C B Yond
KOSHER SUTRA I set before you today a blessing and a curse (Deut 11:26)
SOUL SOLUTION Freedom from pain through non-attachment.

It is almost impossible to know who wins the lottery. The person who has the correct numbers and receives the prize money is not always the winner. Dr Steven J Danish is a professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and has spent the last 12 years counseling lottery winners who face huge problems after receiving their sudden windfall. Stories abound of how the sudden abundance of money can magnify existing problems and families descend into jealousy, arguments and self-destruction. So, we may think that we have lost by not winning, but we may well have won by ‘losing’.

There are ominous words that form our Kosher Sutra, as Moses relates the words of God: “I set before you today a blessing and a curse”. A list of blessings and curses follows, but Hasidic tradition reveals an underlying switcheroo. Likutei Torah teaches that the inner side of every expression is a blessing*.

The yogis were keen to stress the importance of non-attachment, vairagya, because it allows us ‘mastery over the mind and realization of the true self’ (Yoga Sutra 1:16). As we get into a yoga posture we focus on the actions rather than the result. It matters not if we can get into a handstand or drop into a backbend. What is important is that we commit to the action. We do not have to complete the full pose but neither are we free from refraining to start it.

Underlying everything is a sense of ultimate trust (Hebrew: Emunah) and this can be attained through non-attachment. Another way of thinking about this is the idea of process vs results. If we focus on the process, the results will take care of themselves. An actor cannot force an audience to feel something, but if they fully commit to playing the scene then the effect on the audience will take care of itself.

Think for a moment of an occasion when you’ve faced a huge disappointment but later realized that it was an unbelievable source of blessing. I was disappointed when I got waitlisted and then rejected from the universities of Cambridge AND Harvard (now that’s yichus!) but in retrospect I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m even grateful for sustaining a couple of injuries through a somewhat reckless yoga practice because it has led me to learn new forms of meditation and alignment-based asana that have totally transformed my understanding of yoga.

We cannot always see the bigger picture, but then again, our job isn’t to run the world. We just have to commit our best to each passing moment, to enjoy each breath and let the result take care of itself.


Focus for your yoga practice: Today’s yoga practice can be focused on getting into the postures but not forcing the results. Practice non-attachment, vairagya, and notice emotions of pleasure or disappointment as they arrive. Practice being the observer, revel in the process, and enjoy freedom from the mind’s limited perspective.

*i.e. “When I break your supply of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in a single oven” (Leviticus 26:26) is presented as a serious curse for times of distress. The Kabbalists explain that the ‘ten women’ refer to the ten sefirah qualities of the soul that will be revealed through the ‘oven’ of the body. Maybe this is where the phrase ‘bun in the oven’ comes from…