A Mindful Shabbat

Written by: OneTable Team
February 23, 2024

A Mindful Shabbat

Welcome to the OneTable Mindfulness Shabbat Guide.

Relinquishing control, being present, quieting the thoughts in our minds — these things are hard. Like many of us, I conditioned myself to work, to relish a busy schedule, and to embrace anxiety as a necessary tool for success. Three things have helped rescue me from constant doing: Shabbat, meditation, and yoga.

My family wasn’t “observant” in a traditional sense. My mother isn’t Jewish and my father doesn’t have a Jewish practice. I didn’t embrace Shabbat until college, when I spent time abroad in Jerusalem. How unnerving that first unplugged, twenty-five hour Shabbat experience felt! Slowly, after weeks of engaging with Shabbat, I became acquainted with something that had long been dormant inside myself: patience. I felt a sense of pride that Judaism embraced this practice of rest.

Around this time I also began going to a yoga studio and exploring mindfulness- based meditation. I learned how to breathe deeply, how to close my eyes, how to intuit the movements that my body craved. For a long time I saw yoga and meditation as my weekday mindfulness practice, and Shabbat as my weekend mindfulness practice. I separated them as though they weren’t teaching me similar skills. In reality, Shabbat, meditation, and yoga are all acts of radical rebellion against a world that is constantly moving and a society that values doing over being.

Lighting the candles on Friday night can be a tool to meditate on gratitude; sharing challah with friends can be a tool to eat with awareness. There is no disconnect between the healing aspects of Shabbat and the restorative aspects of yoga and meditation.

My hope is that this guide will give you additional resources to deepen your Shabbat practice with new teachings, movement meditations, and ways of looking at Jewish ritual as a gift from our ancestors to mindfully pause, reflect, celebrate and nourish yourself and your community each and every week.

Shabbat Shalom,
Natalie Bergner Colorado Hub Manager

Mindful Shabbat
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