by Reb Gutman Locks and Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths
In the past week we've received several emails about an article on Chabad.Org that basically says, "yoga is basically ok when it's just exercises". While we respect Chabad.Org and the author of the article, in this case we respectfully say DO A LITTLE RESEARCH...
- The physical aspects of almost any system are parve (okay if they are healthy) but in yoga their names and traditional associations are poison. Even religious Jews who study yoga, now have picked up such concepts as chakras, kundalini, prana yama (G-d help, as these are worse than poison - even for the non-Jew!).
One small example: Aish HaTorah (of all places) had a class on meditation. One student had what he called a beautiful vision. He told the teacher about the gorgeous blue light that he saw. The teacher told him to come talk to me (Reb Gutman Locks). The Hindus say that blue light in visions is the highest (The Blue Pearl), and both Yoga and Hindu practices strive for it. The Zohar Chadash says "it is the lowest color in visions and much ardent prayer must be exercised to avoid it."
I asked the student if he had learned meditation in India. No. Did he learn from someone who studied Indian ways. No Did he have any Indian books in his possession. No. Then he opened his siddur and he had drawn in it an "om" sign! "That's it" I told him. He took it out and the color never came back.
Even such a small thing like that is an antenna to pick up that spiritually corrupt stuff.
One of the "Kosher Yoga" systems had, up until last year, a huge "om" sign on the home page of his website (until I complained). He assures everyone that his Mystical Kosher Yoga (not the real name) is completely kosher, and even pulls out a letter from the Lubavitcher Rebbe (a letter at the beginning of which the Rebbe wrote this is a private matter specifically for addressing a particular mental illness - and public letters from the Rebbe on the topic specifically say it's completely prohibited) to back up his statement while showing a symbol of avoda zarah and teaching meditations.
One more story, I was teaching Jewish meditation one night and I saw a shade of that blue light come from and surround one of the students. I asked him those same questions; did he study in India and such and he answered no to all of them, but then he told me that the guy who originally taught him meditation had learned from a Hindu. The stuff is spiritual poison that can catch a Jew's soul and lead him into years of hell and worse, as my (Reb Gutman's) personal story shows.
There is nothing wrong with exercising, nothing wrong with stretching or relaxation exercises. While doing so one can meditate upon Jewish concepts, chassidus, Hashem, the Ein Sof, etc.
But as we've shown here previously on Mystical Paths, the "schools of yoga" that the "kosher yoga" teachers are from are clearly and heavily involved with avodah zarah. Yoga is steeped in Hindu concepts through and through. And by introducing religious Jews to Yoga, at the very least you're getting them interested in a topic that is, by nature, very damaging to a Jew. Does anyone believe that if someone enjoys a nice "kosher yoga" class in the Chabad house that they're not going to pick up that book on Chandrakanian Yoga when they see it on the front table at the bookstore in the mall?
As a religious Jew, tell me which one of these classes you'd attend or recommend...
- Jewish Buddhist Meditation, "gain Buddhist focus in a Jewish way!"
- Kosher Christian Prayer, "learn to pray to God like a holy roller!"
- Kabbalistic Islamic Submissivism, "kabbalah techniques for submitting to God like a good Muslim"
Dear friends, Yoga is not kosher. Don't open that door! If you want nice stretching relaxing exercises, try Pilates.
BS"D - בסיעתא דשמיא