There are 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and they are called the Days of Awe or the Days of Repentance.
This time of reflection is the pause to think about where you were last year and where you are now. What has improved and what has not. Not just your situation – relationships, finances, health – but your understanding of self and the person that you are.
In Pirkei Avos 6.6 are listed the forty-eight steps to character improvement. A wonderful essay by Rabbi Noah Weinberg from Aish.com, “Change Your Life with the Forty Eight Ways,” is recommended for additional reading.
We are the average of our five closest associates. Choose well. If we hang around with people who do good things, it makes it easy for us to do good also. If we hang around with people who do bad things, we will eventually do what they do because we are part of that crowd. If we have a friend who speaks and acts in an obnoxious manner and we are with her, what she is and how she appears to others is how we appear as well. We need to protect ourselves and pick our companions wisely.
We can return to where we were before we acted inappropriately. We can clean up our act.
Yoga—Come back to exercise
Since we repent on Yom Kippur, let us look at returning to exercise after an absence of some time. Maybe you had an injury, or you were traveling, or just got away from the routine of exercise.
Come back slowly.
Reduce the amount of time of your practice.
Perhaps do a chair exercise until you build up the strength for more rigorous exercise.
Bend your legs in your standing positions or forward bends.
If you have an injury or you have not done yoga or other exercises for a while, come back gradually so you do not hurt yourself. Be kind to your body. Don’t force and create extra stress. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the type of exercise you want to do and take his advice.
Little by little, you will regain your previous strength and be able to return to your regular exercise routine.
This parsha is always read about two weeks before Rosh Hashanah, and because Rosh Hashanah is a time of reflection on our behavior, the parsha’s major theme is that we are responsible for our actions. There is cause and effect.
Yoga—Warnings and benefits
The blessing and the curses are very strong. How do we accept this parsha without being terrified?
Let’s look at what you risk by not exercising.
Then we will look at the positive effects of regular exercise.
What happens if we don’t exercise?
High blood pressure.
Type 2 diabetes.
Sluggish mentally and physically.
Your muscles will atrophy.
Our bones will lose density and become brittle.
We will be out of breath a lot.
What happens if we do exercise?
More muscle strength.
Positive force on blood pressure and heart.
Thinking about caring for my health like this provides me with an understanding and ability to deal with the curses without being terrified. It is a way to take fear and turn it into a positive force. Knowing the negatives should not immobilize us, as long as we do something about them.
You shall not have two sets of weights. This applies for business and is also a metaphor for us and our values. We should not have two sets of standards. One for me and one for you. We need the same values for all. If I can do it, so can others. The values I have for myself have to be the same values that I have for the other person.
Our core values are those that guide our behavior with the external world as well as with our close relatives and friends.
We strengthen our core, the central muscles.
Lie down on ground.
Raise your legs straight up and point your toes.
Place your hands palm down on the ground next to you.
Pull your hands towards your upper body without moving them.
This is resistance pulling.
Slowly, lower your legs, using your stomach muscles.
No gritting of teeth or pulling from your neck.
When your feet touch the ground, splay them outward.