Yoga and Judaism Are Incompatible—But Not In the Way Menachem Wecker Thinks https://mosaicmagazine.com/response/arts-culture/2020/03/yoga-and-judaism-are-incompatible-but-not-in-the-way-menachem-wecker-thinks/

Contemporary yoga culture fits in with the widespread sense of religiosity as something inner and instinctual rather than communal and tradition-bound.

March 23, 2020 | Tara Isabella Burton
About the author: Tara Isabella Burton is the author of Social Creature, a novel (2018), and of Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World (forthcoming from Public Affairs in May). A contributing editor at the American Interest and a columnist for Religion News Service, she holds a doctorate in theology from Trinity College, Oxford.
This is a response to Shibboleths and Sun Salutations: Should Religious Jews Practice Yoga?, originally published in Mosaic in March 2020

solidcolours/iStock.

In his Mosaic essay on Judaism and yoga, Menachem Wecker strongly urges faithful Jews to be wary of a practice that is now a ubiquitous part of the American culture of wellness and fitness. The reason: it is impossible to disentangle yoga’s current, secularized iteration from its millennia-old links to both Hindu and Buddhist spiritual traditions. Yoga teachers, Wecker writes, “indisputably employ a vocabulary, and inculcate physical positions, that derive from centuries-old religious worship”—the worship, in short, of false gods.

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register Already a subscriber? Sign in now