Author: Yaakov Wieder

Yaakov Wieder was born in 1955 in Brooklyn, NY. A first born son and grandson of one of the few remaining non-religious families in Boro Park. At 3 years old he was trying to describe to his mother his ambition to be the kind of doctor that discovers what makes people sick. His mother, not knowing about alternative medicine decided for him that he wanted to be a pathologist. So by the time he was 8 years old he had taught himself most of what there was to know about human anatomy and physiology up through the high school level. In 1972 he enrolled in Adelphi University as a pre-med major; still secure in the life goals that were set for him at age 3. After disillusionment with university education and the strong feeling that he had to do something with his hands, he began the study of massage. At the same time he met Dr. Milton Trager who was teaching a workshop at the same massage school. While Yaakov was receiving a massage from another student, Dr. Trager nonchalantly picked up Yaakov’s left arm. Yaakov felt a jolt of electricity shoot up into his shoulder. (Only a year later did he notice that the ligament injury he had sustained 4 years prior no longer troubled him). Yaakov was enthralled to see the effortless, fluid movements of this 71 year old man as he taught his unique method of Psychophysical Integration. His oft spoken motto of what could be lighter, freer, and more effortless stood in total contradiction to everything Yaakov (and most of us) have ever learned and experienced. So for 7 years he completely accepted Dr. Trager as his teacher, “Rebbe”, loving grandfather and father figure. Traveling extensively to train with Dr. Trager, he immersed himself as fully as possible in the activities of the Trager organization. In 1982 he founded the Center for Moving Stillness on the West Side of Manhattan coordinating professional Trager training sessions and working with students until 1987. Yaakov’s interest in Cranio Sacral therapy was inspired by a particularly relaxing Trager session that focused mainly on Yaakov’s face and head. He became fascinated with the degree of tension that he could tap into just by doing light Tractioning movements on the head and scalp. When Dr. Trager wasn’t able to explain this phenomena, Yaakov’s search led him to the Upledger Institute. Within two years he finished his advanced training in Cranio Sacral therapy and visceral manipulation and was introduced to several other innovative osteopathic techniques including zero balancing. After 5 years of enjoying his role as New York’s “Mr. Trager” and the almost unlimited possibilities for professional, personal growth and social contacts on Manhattan’s upper west side; Yaakov began to yearn for a more quiet and settled lifestyle, including more green and clearer air. Although he traveled extensively to such beautiful locations such as Florida, Hawaii, and California, nothing quite felt like home. In early 1987 he traveled to western Massachusetts to work with one of his Trager students there. While there he was asked by another Trager student to give a session to the guru at Kripalu Yoga Center. On a whim he decided to call a real estate agent and ask her to show him the few homes that were in his price range. After walking into the first home, he opened the door to a room and saw a standing there a massage table. That’s it! He had thought he had found his new home. As opposed to the pace of life in New York, things moved very slowly in the Berkshires. However, it was there that he was introduced to Five Element Acupuncture. It was there that he seriously studied Yoga and it was there that the seeds for his return to Judaism were planted. He was sitting at the Yoga Center one night chanting in Sanskrit with the devotees there and all of the sudden he thought “this is nice but really I would rather be singing in Hebrew”. In 1994, Yaakov finished acupuncture school, passed the board exam (even though it was based on a totally different method of acupuncture, and received his state licenses in New York and Massachusetts. That same year, his search for authentic Jewish teachings intensified, he began treating his father who was dying of bone marrow cancer and he visited Israel for the first time. After spending 10 days of working with students and clients in mostly secular parts of Israel, he decided it was time to go up to Jerusalem. He got off at the central bus central with a big backpack on his shoulder and walked all the way to the Western Wall. When he reached the Kotel Plaza, he didn’t feel quite ready to approach any closer. After waiting for ½ hour, he felt the time was right and he reached within 2 feet of the ancient stones, his heart burst open and he sobbed for a full ½ hour. Sobbing away the intense pain of separation and tears of joy, he reached his new found connection with the Jewish People. The next day he went out and bought a kippa and tzizes and felt like he was wearing them for his whole life. He returned home to Massachusetts, but spent more and more time in New York with more religious Jews and with his dying father. About a year and half later he returned to Israel to say the last month of Kaddish for his father at the Kotel. As he was walking around the outside walls of the Old City, and the first Shabbos there, he knew that this was home.