Photo Credit: beitshemeshyoga.com
Avraham and Rachel Kolberg at their yoga institute in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

She says she makes small adjustments to yoga where she feels there is a conflict with Judaism. She never attends or holds a class on the holy day, Saturday, and she prefers classes without the chanting of mantras.

Eugene recently ran a Day of Jewish Yoga, which explored ways of combining yoga with Judaism. One of the sessions combined yoga with practices to help participants reach kavanah, the meditative mind-set seen as an essential for Jewish prayer and rituals.

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On her website, a testimonial from Rabbi David Rosen, the former chief rabbi of Ireland, says yoga offers “much blessing and enlightenment” and arguably helps “recapture Jewish wisdom and practice which may have been lost”.

Bottom line: Is yoga kosher?

I practiced yoga for several years under the guidance of Bonnie West, a wonderful American teacher in Minneapolis. I increases my flexibility and balance through the poses and learned to settle my consciousness through its meditations. I derived great benefits from practicins yoga. And I never once felt any conflict between my yoga and my Judaism.

Yes, yoga is kosher for me. Your experiences may vary depending on who you are and where you are coming from, as the BBC article deftly suggests.

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19 COMMENTS

  1. As a yoga fan, I turn the question round: in what is what way is it not kosher? A few ohms does not feel avodah zora-ish. The improvement in kavanah comes through a less cluttered mind. Go for it.

  2. As a yoga fan, I turn the question round: in what is what way is it not kosher? A few ohms does not feel avodah zora-ish. The improvement in kavanah comes through a less cluttered mind. Go for it.

  3. I would say that Yoga can be kosher for Jewish or okay for catholic protestants but not for christian people and absolutely no Hallal at all… According what I read its seems like Budha was a jewish Orphelin that made up his phylosophy on the old testament … If its right then jewish and protestant can practice it …. Chrestians in europe reject the Old testament and Muslim came abbout 500 yrs after Jesus and their believe diesn’t really match with the Buddism philosophie. Its my opinion but its maybe not 100% , I am quite sur it would be not a big deal to respond to this question with some simple research..

  4. Yoga is the Sanskrit word for “union.” The goal of yoga is union with their Higher Power within by stilling the mind in meditation, which is why the yoga practices were invented thousands of years ago. It came out of Hinduism. While the relaxation and stretching techniques and vegetarian diet are physically beneficial, true yoga includes worship of the guru, chanting the names of Hindu (and other) deities, and the belief that all religious paths are equivalent, as well as other avodah zorah practices. At the same time, there are many Jewish concepts that are equivalent in yoga, such as reincarnation, nullification of the ego, and the true meaning of suffering as soul-rectification. Probably because Avraham Aveinu sent his sons to the east. There is also such a thing as Jewish meditation, which does not involve anything related to Hinduism. An excellent book is by R’ Aryeh Kaplan, ob”m.

  5. Yoga is the Sanskrit word for "union." The goal of yoga is union with their Higher Power within by stilling the mind in meditation, which is why the yoga practices were invented thousands of years ago. It came out of Hinduism. While the relaxation and stretching techniques and vegetarian diet are physically beneficial, true yoga includes worship of the guru, chanting the names of Hindu (and other) deities, and the belief that all religious paths are equivalent, as well as other avodah zorah practices. At the same time, there are many Jewish concepts that are equivalent in yoga, such as reincarnation, nullification of the ego, and the true meaning of suffering as soul-rectification. Probably because Avraham Aveinu sent his sons to the east. There is also such a thing as Jewish meditation, which does not involve anything related to Hinduism. An excellent book is by R' Aryeh Kaplan, ob"m.

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