Did I connect the stress I was under in my marriage and my job with this disease? No, not for one minute.
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Looking back, I can see that I lived with chronic stress for years and that chronic stress created a petri dish for injury and disease, but I had no idea that anything was amiss. At that class, I felt something new. I breathed. I moved slowly. I noticed myself breathing and moving slowly.
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And then, yoga became my go-to recovery tool. I went to class every chance I got. I went to workshops.
I became a yoga teacher. I did yoga at home with my kids. Apply to the best schools, get into Princeton: check. The list goes on: Get into law school, get through law school, get a job, get a Saab. Michelle Obama began to ask herself how she wanted to feel and who she wanted to become. I realized I needed to ask myself the same questions.
When the Body Hurts, the Soul Still Longs to Sing
Initially, the slow-moving, long-held yoga poses I practiced helped me immeasurably. My breath and my body worked together. I was spending less time in chairs hunched over the computer. But even after five years of a regular yoga practice, my shoulder froze: I could not move it and felt excruciating nerve pain down the length of my arm.
ZEEK: Articles: Celebrating the Jewish Body: Exercises for Body and Soul
And, the Tri-Geminal Neuralgia returned with a vengeance, teaching me that while I had swerved some, I needed to swerve more to bring my body and my mind into a more fully healed space. With the brilliance of hindsight, I now realize that I was approaching my needs in the wrong way. I had begun to wonder, too, about the spiritual messages I was getting in my yoga class. While I enjoyed the new perspective they brought, I did have second thoughts. Was there a Jewish spirituality that I had yet to connect with?
Yes, it turns out, to my great joy, there was.
But first there are a few more twists and turns in my journey. Just as I was thinking that my spiritual quest needed some redirection, my yoga teacher, Steve Emmerman, brought in some blue balls that were about the size of a tennis ball but much firmer.
He showed us what he had learned using these balls.
He asked us first, to bend forward and notice where stiffness or pain stopped us. Please contact me if you are not satisfied with your order in any manner. I always list book by ISBN only and buyer is assured of correct edition, correct author and correct format of book. Name of your business and form of legal entity: Ami Ventures Inc. Orders usually ship within 1 business days.
Midrash & Medicine
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Nefesh is also associated with personal desire or attraction. In all of these usages, the nefesh is connected to the body and its material wants. In later books of the Bible, the soul using all three terms is mentioned apart from the body and as more than just an animating spirit. This subtle evolution of meaning reflects the growth of the idea of what we call the soul—the unique, everlasting, intangible part of a person. While previously we saw the life-breath leaving the body at death, here we see it as a separate entity that returns to God, rather than simply disappearing. Ancient Jews displayed an awareness of how influential non-Jewish philosophers regarded the soul.
The Sages of the Talmud, however, were not as keen on many of these foreign ideas.
Instead, literature of the Talmudic period gives us images of body and soul in harmony. In Midrash Leviticus Rabbah, we read that the soul is a guest in the body and that care of the body is deemed a commandment by the great sage Hillel the Elder, who cited the idea in the Creation story that God made the human in the divine image. In the medieval period, Rabbeinu Bahya points out that even bodily fluids menstrual blood, semen, and fluid from certain skin eruptions considered impure tamei are only deemed such after they have left the human body.
In the mind of the Sages, sin is not the product of an unruly body asserting itself over a pure soul; on the contrary, the body and soul are seen in a partnership of equal responsibility for actions, in this life as well as the next. This concept is illustrated in the following Talmudic anecdote, from tractate Sanhedrin: The Emperor Antoninus tries to convince Rabbi Yehudah Hanasi that the body and soul can each excuse themselves from sin by claiming that the transgression is the fault of the other, since without its counterpart, it is lifeless.
Rabbi Yehudah counters with a parable: Two guards—one blind and one lame—are in a garden. Together, they are able to steal some fruit from a high tree. When caught, each claims that he is obviously unable to commit the crime due to his disability. In the end, the orchard owner places the lame man on the back of the blind man, and they are judged as one 91b.
Similarly, God judges the actions of the body and soul in partnership after returning the soul to the body at resurrection. The Rabbis rejected another claim Plato made for the soul—that souls pre-date Creation. Many in the ancient world believed that all human souls were created before the material world, but the midrash Tanhumah tells us that all souls were made during the six days of Creation.
Before the birth of each person, God calls forward the proper soul and has angels show that soul how earthly existence benefits spirit by allowing for spiritual development. According to another midrash, sleep, like death, temporarily separates body and soul Genesis Rabbah