SWAMPSCOTT – To the sounds of quiet music, more than 40 women lay on yoga mats in a softly-lit section of the Shirat Hayam social hall. With the guidance of local yoga instructors Allison Swartz and Stephanie Greenfield, the women left the crowded social hall for a few minutes, and traveled to somewhere in their minds that brought them peace.
“You visualize going into a relaxing setting,” said Swartz, a Swampscott resident who teaches vinyasa-based yoga courses at the JCC. “It was geared towards a reminder to create spaciousness in our lives.”
Swartz and Greenfield led the 30-minute yoga and meditation session as part of an Evening of Wellness, a Feb. 4 event promoting women’s wellness and mindfulness hosted by the Women’s Philanthropy team of Combined Jewish Philanthropies.
“The idea was to inspire people to continue on their individual wellness journey, a month after New Year’s resolutions,” said Judith Forman, associate director of Women’s Philanthropy at CJP. Forman worked with volunteer leaders Wendy Polins and Julie Sagan, both North Shore Women’s Philanthropy vice presidents to craft a meaningful winter engagement event, which Women’s Philanthropy hosts each year.
The event featured remarks by CJP’s Rabbi Jillian Cameron, who spoke about how Judaism commands us to nourish the mind, the body, and the soul. Her remarks were followed by the yoga and meditation session led by Swartz and Greenfield. It also featured local health coach Debra Klein, who gave tips on how to integrate healthy eating into a busy life, and then demonstrated how to make a faux chicken salad, homemade salad dressing, and bliss balls. Brookline-based Catering by Andrew provided food based on Klein’s recipes.
“I think it was a different kind of event, it was really interactive and allowed women to take some time out to recharge from their busy lives,” said Forman.