Benefits On and Off the Mat

Originally published in YogaTherapyToday

by Felicity Boyer

Download a PDF of this article here.

Our Yoga students often experience emotions on the mat that may be confusing or even embarrassing to them. I was drawn to learn more about how to help my students move safely through emotions that can surface on the mat and to help them manage their moods because of my own experience in a Yoga class. About the sixth week of my first Yoga course with a wonderful instructor, I had an unexpected emotional release. The tears silently streaming down my face seemed connected to finding something I didn’t even know was lost. I felt like I was coming back to my body — reintegrating somehow — in an overwhelming feeling of coming home. I approached my instructor afterward, hoping for insight into why the practice would bring me to tears. Her response was that crying sometimes accompanies Yoga practice and that I should see a therapist.

The answer felt incomplete, and so I browsed the studio’s bookshelf, where I found Yoga for Depression by Amy Weintraub. This book allowed me to tie many loose ends together about depression and inspired me to continue my own healing journey in a new direction, first to become a Yoga teacher and later to complete advanced training in LifeForce Yoga (LFY), developed by Amy Weintraub. The LifeForce Yoga Practitioner (LFYP) Training completely transformed my personal practice into something that nurtures my heart and soul as well as my body, and it fuels my passion to support other people on their own healing journeys.

Trained in the Anusara™-inspired style of Hatha Yoga, I had a strong appreciation for proper alignment and student safety, as well as the benefits of continuously refining a pose to deepen one’s experience. Hatha Yoga led me into self-awareness as I learned to still my mind and focus on the sensations in a pose. It opened the door to my own inner journey. I went to LFYP Training out of curiosity and interest. Could other aspects of Yoga really help me and others I cared about manage our emotions, including depression and anxiety?

What I encountered in LFYP training is a style of Yoga very much from the heart.

Within a remarkably compassionate container, the training provided numerous opportunities to connect deeply with myself and experience layers of release. Beginning on the very first night after dinner, the focus was on creating a safe container for doing the deep work contained in the training. Amy Weintraub introduced two archetypal icons that form the foundation of the training program: Shiva, representing self-awareness and staying present to what arises; and to balance Shiva, Kuan Yin, known as the bodhisattva of compassion, who would serve to remind us of self-acceptance and observation without judgment throughout the training. Our ensuing discussion focused on not only creating our own safe container for our training group but also on the importance of doing this for every one of our clients, classes, or groups.

Based on my experiences throughout the rest of my week in this training, the LFY practice and training focuses on two essential healing processes: the art of releasing obstructions, toxins, and trauma in our lives to create more space for health and wholeness, and the art of replenishing ourselves and filling that space with healing, lifeaffirming energy, and a sense of Oneness with the Divine in each of us.

The fundamental nondual belief that Atman and Brahman are one, that there is no separation between the individual self and the Divine Self, is foundational to LifeForce Yoga. It is life’s traumas, losses, everyday difficulties, and disappointments that create the illusion that we are separate and alone, which can be the source of our depression. LFY combines cleansing and energy-building practices (tapas) with the development of a calm mind through self-study (svadhyaya) and the willingness to surrender (ishvarapranidhana). This therapeutic Yoga practice is based on Patanjali’s formula for union in action (Kriya Yoga), and is designed specifically to enable people to build emotional resilience. The training emphasizes that we are intimately and eternally connected to our Divine Self, no matter how distant we may feel, and offers daily opportunities to reinforce this concept through personal experience.

Along with the foundation of asana, LFYP Training integrates extensive instruction about and use of pranayama (controlled breathing) and kriya (cleansing breathing), sankalpa (intention), bhavana (cultivation of visual imagery), sound to activate or calm the energy centers in the body, mantra and chanting, Yoga nidra for deep relaxation, and meditation. The training includes poses and asana flows, starting with a two-hour sunrise practice of asana, chanting, and meditation every morning. Each day, we worked with successively deeper levels and combinations of the Yogic tools and techniques designed to manage the mood.

On a day focused on learning energizing breathwork, we experienced seated kapalabhati, or skull-shining breath, in the morning as a method to raise and cleanse the energy of a depressed, lethargic person; in the afternoon we went deeper into that technique to experience kapalabhati during a pose, such as reverse plank or utkatasana (air chair). It might be followed by other energizing techniques such as pulling prana or uddiyana bandha combined with agni sara (pumping the belly). The appropriate application of each technique by Yoga teachers or mental health professionals, including use with specific client backgrounds and contraindications, was discussed at length.

