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January 17-24, 2007

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Jacob Cabrera

Crafty Cabrera: With an almost obsessive drive to create positive changes in the community, Jacob Cabrera unleashes rampant tea and an electronic om onto the city of Santa Cruz.

Pranic Room

Wellness Community Transformation Center opens on Pacific

By Laura Mattingly

Jacob Cabrera was pooped. During and after his studies at UCSC as a community studies major, Cabrera has been a leading activist and organizer of sustainability projects and coalitions on campus, and he was experiencing the chronic and not-so-uncommon-nowadays problem of putting too many things on his plate at once.

"And it's totally ridiculous because you just spend, nonstop, all this time doing all this sustainability stuff, and you're working and dedicated to save the earth, and then it's just like, you're letting your own body completely fall apart," says Cabrera. "It's just funny how you can be so dedicated to sustainability, and your own sustainability is the last thing on the list."

This led Cabrera to his newfound infatuation with "wellness." After studying yoga for 10 years, he recently became certified as a yoga teacher, and started teaching at a Juvenile Hall. He then became certified as a Pranic healer, saved his money and opened the Wellness Community Transformation Center (WCTC) earlier this month. The center will soon offer massage, reiki, yoga and ki kung as well.

Metro Santa Cruz dropped in for the WCTC's first Pranic healing clinic on Sunday afternoon. Cabrera, a tall friendly man with calm eyes, offered a tour of the two-room facility, located across Pacific Avenue from the bus terminal. The smaller room can probably accommodate two or three massage tables and is comfortably decorated with wall hangings. Cabrera pulls back a curtain to expose a tiny office.

"Endless long-distance phone calls and Internet access. ... It's a little office, and we have a little library started, which is very exciting. The om's on." Cabrera gestures to a black box in the corner radiating a deep monotone sound, that I hadn't consciously registered until this moment.

Cabrera laughs at my surprise. "What? Did you think someone was back here, like, oming? It's just a recording, no worries, no worries."He then leads me to a far larger room, spacious enough to accommodate a yoga class of 25 to 35 people. Cabrera calculates that if he recruits 20 people to donate money regularly, at 50 cents a day per person, the rent will be covered.

Though Cabrera worries about the cost of maintaining the space, he thinks the location and the facilities, which include a panoramic view of the Santa Cruz townscape, will prove to be worth the money.

"I'm thinking more like 10 cents a day and less, we'd need maybe 500 people [to donate] ... but, yeah, it's got a beautiful view, and you can see the mountains, and, like, it's really pretty at night, when the moon comes up it's really nice too, and we're gonna be doing different activities to synchronize with the moon rising."

For the larger room, he anticipates charging $20 an hour to rent privately, and for the smaller, $15 to $18. But he will offer options to share the space with multiple practitioners, reducing the cost. And if you donate to the center on a regular basis, he says, this will also reduce the cost of renting the rooms, making the WCTC the best deal in town.

For Sunday's Pranic healing clinic, Cabrera leads us in some basic physical exercises, including a taste of Super Brain Yoga, a combination of breathing and squats that concentrates energy in your head. He used a recording to guide a Heart Meditation, after which he and another Pranic healer, currently attending UCSC, do one-on-one healings.

Cabrera briefly introduced Pranic healing as a new energy healing modality developed by Master Choa Kok Sui, based on a number of far older energy practices. Sui's interests began with yoga, psychic phenomena, mysticism, Chinese ki kung and other esoteric studies, and through a synthesis of these fields, he created the Pranic Healing System teachings. In the United States, Pranic healing practitioners have only been around for about 10 years.

"His first book was published in 1985, and it's 2007 now, so it's 22 years later and the book has been translated into over 40 languages, in about 80 countries, so it's very quickly spreading all over the world," says Cabrera.

He goes on to explain the general principles of the practice.

"Generally speaking, it's mainly founded on the whole essence of the energy system. I'm personally a believer that the energy system should be taught in elementary school along with the circulatory system, and the nervous system and the digestive system, because it's so basic and fundamental to our consciousness."

Chakras, he says, are energy pumps that push energy through the meridians, which are energy channels. "And when you channel energy through an energy channel, it'll create an electromagnetic field, same as it is with all wires and everything. And so with humans it's called the electrobioplasmic field, or our auras. Mainly we focus on the auras and chakras in this modality. And acupuncture mainly focuses on the meridians and pressure points. And this type of modality is complimentary to Western medicine."

For the healing, I sit in a chair facing the panoramic windows, as Cabrera chats casually motioning his hands in various ways a few feet from my body. Occasionally he picks up a quartz crystal to magnify the intensity, or uses an alcohol spray-bottle to cleanse his hands.

He compares people's auras to mounds of dirt all around us, and says he uses his hands and the crystals as small shovels to clear away and correctly dispose of the excess energy causing problems to our physical and emotional health.

I become very relaxed as he walks around my chair working, and find I can barely keep my eyes open. My thoughts clear, and the slight headache I've been nursing since the beginning of the day is gone by the end of the session.

He says that in the short time that he's been a Pranic healing practitioner, his biggest successes were ridding his mother of her chronic headaches, and helping a friend with her insomnia.

"One thing I love about Pranic healing is that it doesn't make you dependent on somebody else. You don't have to be dependent on a doctor or someone who knows much more. You can learn how to do Pranic healing on yourself and understand your own energy system, and be dependent on yourself."

The WCTC offers Super Brain Yoga every day at 10am and 10pm (please RSVP), and a special introductory crash course on energy anatomy and self-healing will be held Saturday, Jan. 22, 7-10pm. Energy healing co-op dates will be organized soon. 903 Pacific Ave., Suites 300 and 302, Santa Cruz; 831.345.9443.

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