Gesher is a Hebrew word that translates to bridge in English. 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. 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). 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.



How does a Gesher Yoga Meditation

& Jewish Spirituality session differ from a typical yoga or meditation class?


In a Gesher Yoga Meditation & Jewish Spirituality session, we begin with a pasuk (verse) of Torah (teaching), T’fillah (prayer) or Middah (soul quality). 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 same holds true for a  meditation session without hatha yoga movements. Also incorporated into the practice is a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy tool for self-inquiry. The question: “What’s happening now?” is offered at selected moments within the structure of the class to allow the student to dive deeper into the present moment…the simple yet potent question “What’s happening now” becomes a Gesher, linking each persons mental, physical, emotional and spiritual experience to the teaching as well as their own sacred intelligence.


Due to complications from Multiple Sclerosis, Laura is not currently offering Gesher Yoga ♥ Meditation 
& Jewish Spirituality Sessions at this time. This does not at all rule out the possibility of teaching again in the future...So check back again soon for updates!

Laura’s Yoga Experience:

Laura has been practicing yoga since the early 1990’s, beginning with a wonderful teacher, Hari Zandler, in a private home in Mt. Airy, Philadelphia. What an amazing introduction into the beauty and friendliness towards ones own sacred vessel these foundational yoga experiences were. These classes were an entryway, much like a garden-gate leading toward a flower edged path. In this yoga garden, the seeds of compassion toward self and others were planted. 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. Her first experiences of yoga as a Jewish spiritual practice was through P’nai Or Fellowship, a Jewish Renewal Community in Philadelphia a few years later. It wasn’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. Laura was fortunate to go on to be one of the first graduates of the Yoga & Jewish Spirituality Teacher’s Certification Program at Elat Chayyim with Rabbi Klotz and Diane Bloomfield (author and founder of the Torah Yoga Association in Jerusalem, Israel). Laura also completed Levels 1 & 2 of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy training. Some of Laura’s teaching experiences include: teaching Yoga & Jewish Spirituality classes at Prozdor High School through Hebrew College, based in Newton, Ma. And Gesher Yoga Meditation at Temple Beth Abraham in Nashua, NH to teens and adults. 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 Women’s Magazine 2008.

Laura’s Meditation Experience:

Laura’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. High School.  She sat listening to the rain on the roof in stillness when the house was quiet; before her little sister came home from elementary school, while her parents were working, big brother and older sister were in college. She did not know she was meditating, did not have the vocabulary to describe it as such back then. These simply felt like stolen, secret moments of grace. 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. 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. Her formal sitting practice began in 2005 through the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, under the guidance of Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg. She receives ongoing support from Sheila and even though she might not realize it, 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. Laura has participated in several online meditation courses with Gil Fronsdal through Audio Dharma, and a heart opening online class with Janice Lynne Lundy called Buddha Chicks. Laura has led healing meditation circles at Temple Beth Abraham in Nashua, NH, and created and facilitated a special SoulCollage® tele-class for her dear friend Anne Marie Bennett at Kaleidosoul

You can listen to a free healing meditation mp3, a gift from Laura on this website by going to the blog and podcasts page.


Copyright © 2010  Laura Hegfield  All rights reserved.