I swim in fairly conservative waters during much of my life: I am a medical student and am becoming a more observant Jew. But I have pretty un-conservative hobbies: I practice yoga – at the evolation studio in Buffalo – AcroYoga, and contact improvisation. I envision that if I told my more conservative classmates, or Jewish friends, that I hold people up by my feet in AcroYoga they might think I am weird, or worse, immoral. After all, orthodox Jewish law forbids Jews from touching the opposite sex, even to shake hands.
It’s a balance. I don’t want to lead a double life. Secrets are terrible, stress-inducing things. I don’t want to be an actor who plays a neat little conservative role during the day but at night leads a secret life where he is a yogi, an acrobat, a dancer, a mover. But it also might not be necessary to rub things in people’s faces either. If someone asks about my hobbies, I give them a simple description and let them ask more questions if they are interested.
Conservative or un-conservative, I love all the things I do. I would not want to cut any of them out of my life because they give me tremendous and diverse benefits.
The traditional yoga at evolation has improved my flexibility, balance and presence with my breath. AcroYoga has taught me better communication skills and awareness of my body in space. Contact improvisation has taught me to be more free with following my body’s natural movements. Medicine has taught me a whole slew of facts about how the body works and what can go wrong with it.
The Jewish law of keeping Sabbath, a day of rest, has given me space to reflect, recharge and develop my soul. I am one person who does all these things. Sometimes my hair is messy, sometimes it is combed over, but there’s the same brain ticking underneath all the time.