Yoga and Kabbalah
There are many similarities between the Jewish mysticism of the Kabbalah, and other Eastern philosophies.
In kabbalistic lore,there are ten Energy Centres (Sefirot), which correspond to parts of the earthly body. They are, in descending order, Keter (the crown), Chokhmah (wisdom), Binah (intuition, understanding), Chesed (mercy) or Gedulah (greatness), Gevurah (strength), Tiferet (glory), Netzach (victory), Hod (majesty), Yesod (foundation) and Malkut (sovereignty).
The ten Sefirot include both masculine and feminine qualities. Kabbalah pays a great deal of attention to the feminine aspects of the spiritual world. Focussing on a particular centre is said to greatly enhance the physical, emotional, and spiritual life.
The ten Sefirot are usually represented as in the diagram above. This diagram is commonly known as the Tree of the Sefirot, or the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. There is great significance to the position of these various attributes and their interconnectedness. The Sefirot connect with everything in the universe. Thus they are both a reflection of the individual’s spiritual life, and that of the whole of humanity.
Sages have spent millennia discussing these spiritual pathways, so I dare not presume a fuller explanation, after only two years of Kabbalistic study! This post is a very simplified comparison of the Energy Centres in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, and the Chakras in Yoga Philosophy.
Energy Centres in Yoga
Similarly to Jewish mysticism, Yoga is informed by the Hindu religion. The energy centres in yoga are called chakras, and bear a remarkable resemblance to the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. In ascending order, they are:
The Muladhara, situated at the base of the spine, which governs your family ties and feelings of survival, belonging, and guardedness.
Svadhisthana, in the pelvic region, corresponds with the reproductive and sexual organs, and represents fluidity, creativity, and fertility.
Manipura in the solar plexus,governsself-esteem and confidence to take action and be productive.
Anahata, or the heart chakra, heals past wounds by reopening your heart, learning to love unconditionally, and forming healthy relationships.
Vishuddha,corresponds to the throat region. When this chakra is open and stimulated, the voice moves through space to help communicate emotions.
The crown chakra (Sahasrara), connects to beauty itself and the spiritual realm. It is not located in the body but actually hovers above the crown of the head. When it’s closed, happiness seems come from the outside. Working on this chakra helps you to feel free in any situation.
Meditating on the chakras is said to be a powerful way to reach self-fulfilment.
There are countless more parallels between Judaic, Hindu, Buddhist and other religious and philosophical systems of belief. Do you know of others?