The Jewish Eye
Experiencing Jewish Wisdom Through Classic Postures
By Diane Bloomfield
An Arthur Kurzweil Book
Jossey-Bass: A Wiley Imprint (2004)
Torah Yoga Website: www.torahyoga.com
Reviewed by Anna Dogole - August 3, 2007
Torah Yoga is a synthesis of Torah study with the practice of classic yoga exercises. In her book, Torah Yoga:
Experiencing Jewish Wisdom Through Classic Postures Diane Bloomfield explains what Torah Yoga is, and how it can be used to enhance your study of Torah, while also improving your physical condition. Bloomfield is the creator of Torah Yoga, and she has taught this unique approach to both Torah study and Yoga to both Jews, and Non-Jews, around the world.
The text is organized into seven main sections. Each section begins with a short study section devoted to specific mystical topics garnered from the Torah (the Five Books of Moses) or other texts such as the Midrash, Zohar, or Shulchan Aruch. Topics studied range from finding your 'Hidden Light' to 'Remembering to Rest'. The study sections in this book are designed to give you a taste of Torah study, and to help get you started on a plan of (hopefully) daily study.
Following the study section in each chapter, the text presents instructions on how to do a range of poses (postures) associated with classic yoga. As with the Torah study sections, the yoga instruction offered in this book is meant to serve as an introduction to the exercises and to give you a solid foundation upon which you can advance to more challenging postures and become more proficient in practicing yoga. The exercises in this book are varied and are suitable for everyone from couch potatoes just starting to get moving again - to seasoned athletes looking for some stretching exercises. Throughout, the instructions on how to do each posture is clear, and easy to follow. The instructions are accompanied by instructional photographs that show how to do each posture.
In all, there are more than 100 photographs. Both male and female models appear in these photographs, and their outfits are, by necessity, very tight in order to show the position of the limbs. Nonetheless, the outfits are remarkably unrevealing and only those that hold to the highest standards of tzinus are likely to find these pictures objectionable. For all others, these photographs are a vital component of the book because they provide a visual reference by which to gage if you are doing each posture correctly.
Torah Yoga is an ideal book for anyone interested in combining the mystical aspects of Jewish study with traditional yoga postures - and who don't want to deal with all the non-Jewish terms and religious connotations that you often encounter in traditional yoga books. I've studied yoga in the past and while I found the exercises beneficial, I was 'turned off' by all the non-Jewish aspects associated with Yoga. Torah Yoga has definitely turned me back onto yoga and I highly recommend Bloomfield's program to anyone Jewish or not, who is interested in being introduced, or reintroduced, to Yoga sans its Hindu influences. I've found these study sections and yogic exercises to be both relaxing and energizing at the same time. In addition, Bloomfield's introduction to the mystical aspects of Judaism is an appropriate partner to the meditative aspects of Yoga. All together, Torah Yoga offers a powerful and meaningful introduction two beneficial areas of study - Torah and Yoga!
While this book can be used as your sole introduction to Torah Yoga, I recommend that, if possible, you take at least a few lessons from a Torah Yoga instructor. A 'live' instructor can be very helpful in correcting your postures and in teaching you various yoga techniques that are difficult to learn correctly from a book. If you cannot find a 'live' instructor, or don't know where to begin to look for one, check out the Torah Yoga website at: www.torahyoga.com.
On this website you'll not only find more information about this book and what Torah Yoga is all about, but you'll also discover information on where Torah Yoga classes are offered. You can also join the Torah Yoga Association (TYA). Membership is free, and it offers you access to online yoga instruction, audio lessons, and help with meeting up with a private or group instructor, and much more!
Back to top
- The Way Into the Varieties of Jewishness, by Sylvia Barack Fishman.
A lively, guided tour, into the realm of Jewish diversity and the various religious movements that have developed over time.
- The Jewish Journaling Book, by Janet Ruth Falon.
A handy and inspirational guidebook on all aspects related to the art and practice of keeping a journal.
Questions or Comments? Send an email to:
Copyright © The Jewish Eye 2001 - 2017 All Rights Reserved