Jealousy is one of the most difficult emotions known to mankind as it can twist, obsess and compress our thoughts. Our Kosher Sutra refers to the man who suspects his wife to be a ‘Sotah’, namely, he thinks that she’s had sexual intercourse with another man. Although she is innocent until proven guilty, the Biblical law establishes a process to clarify her innocence (although it is fairly high stakes because if she is lying then her stomach will explode…but we’re not focusing on that today). There is a greater resonance for the fact that we read this straight after the festival of Shavuot which celebrates the giving of the Torah, as the sages say that the Jewish people were compared to a wife who was unfaithful on her wedding night because of the way that they created the golden calf so soon after the ‘wedding ceremony’ of Mount Sinai*.
One of the key principles of the Yoga Sutras is ‘aparigraha’, which translates from the Sanskrit as ‘non-jealousy’ or ‘non-coveting’**. But what can you do if you are feeling jealous or overcome with this emotion? We can do a closer reading of the Hebrew, and the phrase for a spirit of jealousy is ‘ruach kin’ah’ which we might translate as a ‘breath of jealousy’ or even a ‘breath of possessiveness’. As we apply our Kosher Sutra to this week’s posture we can take the breath that much deeper and remind ourselves that we never truly possess another person or another object – all we actually have is the breath and the present moment. If we are overcome with a difficult emotion, we can at least return to the breath and find freedom in the moment.
Marcus J Freed,
Los Angeles (c) 2010.
*This rather challenging image is hinted at all over, in Hosea Chp 2, Jeremiah, Shir HaShirim and more.
** Sanskrit: aparigrahasthairye janmakathamtasambodhah
Translation: One who is not greedy is secure. He has time to think deeply.
His understanding of himself is complete. ~ Yoga Sutra II.39
p.s. Yes, yes, yes, of course there's a whole discussion to be had about the feminist implications of the Sotah issue. ie, 'what about the woman who considers her husband to be unfaithful?'. Well, that's a great question. For another day.
To receive your free weekly Kosher Sutra, sign up at www.bibliyoga.com
THE KOSHER SUTRAS © MARCUS J FREED/BIBLIYOGA 2010/5770
REVOLVED SIDE ANGLE (Parivrtta Parsvakonasana)
i. Begin in Mountain Pose. Inhale and jump your feet 1 metre apart with your right foot pointing forwards and your left foot parallel to the back of the mat.
ii. Exhaling, bring your left arm across your body, placing your left hand on the floor to the right of your right foot.
iii. Inhale your right arm so that it is over your right ear, engaging your body and energising the posture.
iv. Look upwards and ensure there is a direct line from your left foot through to the fingertips of your right hand.
v. Raise the arches on both of your feet.
vi. Unlike in the picture, bring your upper arm over your head so that your armpit is drawn towards your ear.
Modification: Rest your left forearm across your right thigh and put both hands in prayer position, looking upwards. Or put your left hand on a block to the right of your right foot.
Advanced: Bind your left hand beneath your right thigh, taking hold of your right wrist.
Benefits: Reverse Angle is excellent for improving digestion and helping clear constipation as it compresses the digestive tract. It improves flexibility and toning throughout the legs and helps with balance.