Last week I wrote a small explanation on the “four main” branches of Yoga: Hatha (physical)/ Raja (Mental)/ Gnani (Wisdom) and Bhakti (Devotion.) Most don’t know but as part of my earlier Rabbinical studying, I actually majored in other religions (including Islam) as well as “other philosophies,” something our orthodox counterparts completely lack in.
When I was a young girl I vividly recall watching an astronaut being interviewed on TV, he was explaining to the lady asking him questions, that he had developed such a love and an enormously deep understanding and appreciation for “the planet earth,” by virtue of his having left it – to go and study the “rest of the Universe.” It has been a little like that for me, though in a sense I intentionally “left” to study other faiths and philosophies, and indeed when I “returned” to my own faith, I had a vastly deeper knowledge and appreciation for it – just as the astronaut now had for his own planet.
We recently introduced Yoga classes at our Shul as part of our family weekend. I have always had an interest in Yoga, as well as “Yogi Philosophy,” and while Yoga is not a religion, what I have found is that those who study and practice it, invariably become “better Jews or Christians etc.” To this end I suggest adding a short course/ talk on “Yogi Philosophy” this to take place after our “usual Yoga classes.” Naturally I will only set out to arrange this should there be sufficient interest – please let me know your thoughts?
Shabbat Shalom – Rabbi Julia Margolis