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When Yoga and Mindfulness Meet Torah

http://www.forward.com

A rabbi, a yogi and a Buddhist walk into the Manhattan JCC…What sounds like a stock opener of a joke actually happened at an event March 1 connected to Dani Shapiro’s newly released memoir, “Devotion” (Harper). The author invited her spiritual teachers to join her in a conversation moderated by writer and former television producer Abigail Pogrebin, who not only feigned surprise that attendees didn’t arrive in yoga pants, but also declared herself the most high-strung person in the room. Spiritual searching seems de rigueur for the modern memoir, and when Shapiro’s first blipped my radar, I thought, the world does not need a Jewish “Eat, Pray, Love.” Luckily, with “Devotion,” we’re getting much more. After relocating to rural Connecticut from Brooklyn, Shapiro suffered a general malaise. A mother in her mid-40s, she’d buried her father in childhood, battled drug addition and alcoholism, and abandoned her Orthodox upbringing. Yet it was her young son who nudged her toward a transformative journey. He asked about God; she sprung into action, seeking out teachers to guide her through her own head.

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