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Is yoga repressive?

Thursday, 23 February, 2017 - 12:16 pm

Laws for healthy living


By Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman

Dieting, exercising, meditation, yoga and other forms of care for the body are all the rage these days. Imagine if you were independently wealthy and spent your entire life every waking moment engaged in these activities. Is that a life?

Of course not!

These activities while very important for the health of ones body are good when they create a healthy environment within which one can live a life of purpose. A life of purpose is being a good spouse, parenting and raising wonderful children and engaging each day in making the world a better place.

Until this week’s Torah portion we have read of the story of the founding of our People, our forefathers and mothers and the exile and redemption of our people. Although we have read of individual mitzvos, in this week’s Torah portion we begin in earnest the Torah’s elaboration of laws.

For many people these laws seem repressive, limiting and dogmatic. In fact so can dieting, exercising, meditation and yoga. It’s only when we see these laws as creating a healthy framework for living life that the repressiveness, limitation and dogmatic dimension of the mitzvos become liberating and creating the environment for a life of purpose and meaning.

Mitzvah means connection; connection between Jew and G-d. When we see the Mitzvos in that light we suddenly see how the laws create a healthy environment for living.

So, embrace the Mitzvos, embrace the teachings of the Torah and see how you can become liberated in the process.

Have a great Shabbos!


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