This morning heralded a poignant marker with the passing of one of my dearest friends, long term student and host for my many visits to Israel over the past 25 years.
It was in 1996 when our paths crossed, whilst I was teaching at the European Union of Yoga annual conference in Switzerland. Ziva was there as part of her role as chair of the Israeli Yoga Teachers Association. A chance meeting which quickly forged a friendship, leading to my visiting Israel to teach a retreat around ‘Prāṇa, Practice & Patañjali’, curiously beginning on what is known in England as Boxing Day.
Such was my initiation into the culture, customs and practices within both Israeli and Jewish lifestyles. This beginning extended and deepened over the next two decades with over 20 teaching visits, during which I was hosted in Ziva’s home and shared personal time with her and her children, eventually growing through the generations to include their children.
Here, my fondest wishes and condolences reach across the world to her family in these difficult moments.
Our last years of contact have been spent studying the Bhagavad Gītā together verse by verse, chapter by chapter and having recently reached the final chapter, I would like to offer a verse which reminds me of Ziva’s qualities.
“Absorbed in the highest,
one whose soul is serene
does not mourn, nor do they desire.
The same amongst all beings,
one attains the highest devotion.”
– Bhagavad Gītā 18.54