Amy Weintraub, MFA, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT, YACEP, founder of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute, the author of Yoga for Depression (Broadway Books, 2004) and Yoga Skills for Therapists: Effective Practices for Mood Management (W.W. Norton, 2012), has been a pioneer in the field of yoga and mental health for over twenty years. She offers the LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training for Mood Management to health and yoga professionals and offers workshops for every day practitioners. The LifeForce Yoga protocol is being used in residential treatment centers, hospitals and by health care providers around the world and is featured on the LifeForce Yoga® CD Series and the first DVD home Yoga practice series for mood management, the award-winning LifeForce Yoga® to Beat the Blues, Level 1 & Level 2. She is an invited speaker at conferences internationally and is involved in ongoing research on the effects of yoga on mood. She co-edits a bi-monthly newsletter that includes current research, news and media reviews on Yoga and mental health.
Amy leads workshops and professional trainings at academic and psychology conferences internationally at such venues as the Boston University Graduate School of Psychology, the University of Arizona Medical School, the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium, the Integrative Mental Health Conference, the Cape Cod Institute, Kripalu Center, Omega Institute, Sivananda Ashram, Yogaville, Esalen, Patanjali University in Haridwar, India and Yoga studios throughout the United States. Amy is also a regular contributor on the Goddesses in America blog.
Amy’s recovery from depression began more than forty years ago on her meditation cushion. She credits psychotherapy and medication in helping her stabilize her mood and in helping her understand its psychological origins in her family history. But it wasn’t until she began a daily Hatha Yoga practice in 1989, after her first visit to Kripalu Center, that her mood fully stabilized. After nearly a year of daily practice, she was able with medical supervision, to slowly titrate off psychopharmalogical medication. She became passionate about sharing the transformational aspects of yoga practice with others who suffer, and became an advocate for yoga and mental health. She became a Kripalu Yoga Teacher in 1992, wrote the first article on yoga and mental health, published in Yoga Journal, in 1999–“Yoga the Natural Prozac, ” and began working with research scientists, studying the effectiveness of yoga in working with mood disorders. In addition to her Hatha Yoga studies in the US and India, Amy has been trained in Advaita Vedanta Nondualism, iRest Yoga Nidra, psychology and Internal Family Systems Therapy. Richard Miller is her mentor.
She is blessed to collaborate and teach with James Gordon, MD, author of Unstuck, Drs. Patricia Gerbarg, MD and Richard Brown, MD, authors of How to Use Herbs, Nutrients and Yoga for Mental Health Care, the senior research scientist in the field, Dr. Shirley Telles, MBBS, PhD, Director of the Indian Council of Medical Research, Center for Advanced Research in Yoga & Neurophysiology, Richard Schwartz, PhD, founder of Internal Family Systems Therapy, addictions specialist, Dr. Kathy Shafer, Functional Yoga Therapy Trainer, Maria Kali Ma, senior Kripalu Yoga teacher and trainer Rudy Pierce, and many other esteemed Yoga and mental health professionals. Joy continues to unfold through the compassionate self-awareness that is the foundation of her Yoga practice and her teaching style.
Amy has won numerous literary prizes for her short fiction, including national prizes from Writer’s Digest Magazine, explorations and Wind. Her novel-in-progress, and her film documentaries have received awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, San Francisco State University, and many other national competitions. She also edits books on spiritual psychology, including the much-praised Yoga and the Quest for the True Self by Stephen Cope (Bantam). She holds the Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing and Literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars, Bennington College and currently lives in Tucson.
Disclaimer: The yoga therapy components of my workshops and trainings are based on my certification as a yoga therapist through the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), additional training in mental health and over 25 years of direct work with students and clients, offering them yoga practices to sustain optimum mental health, and not derived from my status as an RYT ®with Yoga Alliance Registry.