The Spiritual Edge

Thomas Walden Levy

The Spiritual Edge is a new reporting project from KALW that explores innovation in religious belief and practice in the Bay Area.  And as we plan the next stage of the project's development, we want your ideas and input.

By answering this brief survey, you'll discover the diverse stories that this project has already told, and help shape the future direction of The Spiritual Edge. Thank you!

Breathing your way to better blood pressure

May 5, 2015

Hypertension. Sixty-seven million Americans have been diagnosed with the condition, more commonly known as high blood pressure.

Before they hit age 50, hypertension is less common in women than in men. The female hormone estrogen likely serves as a kind of protection. But after 50, women’s rates of hypertension go up. That increases the risk of heart disease. And heart disease kills more women than anything else.

That’s how it went for Susan Evans. Her blood pressure changed with age.

 

Elizabeth Beltran-Larios struggled with her identity for much of her childhood. Beltran-Larios was born in Oakland, but she was raised in a small town south of Jalisco, Mexico. Growing up, she felt alienated from the Catholic church because of her sexual orientation. Her exposure to Buddhism in college helped her come to terms with who she is and what she believes. She sat down in the StoryCorps booth to share her story of this transformation.

 

Tom Levy

This piece originally aired on July 22nd, 2014  

I’m Jewish.  I feel a strong affinity for Judaism – the beauty of its rituals, teachings and music. But it can be hard to relate. The Old Testament has a demanding God and strange customs, like animal sacrifices. Then there’s Jewish law, called “halacha,” with its crazy complicated rules about how to run your life: what foods you can or cannot eat; what clothes you can or cannot wear; and how you observe the holidays.

Tom Levy

Some people who take dance classes regularly have a saying: “Dance is my church.”

Dancer Stella Adelman says just that about going to Afro-Cuban folkloric dance class. “There’s a release to it,” she says. To her, it’s a place where she can reflect and find some clarity through movement. To some practitioners this clarity comes from being active and getting exercise, for others, it’s literally a spiritual practice.  

The Bay Area is home to many instructors of Afro-Cuban rhythms. Music and dance lovers come from all over the world to participate in workshops taught by some of the most loved teachers and dancers from the Cuban Diaspora. Many of them have found home here.

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