December 18, 2015 Mussar Meditation and Yoga for Good Karma By Michele Amira

Mussar Meditation and Yoga for Good Karma By Michele Amira

Yoga is somewhat of the matzah ball soup of meditation. It’s a soothing, calming fixture in a cold world that reminds us that the blessings of beauty are abundant there is no end and no beginning. Beauty is a representation of balance and harmony and via yoga we can try to achieve that balance to bring more beauty into the world around us.

Paramahansa Yogananda, a famed Hindu Yogi, wrote in his memoir, “The goal of yoga science is to calm the mind, that without distortion it may hear the infallible counsel of the Inner Voice.” Yogananda embodied this concept of calming the mind, while seeking “kavannah” מַטָרָה (Hebrew for intentions) in order to clear one’s mind.

As a Jew I have often wondered about yoga’s compatibility with Judaism since idol worship in Judaism is considered a sin and in many yoga studios statues of the Ganesh are on display. But before I started feeling like a bad Jew and putting my yoga tights away I did some research and found out that actually yoga and Judasim do not counter balance each other. According to an interview with Tablet magazine Srinivasan, the senior teacher at the worldwide Shivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers, says I have it backwards. “Yoga is not a religion, but a science of religion,” he explained. “It applies to all religions. It’s not that yoga comes from Hinduism. Hinduism originates in yoga..Kabbalah mystisim are very much in line with yoga ideas which is why yoga has become so popular amongst Jews” He went on to to say “We’re all talking about the same God,” he said.

To him, the statue of Ganesh at the front of many yoga studios is the same God to whom Jews pray” This unifying concept made me love yoga even more. Every morning I do a yoga mantra I choose tmicha often which is (Hebrew for support) I was drawn to that intention because we are looking for mediums of support to improve our quality of life in a way, while making a positive difference in the world. So here are some yoga poses to achieve balancing your chakras and finding peace this winter. In light of events in Paris, it’s important to strengthen our work on Bitachon. Trust in the bending of the arc. Trust that there is more good then bad And trust the world will unite against those who plant seeds of anger, cruelty and violence.

  1. Bharadvajasana Bharadvaja is a sideways yoga pose which was inspired by Bharadvaja who was a wise sage in ancient India. He taught great warriors how to stay centered and become superb archers. It was an intensely grounding and cleansing yoga position

Bharadvajasana Bharadvaja pose2 cropped

  1. Ustrasana In a kneeling position [knees hip width apart] bring your hands to the small of your back doing a slight back bend while stretching as far as you can go.

Ustrasana pose2

  1. Savasana Consider Savasana a sabbath for your yoga practice. Find the beauty in breathing while facing the sky with your hands to your sides.


About Michele Amira

Michele Amira pic for MM

Michele Amira is a vegan dancer with a love of hookah, Israeli hummus and hookah.She is an journalist for the Source magazine. When she’s not writing about what’s going on in hip hop, she’s talking about it on her hip-hop radio show, The Mecca, at University of Maryland where she is a Creative Writing major. When she is not writing she is Israeli dancing and doing yoga.

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