Some think that Jews should not get involved with the modern postural practice of yoga, because it has its roots in a Hindu religious system that is contradictory to monotheistic Judaism.
This question has been resolved for many observant Jews, who understand that yoga, as Matthew Remski says, is “like the story of the self: unceasingly developing along variants of trajectories.
Yoga had a growth with modern influences, and then became a secular physical practice. For many, yoga postures have become a practice with the power to dissociate themselves from theology, and inform the way we move and breathe in this world.
The desire to embrace alignment with yoga has created a marginal community of Jewish yogis whose moral and spiritual practices are Jewish, but whose bodies are informed by yoga. The creation of this community brought together like-minded people who wanted to share their passion for yoga under the mutual recognition that they were Jewish, not Hindu.
As a link between yoga and the shift to Judaism, many Jewish women called for yoga teacher training programs to train Jewish women in a supportive environment, in which the Jewish identity of each was affirmed.
This establishment of yoga programs for Jews emerged as a community. On Facebook, they share retreats and programs that immerse themselves in the postural practice and breathing of asanas, but ask each other: “Does anyone know of a great tefillah (prayer) service in California? There is talk of books that show ways for Jews to practice yoga without giving up their Jewish observance; there is talk of Jewish music that can be the backdrop to the daily practice of asanas; and people help each other find ways to learn yoga without delving into Eastern religious spiritual practices.
To be a Jew practicing yoga is to be part of a people trying to maintain a cultural or religious connection amidst the love for a life-affirming movement given to them by friends from the East.
Jews who think that idol worship is practiced are asked: Would it prevent people from practicing sports or dancing? Are you afraid that the philosophy of these physical practices will alienate Jews from their moral and spiritual mission as Jews? Instead of being paralyzed by this fear and fear of yoga, why not join this marginal yoga community that keeps informed of what it means to stay on the path of mitzvot in Jewish bodies that are working to be healthy, well aligned and painless.