
            Terri Guillemets

.  Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not
   be bent out of shape.

.  What's the hardest Yoga pose?
   Corpse Pose, You only get it right once.

.  My "bobe" (grandmother) started yoga
   and--in addition--was walking five miles
   a day when she was 60.  She's 97 now and
   we don't know where the hell she is.

.  It is well documented that for every
   30-minute Yoga class that you attend, you
   add one minute to your life.  This enables
   you at 85 years of age to spend an
   additional 5 months in a nursing home
   at $12,400 per month. 

.  "Why lift weights when you can lift a
       Raye Ann Greenbaum & Jackie Tepper

Erich Kaminsky of Santa Monica, CA, came
up with an ultra-low impact exercise:
Disrobe-ics.  A strict daily regimen of putting on and taking off undersized latex
athletic wear.  (As with all exercise programs, we recommend you consult with
a physician, spiritual adviser or psychic
consultant before beginning.)
     Source:  "The Next Trend" Contest,
According to Philip L. Milgrom, "..Yoga is
practised with a heavy seriousness, which
only creates more tension.  (Author's
comment:  The Yiddish word for tension/
anxiety is "shpanung.")

Milgrom continues, ("How often do we see
models in yoga magazines looking delighted in their poses?  Usually they
appear dead serious!)  We can be serious
about our practice, but we need not take
ourselves so seriously, in our practice."

Lisa Grunberger, author of "Yiddish Yoga -
Ruthie's Adventures in Love, Loss, and the
Lotus Position," has a humorous attitude
about yoga.  She writes, "You know what's
wrong with yoga?  They haven't mastered
the art of kvetching!"

Students who love Yiddishkeit will enjoy
reading Grunberger's new "bukh."  They'll
find out about the Tree Pose, the Happy
Baby Pose, the Bridge Pose, the Goddess
Pose, and the Corpse Pose.

Marjorie Wolfe has researched  the Happy Baby Pose (also called "Dead Bug").  Here's the steps:

1.  Lie on your "rukn" (back).  With an
     exhale, bend your knees into your
     "boykh" (belly/abdomen).

2.  Inhale, grip the outsides of your feet
     with your hands (if you have difficulty
     holding the feet directly with your
     hands, hold onto a "gartl" (belt), looped
     over each "padeshve" (sole).  Open your
     knees slightly wider than your torso,
     then bring them up towards your

3.  Position each "knekhl" (ankle) directly
     over the knee, so your shins are
     perpendicular to the floor.  Flex
     through the heels.  Gently push your
     feet up into your hands (or the belts) as
     you pull your hands down to create a

4.  Coax the "polkes" (thighs) in toward
     your torso and down toward the floor
     as you lengthen the spine--release your
     tail bone toward the floor and lengthen
     the base of your skull away from the
     back of your neck.

5.  Hold the pose steady for 30 seconds to
     one minute.  Then release the feet back
     to the floor with an exhale and rest for
     a few breaths.

The Happy Baby Pose, according to Lisa
Grunberger, reminds her of a Chinese dish,
you know, like Happy Family, Buddha's
Delight, or Triple Delight Pan-Fried Noodles.

Lisa Grunberger's Yiddish & Yoga Glossaries
are "vunderlekh."  From A - Z, my favorites
are as follows:

So, thus.  If you eat too many bialys before
you do yoga, you will get a stomach ache--

This word has many meanings, depending on how you use it.  It implies something is
awry, off-kilter, or a complete mystery, as
in "Eppes, this yoga room is so hot I'm going to faint!"

To complain; as in "If the yoga teacher
doesn't arrive in five minutes, I'm leaving."

Strength.  I don't know where I find the
koyech to hold Warrior I at 6:30 in the

A really knowledgeable person.  Sammy is
a yoga maven; I'm a chocolate maven.

Neshome Soul
I try to bring my whole self to the yoga
mat--body, mind, and spirit, or neshome.

Oy Vey
Literally, "Oh, it hurts," but it can be used to
express surprise, as in "Oy vey, this Tree Pose is challenging my legs!"

Belly button.  Since I started yoga classes,
I've seen so many pupiks with rings and
beads.  So festive.

Tush (Tuches)
Derriere, rear end.  You have to lift your tush up to the heavens in Downward Dog.

Don't walk--RUN--to your nearest
"bicher-krom" (book store) and buy
"Yiddish Yoga - Ruthie's Adventures in
Love, Loss, and the Lotus Position"
(Newmarket Press, New York, $15.00 U.S.;
$17.50 CAN.)
Marjorie Wolfe's favorite exercise story:
A friend at Pine Ridge S. I in Greenacres,
FL, wanted me to enroll in an aerobics class.
"No, absolutely not!" I exclaimed.  "I tried
that once."  "What happened?" she asked,
looking puzzled.  "I twisted, hopped, jumped, stretched and pulled," I replied.
"And by the time I got those darn leotards
on, the class was over."


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Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe is the author of
two books:
yiddish for dog and cat loversbook
"Yiddish for Dog & Cat Lovers" and
"Are Yentas, Kibitzers, & Tummlers Weapons of Mass Instruction?  Yiddish
Trivia."  To order a copy, go to her

NU, what are you waiting for?  Order the book!

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