Monday, June 20, 2016


Hindus Happy Yoga coming to Jerusalem

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths (with fun graphics by Rivka Levy of


“We know it’s kosher because it’s not held on Shabbos or Yom Tov!”

HEADLINE: Yoga Teacher’s Training for Jewish women to be held in Jerusalem

A 200-hour Intensive Yoga Teacher Training Program, claimed to be the “first yoga training in the world to cater to Jewish women” is being launched in Jerusalem in July, with a follow-up starting in September.   Organized by Toronto based Kinneret Yoga, whose tagline is “move and be moved”, it will not hold classes on Shabbat or Jewish holidays…

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, welcomed Yoga Teacher’s Training catering to Jewish women to be held in Jerusalem.  Yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization. Yoga, introduced and nourished by Hinduism, is a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.

Yoga is the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Zed added.


So there you have it.  It’s kosher because it won’t be done on Shabbos, and the Hindus are instructing us that it’s not (just) the Hindu religion, it’s about controlling the human psyche.  And who’s to say controlling the human psyche has religious or philosophical overtones?

Let there be no question: YOGA is not kosher.  It has an avodah zara-dic base, some positions themselves are positional forms of worship, and the meditative and psyche techniques are incompatible and diametrically opposed to Judaism.

“But Reb Akiva, it’s just exercise!”  WHEN it’s just exercise, just stretching moves WITHOUT the (meditative) breathing patterns, without the meditative focus, when it is indeed JUST a pure exercise, fine.  But it’s NEVER taught as “just stretch”, it’s always with it’s focus, breathing, centering, etc.  Yoga is a practice of avoda zara!

“But Reb Akiva, my kosher yoga has replaced all the hindi terms, and we meditate on the shema, and we don’t call SUN WORSHIP (that’s what Sun Salutation is called in it’s original language Hindi) that, we call it ‘Reaching to the Heavens’.”  It is possible to completely separate the value of a system from the problematic elements – but kosher yoga never does that!  Rather it seeks to partially substitute assuming that by injecting a Hebrew word for a Hindi one, or a Jewish meditation idea for a Hindu one, that it makes it kosher.  Better examples would be, stretching exercises of Pilates has stretch with no meditative aspects.  And Krav Maga has martial arts value without any chakras or “focusing your energies” of karate.  Kosher yoga is presenting a system who’s base pattern remains treif.

YOGA PSAK from Rabbi Ginsberg: (free translation)

Question: Is it permissible to practice yoga as part of a mental & physical exercises when doing so without any yoga spiritual aspects?


If the system has a foreign name, if it offers a way of life and its way of life is alien, one should not deal with it (all the more so if the system components are contrary to the rule). Yoga is based on a pagan system. Body movements that mimic animals originate from Eastern idolatry. Therefore, this method is entirely banned. All of the benefit from these methods is superficial and ultimately harmful. These “benefits” damage the sanctity of the Jewish soul. We must educate distinguish between genuine divine light and a false image.

Notice that the name of everything points to the spiritual origin, we must abolish even the name of a foreign method at the first stage. Therefore it is forbidden to even mention at all the name "yoga." …

All wisdom must be grounded in the Torah. Yoga is negative energy that comes from impurity. Therefore, it is unacceptable, even if the practitioner does not have negative thoughts. All the advantages of this method are distorted shadow of the true good that can be derived from movement based on the teachings of the Kabbalah.

Kabbalah teachings include techniques for Jewish meditative focus and even for proper Jewish focused breathing methods.  A brief example is available (in Hebrew) at this link here

Thanks to Rivka Levy of for the fun graphics and psak from Rav Ginsberg.



  1. It seems that the state and ignorant Jews are determined to reach a low which even in the times of the Beit HaMikdash where sinning caused its destruction (1st one) couldn't match. Every day just reading all the chilulei H' that is purposely being committed against H', Torah and the Land of Israel, is too much to take. Look what has been going on at Kever Dovid and no matter how many times you have warned about Yoga, it seems not to matter - all on deaf ears. The world is on fire and no one smells/sees the smoke. H' yerachem.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. @Anonymous - Like you, others smell and see the smoke, some even see the fire itself, but HaKodesh Baruch Hu opts to enrich and empower the fire-starters and the fire-feeders, rather than the fire-fighters. That being the case.... What else can one do but sound the alarm?

