God in a Yoga Pose

June 14th, 2012

One of the Hebrew names for God is 4 letters put together. Yud, hey, vav and hey, or Y, H, V and H, make up the name “Yahweh”.

Is it just me or do the four letters Y, H, V and H look like yoga moves? Take another look! It brings alive the idea of God within, I mean literally in the body. Jews are sometimes called “people of the body’. Their spiritual practices are very physical; kneeling and standing prayers as well as walking on the Sabbath. Yahweh was unknowable to them, so they embodied their faith; the sacred in the ordinary.

One of the early Jewish texts (around the 3rd century), the Tosefta Sota, tells the story of the famous Rabbi Hillel’s students asking him if he was going to do a good deed. He told them he was going to take a bath. They were puzzled, expecting more. He said to them, “It is a duty to care for the body, since we have been created in the divine image and likeness.”

Okay! So apply the embodied Hebrew idea of Yahweh to your own life, stretching and growing to LOVE and accept everything just as it is, just as YOU are. Think of each letter and affirm each part of your body:

Y- Head and neck, holding your mind, sticking your neck out, giving you perspective.

H- Shoulders and arms, raising yourself up, building strength, holding the weight of the world.

V- Torso, giving you flexibility, turning you around, thrusting you into life.

H- Back and legs, keeping you grounded, having back bone, putting spring into your step.

These and more qualities are your body bearing the image of God, or in other words embodying your highest ideals. How can you not love the embodiment of God? Accept your body, appreciate your body, care for your body, be fully present with your body for all that arises. Namaste!

This is part of a series on the idea of God. I created a fun and easy way to explore the history of God, in bite sized and practical ways that you can apply to your life. Click here for more information.

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  1. Cristi says:

    Thank you so much for this, it has moved me to tears.  It is very sweet!! 

  2. ian says:

    thank you Cristi

  3. Alessandra says:

    Great article!


  4. Pasha Khan says:

    There is a saying in Islam SAFAI NISF IMAN meaning cleanliness is half part of belief. You are saying a similar thing.Our rituals of prayer are similar too. Check prayer methods sort of same. Humankind is divided into two wings. Good and bad. All good in the world is ONE.

  5. ian says:

    thanks for the comments- Pasha I have participated in a Muslim prayer session. It is definitely a full body experience.

  6. Debby Bruck says:

    Unique interpretation. I’m not really able to see the Hebrew letters in the stick figure postures. The Vav is upside down, but the other letters escape me. However, stretching is healthy and I enjoyed Hillel’s story. Blessings, Debby

  7. Thanks for the wisdom! Gods Word tells us that everyone is beautifully and wonderfully made and unique in that we are made in The Image of God.

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