Wednesday, October 17, 2007

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Kosher Stretch

Given our previous post on yoga (and it's avodah zarah, idol worship, aspects), a reader asked, "I have a friend who practices yoga for some back pain issues, and after reading your article advised them to stop (which they did). What's an alternative?"

Reb Gutman Locks provided this reply...


There are many systems out there that are totally physical, that is, without any pseudo spiritual aspects. Any one of them would be sufficient for back problems and would introduce no spiritual problems. It seems (and I have not checked it out completely) that the system called Pilates is healthy and fine. There are also many systems to be found by googgling "Canadian stretch exercises".

Know that if the exercises practiced up to now were completely stripped of their religious spiritual connections, they too would be fine. This means not even saying that you are doing yoga, nor can there be any association to that practice. This means no names of postures, and certainly none of the linked philosophy such as kudalini, serpent power, chakras, pranayama, and so on. The goal must be physical and not spiritual.

In the merit of your (and their) devotion to Torah, may Hashem heal their back quickly and lead them to a healthy and happy life.

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