Sunday, October 06, 2013


“The Goal of Yoga”

by Reb Gutman @ Mystical Paths


     Eli insists that yoga is 100% kosher and good for you. Here is his comment to our latest article trying to wean Jews away from this Eastern religious practice.

Eli wrote:

     “The Rabbi has directed teachers on how to teach yoga taking out the bad stuff here at the college of alternative medicine combining Chinese acupuncture with Jewish spirituality and Kabbalah which is located in the Upper Galilee (Israel).

    Basically I was taught that yoga and most eastern religions’ goal is a state of nirvana. There are different steps to get to it, one basic step is meditation. To help one’s meditations they have an earlier step of stretches and breathing exercise - this does not include the meditations which is the next step in yoga - whose purpose is to relax the body and get your soul and body to be in touch to help the mind meditate.

    This part is therefore fine as it helps one’s body and mind. For all the exercises the Rabbi still said to change the name and for the sun salutation he additionally had them change one of the parts so that it would be a different exercise. I therefore disagree with you and consider this way of teaching Yoga 100% Kosher and great for you.”

Gutman’s response:

     Your letter proves our argument against yoga. Over and over again, I have stressed that the physical exercises are not the problem. The danger comes when there is ANY association to Eastern spiritual practices which includes even the word “yoga.”

     You wrote that you were taught in the Jewish school of Chinese medicine that yoga and meditation are two of the steps to attain goal of “nirvana.” And the stretching and deep breathing help your body and soul to get “in touch” to help your mind to meditate.

     Here is how the “Nirvana sages” define the term: “Nirvana is a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the person is released from the effect of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth. It is the final goal of Buddhism.”

     “Nirvana is often referred to as “self realization” or “god realization.” It is the ultimate religious goal of all Hindus. No one can describe it in words. It can only be experienced directly.”

     Sound great? What in the world does this have to do with the Jewish goal in life? Why are these Jews studying these concepts? Our job is not to leave the world, but to improve it by using it for holy purposes. Shall we remove all desires and forego marriage and family as the monks and sadhus (Hindu ascetics) in the East do? G-d forbid!

     Is a Jew supposed to come to the realization that he or she is G-d? Do you know who first recommended this? Who told Eve in the Garden to eat of the forbidden fruit so that; “your eyes will be opened and you will be like G-d…”[i] The serpent told her that when he enticed her to eat of the forbidden fruit.

     The very word “yoga” invariably leads to these types of concepts. There is no such thing as “kosher yoga,” no more than there could be “kosher christianity.”

     I suggest that you stop learning and practicing yoga, and certainly stop with its associations to Hinduism, and Buddhism. Go “Beyond Yoga.” Stay within Torah concepts, and keep your mind and body healthy. And be sure to keep those holy desires that you have. G-d gave them to you for a very good reason.


  1. I suggest chs 1,2, and 6 of sefer yetzirah with rabbi Areyeh Kaplans commentary in english . Sefer yetzirah was writen by our father Abraham for leaving idolatry ie hinduism/buddhism/xtianity and cleaving to 1 Creator. When Avraham sent keturahs children east the first letters of the possik is aom aleph vav mem,which is the main sound eaterners use to connect !in chs 1,2,6 of Avrahams sefer yetzirah mem is asiyah ADNY , alef is yetzirah YHVH ,and EHYEH is shin olam habriah. . . chs 1,2,6 teach practical meditation on mem stomach cold sound- mi , shin head fire sound- shi , chest air aleph ocilating between cold/hot sound ahhh .This meditation aleph mem shin takes up 3 whole chapters Avraham Avinus sefer yetzirah 1,2,6. Buddhism and hinduism practice these same sounds but have tints of idol worship involved . ch 4 of sefer yetzirah disscuses the 7 double letters in lason kodesh bait,gimel, dalet,caf,pei,reish,tav which have a facinating connection to 7 colors , planets , lower 7 sefirot , and shem mb 42 =7.6 names. The commenteries differ ramban , raavad , gra , issac of acco , issac thet blind , rav yitchak luria , ramak . the 12 single letters hei, vav , zain , chait , tet , yud , lamed ,nun , samech , ayin ,tzadi, kuf, are the 12 months ,12 zodiac ,12 tribes and the main interp'retation the atthribute of the month with one of the 12 p'ermutations of YHVH .

