June 26, 2019

Is Judaism a Form of Yoga?

“In Yoga teacher training, I learned that Yoga is about seeing yourself in others, knowing that we are all connected. Every one of us is part of the same entity; that includes: humans, animals, plants and all living things. This is why we are not allowed to harm others, because it will ultimately hurt us back. In other words, when you’re performing a Mitzvah, you are doing Yoga. If you’re aiding others, you are already considered to be doing Yoga, and you don’t have to do any of the postures. This is pretty much what Judaism says. The purpose of Judaism is to perform Mitzvahs, to surrender to God, and to read the Torah. The Sutra says the same thing. We are supposed to read a biblical scripture, surrender to God, and be of service to others.

But the question that I contemplated and asked myself the most was, “If by helping others you are already doing Yoga, then what is the point of doing the postures?” The answer came to me from the practice.

After doing classes with Rose Erin, I always felt great. I always felt more patient and calm and was nicer to others as a result. I finally started to understand that the postures are supposed to be a tool to help you become a better person. If someone does Yoga postures and breathing exercises, it’s been scientifically proven to change their brain chemistry for the better. There was once a study of people who were suffering from depression. They started practicing Yoga and doing breathing exercises, and were able to significantly change the chemical physiology of their brains and begin to feel an increased sense of well-being.”

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