Morning and afternoon didactic sessions included a variety of topics such as Yogic strategies for mental health, post-traumatic stress disorder and seasonal affective disorder, the value of nada (sound) Yoga and mantra, nondual interventions, current neurobiological research on various techniques, use of sound with asana, and Yoga nidra and iRest.™ These sessions were interspersed with presentations on the application of each technique, followed by discussions and practice sessions on each of the tools. Evening sessions tend to vary from training to training and are more experiential, often including workshops on such topics as bhavana, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, kirtan chanting, Laughter Yoga, and Yoga dance.

One of my favorite tools that I worked with during the training is the LFY Chakra Clearing, an 8–10 minute process that combines bhastrika (bellows breath), brahmari (bee breath), and a chakra clearing that incorporates sound and hastamudra-s (hand gestures) to help balance the chakra-s. Bhastrika is a kriya that leaves me feeling energized and cleansed both physically and mentally. I feel lighter and more open and focused after this breath. Brahmari is a calming breath that brings me into greater balance and facilitates pratyahara, or withdrawal of the senses; it helps to break the cycle of obsessive thinking or negative loop thinking, leaving me in a state of great peace. The use of hasta mudra-s allows me to withdraw my senses of sight and sound, and the bee breath creates wonderful vibrations that resonate throughout my entire body.

When I finish the LFY Chakra Clearing process, I find myself sensing into a vast inner space where I feel more spacious and aware, connected, and present. It is a portal into meditation where I can connect with my true Self that is not defined by mood or roles, the part of me that is more than my body, mind, or emotions, the part of me that feels a sense of true Oneness with the Divine.

LFYP Training combines many aspects of Yoga to address the well-being of the whole person. In this way, the practice and the training both address blockages in all of the five koshas—the physical body (annamayakosha), the energy body (pranamayakosha), the psychoemotional body (manomayakosha), the wisdom body (vijnanamayakosha), and the bliss body (anandamayakosha). The practice of LifeForce Yoga is intended to clear samskaras (obstructions) at all levels of our existence and promote whole mind-body wellness without focusing on a person’s particular story. The LFY Chakra Clearing process described above affects several kosha-s. I believe that this whole-person approach leaves no aspect of my being untouched and contributes to the powerful impact this training and practice has had in helping me remove blockages and bring balance into my life.

The LFY Staff consists of Amy Weintraub, several experienced LFY Level 2 Practitioners, and expert faculty brought in throughout the practitioner training to discuss related topics or present specialized techniques. During the 2009 training in Tucson that I attended, Yoga therapist and teacher Maria Mendola, RN, MA, ERYT-500, discussed the Ayurvedic approach to the emotions. In this session, trainees learned about the dosha-s and how knowledge of the Ayurvedic system can be helpful in balancing the emotions related to each dosha. Similarly, as a method of encouraging future practitioners to respect and facilitate the client’s own inner-body wisdom in order to release stored tension, J.J. Lee, a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy practitioner and trainer, presented an evening workshop that included a sample session. Students were able to observe the practitioner’s compassionate presence with the client and witness a client-directed session.

The staff’s presence, healing energy, and the tender language surrounding the entire training all served to create a space filled with opportunities to explore the self, but without any pressure to perform. Staff gave presentations on various topics, offered feedback, and provided support to allow attendees to dive deeper into the experiences of cleansing, releasing, and connecting with the Divine Self. Unconditional permission was given to each of us to listen to ourselves while going deeper into a pose, breathing technique, or exercise, witnessing ourselves and the sensations that arose from each new technique. Frequent times of silence and meditation were included to allow us to process and assimilate our experiences quietly and thoughtfully, giving us opportunities to sense into our bodies, to feel the location of the energy in the body, and to experience the spacious silence inside ourselves. In this way, trainees could evaluate the impact of the tools and techniques on themselves, consider their possible application for students and clients, and discuss their reactions and ideas for future use of the tools.

As a former business executive, I also appreciated the structured approach of the LFYP Training Program. Goals are clearly articulated, communication is reliable, materials are well-organized and presented, and a schedule is established and followed. This attention to detail allowed me to maximize the training experience.