  4. Any "thing" that tells you to 'exercise' with your derrière up in the air, like how the Muslims worship is so far far from the dignity that the Torah Instills in the neshoma of a yid. We Jews are created in the 'image' of HaShem, to elevate our senses and physical being with refinement.
    Neshama from Hayabitah blog

  5. Well, now what do I do. I just learned that someone I am friendly with does daily yoga exercises. I told her it was avoda zarah, and how the eastern countries are famous for this. I told her it was Hinduism, even if there are no imaging or verbal sayings. Also that the positions are themselves a”z and most are animal forms. She is an intelligent careful person, so later that day she consulted a “Posek” and he told her it was ok, as long as it was just exercises. I told her the Posek was wrong. She was shocked by what I said. Now she is angry with me. I gave her a printout from Emunaroma and a copy of "Very strong psak from Rav Yitzhak Ginsburgh: 'Yoga is completely forbidden’”

    I only wanted to alarm her to the danger to her Neshoma. She is young and she and her husband and two boys are a beautiful family. She is very angry with me. What do I do now????

  6. The Shulchan Aruch has a section on how to give someone mussar / correction. One of the key points is, if the person is not going to listen it's forbidden to give the mussar (for this will only harden their incorrect position).

    Also, while it's very clear to me and Reb Gutman and Rivka of EmunaAroma that yoga is very treif, many issues when taken to a rav are answered simply or without serious research. So in some cases one should approach someone and lighten or qualify one's statements with things like "I have heard it said", "I have heard that many experts on this topic posken this way" - so that indeed if someone gets a different perspective it doesn't turn into a fight.

    At this point the only thing you can say is that you've heard there is an issue from sources you trust who are experts in this particular issue, but you understand they have to hold by their rav and posek who may hold a different opinion.

    (A classic example of this is the arguments over whether a sheitel is kosher (at all) or not. Clearly no universal view, and one strong view in Israel versus the US, though alternative views (such as Chabad's) even in Israel.)

  7. Neshama, I'm not a Jew, so what I say doesn't carry any weight, but it seems to me that you've done what you could. IMO, nothing more is required of you, because, like the watchman in Ezk. 33:1-11, you sounded the alarm. The rest is on the person in question and HaKodesh Baruch Hu. Either she'll deliver her own soul or she won't. Everything is in the hands of Heaven except the fear (reverence) of Heaven, right?

    Just know that being a watchman is a thankless job that gets no respect. I know! I've worked in the security industry for most of my adult life. IMO, all you can do is sound the alarm and fall back on the established standards and policies that you've been given to uphold.

    It was taught [in a Baraitha]: R. Tarfon said, I wonder whether there is any one in this generation who accepts reproof, for if one says to him: Remove the mote from between your eyes, he would answer: Remove the beam from between your eyes! R. Eleazar b. Azariah said: I wonder if there is one in this generation who knows how to reprove! R. Johanan b. Nuri said: I call heaven and earth to witness for myself that often was Akiba punished [rebuked] through me because I used to complain against him before our Rabban, Gamaliel Beribbi, and all the more he showered love upon me, to make true what has been said: "Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee; reprove a wise man and he will love thee" (Prov. 9:8).

    See further all of Page 55 (Talmud - Mas. Arachin 16b), especially the question "How far shall reproof be administered?":

  8. Thank you for all you advice. Even if a Rav said it is ok, but my common sense, intuition, and deep sensitivity tells me something is Not Kosher, I might not "rely on it. It's very sad but Rabbis are losing credibility. Another Rabbi has been uncovered for his perversions. I would rather trust a very learned dedicated Torah yid with a happy wife and children than .......

    The education of girls must include how not to become a victim to a lascivious male.


  9. @Neshama who writes, "The education of girls must include how not to become a victim to a lascivious male."

    All children - not just girls - should be taught how to recognize, avoid, and report sexual predators. Also, teaching them the basics of self-defense wouldn't hurt any. Like learning how to swim (Kiddushin 29a), instruction in self-defense ought to be part of every child's curriculum.

    "Rabbi Shalom Arush, Breslov leader and head of the Chut Shel Chessed yeshiva (Torah academy), announced that he will stop meeting with women during public reception hours in light of the scandals.

    Rabbi Arush explained that the move is to set a precedent for caution.

    'The evil inclination of rabbis is even greater than that of other people,' he said, reflecting a Judaic concept that people with great potential also have greater challenges.

    Therefore, he said, he will not see women in person anymore, even if they are accompanied by their husbands."

    Sadly, this chumrah (self-imposed strict measure) is likely to become the norm. Such are the times we live in. :(


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