  2. i agree fully with rabbi gutman. i live where there are no signs of judaism at all. all other faiths exist. so when i stepped out of this system to study the 7 laws with orthdox rabbis and jews, one sees the difference between light and darkness, jews and the nations of the world. no matter how you dress an idol or idolatrous principles, it is still what it is, nothing changes. the danger would be if we think we are too holy and wise, and take matters into our own hands. learn from the wisest man on earth, ever, king solomon. he too meant well, and wanted to bring as many to the knowledge of Hashem, waht happened when he took so many wives who did not convert sincerely. is there any man born after him,w ho is wiser than him? even the holiest of tzaddiks wont take yoga, which is a completely idolatrous practise and remodel it into something holy. the zaddiks will know where to draw a line, will the layman know that??does one take a unholy vessel and sacrifce it to Hashem? even an animal with a flaw is not allowed to be sacrificed to Hashem. what more flawed prayers and meditations, and knowing their source.!!!!
    there is no such thing, as something sounds like jewish prayer or something was part of judaism and later moved away and so its alright to take bits and pieces of it. the moment any principle or law moves away from Hashem's given torah laws and the rabbinical laws which are to protect the torah laws, one should run away from there as fast as possible. i dont know why it takes some jews so long to understand yoga is idolatrous, when from r gutman's first article itself it is so obvious to us gentiles who have left idolatry.

    1. 10 rainbow.
      I am so impressed by ur sincerity. I have to say. Sometimes the story with Jews is that we r a stubborn stiff-necked bunch and we forget we have a treasure and start collecting other nations worthless junk.
      But honestly. I have terrible problems with my back and neck and the only thing that gives me any relief r the yoga exercises. I am curious if it would be okay to do a few exercises on my own without some teacher calling it some avodah Zara name.
      I read the last blog and I agree the avodah Zara connection bothers me. But my neck is stiff and painful now. Any way around it???

  3. Yoga means "yoke." "Raja Yoga" is the blending of all of the various kinds of yoga, and means the "Kingly Yoke."

    In Hebrew, that's the "Ol Malchut Shamaim" - the "Kingly Yoke of Heaven."

    I think the yogis got it from the Jews.

    It's hard to daven with kavanah if your back is out, or your digestion is messed up. Exercise is good for you.

    Just call it something else, and stop with the superstitious paranoia.

  4. exercise prevents ailments and premature aging . 1 of the taryag mitzvot of the rambam is a doctor is given permission to heal . the rambam a doctor as well as rav says exercise is vital for avodat Hashem . ps it would be great if there was a jewish form of tai/chi/yoga using the hebrew letters which are the blueprint of creation . the avot lived such expanded ages from the meditations and "yoga/tai chi manipulations with the 22 letters and 10 vowels . the ramak says there are 10 vowels in his commentary to; sefer yetzirah , not 9 held by others .

  5. Agree with the above commentators--yoga is just exercise--the terminology may be foreign, but movement is movement--hindu yogis do use yoga to stay healthy, calm the mind and create healthy, relaxed body for meditation, but it's no different than doing calisthenics or any other exercise; it just happens to be an effective time proven system to feel heathy and youthful. I train my body for about 30 minutes a day, sometimes using yoga techniques, sometimes pilates, sometimes western calisthenics, sometimes with weightlifting--it's all good. I'm 49 years old and am in better shape and have more energy than 90% of the cholent fressers in my schul that are in their 20's and 30's. I'm sorry to say it but the typical FFB men that I see in my community have no connection whatsoever to their bodies--most of them are clinically obese, I feel sorry for them. They suffer from all kinds of preventable illnesses, diabetes, back pain, knee problems. There is no issur against doing yoga in the torah, there is definitely an issur to abusing your body with food and laziness--a much bigger worry than someone going off the derech because they practice "indian calisthenics"

  6. The zohar says wisdom below ie geometry, biology , genetics , chemistry , physics , logic , music ,will open below and join with the kaballah above . the main work of kabbalah is sefer yetzirah in terms of enlightenment . rav aryeh kaplan z'tzl has a p'recious commentary in english . The gra says its our job to join kabbalah with 7 wilsdoms . Rav Yitzhak Ginsburg shlitah has given us a taste of what will come B'H. The gra, ramchal and yaakov abuchatzeira says mans main ! tikkun is so;d , and in its merit Hakodesh Baruchu will enlighten us and send the geulah shleimamh Amen ! I believe mishnah, tikkunei zohar , tehillim , and there commenteries bring emunah more then dry pshat of the erev zeir , Hashem Yerachame .


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