LFYP Level 1 Training prepares future practitioners to work with groups and individuals and to teach students and clients in the Yogic strategies we learned there. Since both Yoga teachers and mental health practitioners attend the training, special attention is paid to differentiating between techniques like asana practices and kriya breathing that may be safely led by a Yoga teacher and those that may be led by a psychotherapist. A more limited selection of practices with modifications appropriate for a clinical setting are introduced for psychotherapists, who are encouraged to incorporate simple Yogic strategies to help their clients focus, relax, and achieve greater access to their feelings. Psychotherapists learn simple pranayama, mantra-s, mudra-s and the effective use of bhavana and sankalpa that they can teach their clients to self-regulate emotion and manage their moods.

LFYP Level 2 Training continues with more in-depth training in the Yogic strategies for balancing mood and more practice teaching of all the strategies. The training emphasizes working one-on-one with clients and how to structure and lead workshops. Both Level 1 and Level 2 training culminate in a practice teaching session followed by a standardized self-mentoring report. Each Yogic strategy is practiced with a training partner in a nonevaluative way first, followed by the actual practice teaching that includes a 50-minute session for each trainee. The practice-teaching sessions take place in a large training room and are continuously monitored by staff. Following the practice-teaching session, each trainee is required to complete a session-planning sheet outlining the client’s symptoms and the rationale for selecting certain tools and techniques, along with a standardized selfevaluation form. An online evaluation by Amy is provided to the trainees the week after training is completed.

In order to participate in the LFYP Level 1 Training, attendees must be 200-hour Yoga Alliance registered Yoga teachers or mental health professionals with an ongoing Yoga practice. Candidates who do not meet these criteria but who work as healing professionals will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Other requirements include reading Yoga for Depression and the LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Level 1 Training for Depression and Anxiety Manual. The Level 1 training consists of 40–50 contact hours, depending on location.

Students who wish to enroll in the advanced training must have completed Level 1 Training. Requirements include reading the Level 2 Training Manual, viewing the LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues Level 1 and 2 DVDs, and listening to the LifeForce Yoga CDs for Yoga Nidra, Bhavana, and Breathe to Beat the Blues. We were also required to complete additional hours of self-study and selfmentoring, as well as demonstrate our experience incorporating LifeForce Yoga within classes, private sessions, and/or workshops. Students must select an approved LifeForce Yoga mentor and complete three one-hour mentoring sessions with their mentors before receiving their certificate of completion. I felt this was one of the most beneficial aspects of the program, as it gave me a chance to work one-on-one with someone adept in applying the LFY tools and techniques in real-life settings. As part of this process, students complete and submit three standardized Self-Mentoring Reports to their mentor, which forms the foundation for the mentoring sessions. Level 2 training consists of 56 contact hours.

The LFY tools and techniques helped me to clear the space within and invited me to connect deeply with my true Self (atman). I left feeling cleansed, refreshed, and revitalized. Although I have done a lot of previous experiential work, the subtle power of this practice opened a portal to a vast consciousness inside myself that I had only experienced in rare moments of my life. It moved me to not only commit to hold onto this delicious sense of connectedness but also to find ways to share this opportunity with others still suffering from the energy-draining experience of living with depression. I left there ready to dive even deeper into my own practice of LifeForce Yoga.

I now teach LifeForce Yoga classes and see private clients who are interested in learning how to apply Yogic practices to help calm their anxiety and/or enhance their sense of well-being and personal empowerment. At each opportunity, I offer my students and clients tools and techniques to take home with them to build more emotional resilience in their daily lives. The “take home value” of this therapeutic practice is significant; it encourages independent self-regulation of moods.

LifeForce Yoga helps me take my Yoga practice off my mat and integrate it more deeply into my daily life, enabling me to live life on life’s terms with more dignity, grace, and compassion — and without depression. Sharing these tools with others who are still suffering inspires me to continue in this loving work so that they may explore ways to improve their quality of life.

Felicity Boyer, MBA, RYT-200, is a Life- Force Yoga® Practitioner Level 2 at the East Meets West Center in Vienna, VA and at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. In her private Yoga therapy practice, she offers tools to help build and maintain emotional resilience. She can be reached at fgboyer@aol.com.

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What People Say

“As a Yoga teacher, Amy Weintraub’s most outstanding quality is her kindness. I have seen her work often with very challenging students and always maintain her attitude of patience and compassion. She provides a safe and enriching class.” — Tom Beall, RYT 500, Yoga teacher, Tucson, AZ
“I learned lots of ways to reduce the anxiety and depression of my patients and myself.” – Aviva Sinvany-Nubel, PhD, APN, CNSC, RN, psychotherapist, Bridgewater, N.J.
“Amy is a wonderful instructor. She is a vital and vibrant person and she kept the program flowing. Her voice was very soothing and nurturing and she created an open, safe and sacred space.” — Mary Lou Tillinger, massage therapist/rural carrier, Plainfield, CT
“Amy helped me find powerful personal images that fit perfectly into my short stories, and she helped me find a process to release my inner voice.” — Mark Heasley, Troy, Michigan
“I have tried a number of antidepressants and therapy to treat my chronic depression. When I began working privately with Amy, something shifted, and I saw that I could live from a place bigger and brighter than my depression. At first, I just felt better for a few hours after our work together. But after several months, I am feeling that those positive feelings — more energy, more optimistic, more flexible — are taking me through the days in between our sessions.” — KW, technical writer, Tucson, AZ
“I integrate strategies like mantra tones and pranayama, but above all I invite myself and those I teach to cultivate svadhyaya, to practice self-observation without judgment.” — Barbara Sherman, RYT 200, LFYP, Tucson, AZ
“Words do not do justice to all that I learned. This workshop changed my life!” — Jen Nolan, Teacher, Cortland, NY
“In the compassionate voice of someone who definitely knows the territory of depression, Amy Weintraub presents Yoga science and personal stories, research results and poetry, and practice instructions that are genuinely interesting in this very readable book that is both comprehensive and totally inspiring.” — Sylvia Boorstein, author of That’s Funny You Don’t Look Like a Buddhist and It’s Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness
“I typically live in a state of future hope and past fear, both totally about stress. When I practice yoga, my life begins again. I look out of new eyes that are a lot more about life and self-esteem. Amy is the best yoga teacher I have had.” — Jaqui Gee, massage therapist, Tucson, AZ
“Amy Weintraub’s work is some of the most important in our world today for helping humanity understand more deeply the significance of the mind-body connection. Her insights are inspirational for yoga teachers and all readers. Her in-depth understanding of her subject is an important basis for personal, as well as societal transformation.” — Rama Jyoti Vernon, Founder, American Yoga College, co-founder Yoga Journal
“I began a fantasy during the meditation exercise... almost as if I’d been there. It’s now an on-going work of fiction.” — Serian Strauss, Tanzania
“Suffering from depression and chronic fatigue syndrome, I've tried medications, supplements, and many forms of traditional and nontraditional therapies without beneficial effects. While taking yoga classes with Amy at Kripalu, I noticed a definite shift in my consciousness, a reduction in stress, and an improvement in my well-being. Amy's classes have helped me to love and appreciate myself. Amy is an outstanding yoga teacher and in dealing with the fatigue and depression I experience, participation in her classes has been a real gift to my yoga practice and me.” — E. M., teacher, Lenox, MA
“Amy’s gentle and caring presence blends beautifully with her skillful Yoga teaching talents.  I have enjoyed attending Amy’s unique class offerings for the past 4 years now.  As a practitioner and teacher of Yoga, I find that her style of teaching creates a safe place for me to deepen my own Yoga practice, free from the competitive "striving" attitudes found all too often in Yoga classes.  I have appreciated Amy’s strong focus on acceptance and presence and always leave her classes feeling happier, lighter and more centered in my true self.” — Janine Walter, Oriental Bodywork Therapist and Teacher, Tucson, AZ
“Amy Weintraub shows how to use yoga as a resource for psychological healing and personal growth. Her methods are grounded in ancient wisdom, informed by modern science, and eminently practical for reducing anxiety, lifting mood, and improving self-regulation. She is a master teacher, and her skills and heart are woven throughout this new classic for therapists, clients, and anyone interested in inner strength and peace.” — Rick Hanson, Ph.D. author of Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom
“Research now validates what yoga adepts have claimed for thousands of years: Yoga practices profoundly affect our state of heart and mind! Drawing on her wisdom and notable expertise, Amy Weintraub guides us in bringing this ancient science of healing into clinical settings. Yoga Skills for Therapists is both practical and inspiring; it will allow you to offer the precious gifts of yoga to your clients and deepen the roots of your own practice as well.” — Tara Brach, Ph.D., author of Radical Acceptance (Bantam, 2003.)
“The pieces I wrote in Amy’s workshop are the best I’ve done. She brought out my confidence in myself and the best in my writing.” — Amy Wray, Iowa City, Iowa
“I have been reminded that I am not on this path alone, that others are sharing the journey that sometimes seems so difficult. I have also been reminded of the importance of daily practice and I will do that. The whole program has been an incredible experience for me. Thank you!” — Lorraine Plauth, retired teacher, