Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. In an immigration-related article Atlanta Immigration Examiner, Inger Eberhart, in all of her infinite immigration wisdom, tries to make the point that a recent Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill (CIR)(HR 4321) introduced in the House of Representatives is exactly like Ronald Reagan’s ‘failed’ 1986 amnesty, and therefore the push for immigration reform is insane. The author of the immigration article referred to earlier, indirectly blames the 1986 amnesty for the increased numbers of illegal aliens in the United States.  She also says that CIR will not stop illegal immigration. The amnesty in 1986 did not singularly play a role in increasing illegal immigration.  There are many factors that contribute to illegal immigration, including enforcement, country conditions and the big one – ECONOMY. As our country currently experiences what some say is the worst recession since the Great Depression, fewer illegal immigrants are coming to the U.S.
Call us crazy, but we will continue to do what we can to help immigrants achieve the American dream day in and day out, because they have families, jobs and they contribute to our economy.  Many are young children who have grown up here and call America home. In a Gesher Yoga a™? Meditation & Jewish Spirituality session, we begin with a pasuk (verse) of Torah (teaching), Ta€™fillah (prayer) or Middah (soul quality).
Laura has been practicing yoga since the early 1990a€™s, beginning with a wonderful teacher, Hari Zandler, in a private home in Mt. Lauraa€™s personal meditation practice began in the attic of her family home on an old carpet swatch placed by a window, way back in Jr. This conceptualization stretches our view of the human body, but is not entirely foreign considering electrocardiograms (EKGs) and electroencephalograms are based on energy. Yoga offers us exactly that; a bridge that yokes our outer world of skin, muscles and bones to our inner world of breath, soul and intuition.
An aspect of this pasuk becomes a thread woven throughout the asana (posture) practice and gives the student a concept to reach for in their mind, heart, body and spirit as the session unfolds.
The mechanism of action is believed to be the removal of blockages and restoration of free energy flow to foster health and healing in the human energy field.
Mindfulness meditation offers us a similar experience as we become aware of physical sensations while we sit, walk, do simple daily tasks with engaged attention or even lay down in a restful yet alert posture (this may be the most compassionate pose if you live with a chronic health condition that makes sitting or walking difficult). What an amazing introduction into the beauty and friendliness towards ones own sacred vessel these foundational yoga experiences were.
She did not know she was meditating, did not have the vocabulary to describe it as such back then. Mindfulness meditation offers us a similar experience as we become aware of physical sensations while we sit, walk, do simple daily tasks with engaged attention or even lay down in a restful yet alert posture (this mayA  be the most compassionate pose if you live with a chronic health condition that makes sitting or walking difficult). The majority of research in the field of energy therapies is in the therapeutic touch and healing touch, reiki, homeopathy, and acupuncture. Jewish Spirituality also instructs us on how to live a life that is simultaneously secular and sacred through the ancient teachings found in the Torah, commentary on the Torah, historic and contemporary midrashim (stories), prayers, and mitzvot (commandments) and ultimately by listening for the still small voice of the Divine who dwells within each of us.
Also incorporated into the practice is a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy tool for self-inquiry. These classes were an entryway, much like a garden-gate leading toward a flower edged path.
For example, therapeutic touch has been shown to decrease anxiety and depression.i»?A The practice of Reiki, which is a Japanese stress reduction technique, incorporates various hand movements that are believed to transfer healing energy. The question: a€?Whata€™s happening now?a€? is offered at selected moments within the structure of the class to allow the student to dive deeper into the present momenta€¦the simple yet potent question a€?Whata€™s happening nowa€? becomes a Gesher, linking each persons mental, physical, emotional and spiritual experience to the teaching as well as their own sacred intelligence. But looking back it is clear that that is exactly what she was doing; her young heart and mind, body and spirit KNEW what to do, how to be, how to just BE. This method is thought to significantly improve spiritual clarity and a myriad of different physical discomforts that we commonly experience.


