KOSHER SUTRA 'Why do you Lord yourselves above us?' (Numbers 16:3)
SOUL SOLUTION Peaceful relationships
BIBLIYOGA POSE Warrior Two
BODY BENEFITS Strong legs, arms, focus.
Think back to your last argument. The last argument where you won. How did you feel afterwards? Here’s the thing with arguments. By nature they involve anger, whether it is explicit or passive aggressive. Do we feel better after winning? Maybe for a few minutes while the ego is riding high, but it never does much good for the relationship. Personally, I usually find myself apologising before the sand has dropped to the bottom of the hourglass.
A key principle of yoga is ahimsa, which means the avoidance of violence, or non-violence. We’ll come on to that in a moment (Yoga Sutras 2:35).
Our Kosher Sutra is spoken by Korach, the first cousin of Moses who is jealous that Aaron and his younger brother have become God’s chosen spokespeople. Korach begins with seemingly innocuous questions about why there isn’t a more democratic process for appointing the leadership, but the midrash makes it clear that Korach’s agenda is to place himself and his followers at the helm*. Their argument is one of ego, vanity and destined for failure as the ground swallows them up. The rabbis later comment that an argument which isn’t for the sake of heaven, an argument which is ultimately self-centred, will be doomed to failure (Ethics of the Fathers 5:21).
We are allowed to argue and to disagree. We are allowed enter a space of conflict. But the Kosher Sutra is teaching that it will be futile if it is an argument driven by ego. How can we tell if our argument is ego-driven? We can’t. We are human. So what’s the solution? To avoid arguments. To avoid violence wherever possible. That doesn’t mean we should turn the other cheek if someone is pursuing us, but neither should we go slapping the cheeks of others.
Today’s posture is a variation of Warrior. We all have elements of the warrior within us and those emotions of anger and discontent can arise at any time. Our egos are designed to be provoked and attacked, and when we overcome the impulse to fight back then we are on the way to purifying the husk of this difficult-nut-to-crack. It isn’t easy; I speak from personal experience. Please join me as we breathe through the posture together and bring more peace into our troubled world.
*Midrash Tanchuma Chp 2: Korach’s questioning over mezuzot suggests that his interest is in proving his point and elevating his status rather than finding genuine answers and bringing peace or furthering the spiritual aims of the community.
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THE KOSHER SUTRAS © MARCUS J FREED/BIBLIYOGA 2010/5770
Marcus J Freed is the creator of Bibliyoga, USA & North America Director of Yoga Mosaic – the association for Jewish yoga teachers, and yogi-in-residence for JConnectLA and Jewlicious Festivals.
Benefits: Strengthens the legs, ankles, shoulders and arms. Stretches the groin and legs. Teaches stability.
Modification: If absolutely necessary, carry out the pose with your left knee on the ground.
Advanced: Hold the posture on each side for three minutes.