We shall overcome
KOSHER SUTRA And his hand was grasping Esau’s heel (Genesis 25:26)
SOUL SOLUTION Overcome obstacles
BIBLIYOGA POSE Forward bend (aim to take hold of your heels, and it’s ok to use a strap!)
BODY BENEFITS Lengthen hamstrings, strengthen legs.

The very nature of being human is that we are all born with a weakness in some area, although we have the chance to overcome it. Our weaknesses differ from person to person, whether it is a hot temper that easily gets angry, a prediliction for abusing drugs, moral weakness or physical weaknesses.We can allow nature to dictate how we are going to live our life or we can strive to overcome it. This is the kabbalistic idea of Tikkun, of identifying an area that we are going to fix.

Two classical heroes are born with a weakness related to their heel. Greek mythology tells the story of Achilles who was almost completely invincible because his mother had dipped him into the River Styx when he was a baby. Unfortunately, she’d held him by his heel, which was the only part of him that remained unprotected, and the target for an arrow that eventually killed him.

Our Kosher Sutra tells of Jacob who was born grasping his brother’s Esau’s heel. Although Jacob was the physically weaker of the two, he used his other strengths to pursue his goals, and his powerful spirit meant that he succeeded in overcoming his natural disadvantage. The Rabbi of Levov taught that we can learn from Jacob’s strength and be inspired to overcome obstacles that stand in our way.

Our bodies all suffer from some weakness and we all have our own Achilles heel, but we can apply a yogic practice for healing (no pun intended). If our bodies are injured then we can focus on using the stronger muscles that work, and there are many remedial asanas (postures) that strengthen the weaker muscles.

I’m writing from New Orleans, a city that has overcome some immense struggles, and we can find examples all around us of people who refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer when they are faced with problems. Life is what you make of it.

Marcus J Freed (c) 2010

Forward bend