With patience and nurturance through asana practice, meditation and the wisdom of a kind and wise teacher, the cultivation of these seeds of love could begin, and their tender roots and shoots began to grow into a lifelong passion.
Really, it could be said her mindfulness began much earlier perhaps at six or seven with long walks in the woods around her house and (was it hours?) reclining on her favorite dogwood bough gazing endlessly at the changing cloud formations in the vast sky above.
Reiki itself was founded by Makao Usui, and the philosophy behind this methodology states that our life force energy plays a significant role in the way that we feel. Her first experiences of yoga as a Jewish spiritual practice was through Pa€™nai Or Fellowship, a Jewish Renewal Community in Philadelphia a few years later. Her formal sitting practice began in 2005 through the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, under the guidance of Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg. When our life force energy levels are less than desirable, we are more prone to feelings of stress and illness.A Another paramount aspect to this practice is the fact that it is a gift from God, and it is accessible by everyone. It wasna€™t until she met Rabbi Myriam Klotz through the Institute for Jewish Spirituality however, (where Laura completed an 18 month in-depth spiritual leadership program for Teen Educators), that she began to truly understand the potential of combining the ancient wisdom of Judaism and Yoga. She receives ongoing support from Sheila and even though she might not realize it,A Sylvia Boorstein, who Laura had the pleasure of studying with at a 5 day silent meditation retreat co-facilitated by Sylvia and Sheila (a dynamic meditation duo!) Laura also had the honor of taking an online metta meditation class with Sylvia through Spirituality & Practice.
Anyone can learn how to use Reiki, and the ability to practice this technique is not exclusive to a limited number of experts or spiritual gurus.
Laura was fortunate to go on to be one of the first graduates of the Yoga & Jewish Spirituality Teachera€™s Certification Program at Elat Chayyim with Rabbi Klotz and Diane Bloomfield (author and founder of the Torah Yoga Association in Jerusalem, Israel). Laura has participated in several online meditation courses with Gil Fronsdal through Audio Dharma,A and a heart opening online class with Janice Lynne Lundy called Buddha Chicks. The most effective way to learn this practice and be efficient with the methods is by attending a class with an experienced Reiki instructor.
Attunement is the term used to describe the exchange of this knowledge and the newfound ability to use Reiki for healing and balance. There are a variety of different institutions that provide educational courses on Reiki and how you can make use of this profound practiceA Reiki technique simply utilizes the transfer of life energy so that we are both spiritually and physically rejuvenated.
It is useful as a healing practice for sickness or injury, as well as a mindful refresher that promotes peace and harmony. She was called upon as a featured educator at events such as Cornerstone Fellowship, a leadership program offered through the Foundation for Jewish Camping and Jewbilee, a retreat offered through TCI (The Curriculum Initiative). Laura was also interviewed by author Paula Amann and featured with several other Jewish yoga teachers in the summer issue of Jewish Womena€™s Magazine 2008.
In order for Reiki to have the maximum healing effect, it takes dedication, commitment, and motivation. Ideally, someone who wishes to practice Reiki for emotional and physical well-being, they should strive to transform their entire lifestyle to one that is healthful and balanced.A Reiki participants may choose to perform sessions alone, using their own hands for strategic placement and healing, or they may choose to seek a session performed by another Reiki expert. Regardless if you are participating solo or receiving the healing energy from someone else, Reiki is equally effective and practical.A Before initiating your Reiki session, choose a position that is most comfortable. These methods can be received from just about any position, sitting or lying down, but being in a physically pleasant posture is imperative. A typical Reiki session begins with an initial meditation, prayer, or breathing exercise that simply prepares the mind and body for a healing treatment. This step is necessary for preparing your physical body and spiritual mind to be receptive and welcoming to the healing energy of Reiki.A When performing Reiki, it is important to keep the fingers together as it channels and keeps the healing energy more focused.
It is also important to allow the wisdom and power of Reiki to guide your movements and your technique. Maintaining confidence in your ability to use Reiki methods for healing is necessary to experience said healing.


If you are performing Reiki on someone else, your peaceful balance is just as important because Reikia€™s power should be focused on the recipient of the energy a€“ as in the client, and not yourself. As a provider of Reiki for healing another person, you must have a clear and focused mindset.A When providing Reiki treatments for someone else, the hands do not necessarily have to be physically connected to the clienta€™s body, however they can be.
The same healing abilities can be observed with the hands touching, or with the hands situated approximately 1 inch from the body.
It is really more or less a personal preference that can be determined between you and the client.A There are a plethora of hand placements that are specifically designed to provide healing energy to distinctive areas of the body. For example, placing both hands above the upper abdomen and lower ribs heals the stomach, gallbladder, liver, spleen, and various other internal organs in this area. Placing one hand over the throat and one hand in the middle of the chest provides healing energy to the heart, lungs, thyroid, and esophagus. There are literally an endless number of hand positions and specific motions that are designed to target one or more anatomical section of the body.
There are also a number of hand positions that specifically concentrate on providing healing energy for a distinctive illness.A There are a plethora of resources that provide specific instructions for using hand placement. Mikao Usuia€™s creation of this practice, the purpose and power of Reiki is the same.A Reiki technique is centered on seven different chakraa€™s, otherwise translated to mean wheel.
These internal axes are essentially large networks that function together to give us our energy. The navel chakra is associated with the reproductive system and proximate organs responsible for liquid waste.
The solar plexus chakra is focused on the upper abdominal areas and the anatomical structures within. The heart chakra is based upon the heart and arms, and the throat covers that and the lungs. The third eye chakra is focused on the braid, and the crown chakra simply refers to the whole of our being. When healing the chakras, it provides them with balance so they can function optimally.A Some Reiki experts utilize the power and energy of exclusive symbols which are historic icons that have a significant amount of healing potential.
Thinking about these symbols or drawing them before a session is believed to help create spiritual connections with the meaning of said symbols. For example, the Choku Rei or power symbol may be used to boost or enhance the efficiency of the Reiki healing energy and as a source of protection. It is particularly useful for individuals combating various addictions or emotional turmoil. From depression and sadness to fear and nervousness, the Sei He Ki is generally used to improve mental clarity and intellectual performance.A Lastly, the distance symbol, referred to as Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen, helps to send healing energy over a distance. Although the use of symbols is not necessary, some practitioners of Reiki believe that they greatly enhance the power and potential of this methodology.A Not only does Reiki provide the potential for significant physical healing, but it is a practice that helps to balance the mind and reduce stress. In terms of overall health and well-being, it is a very affordable and practical method for just about anyone.




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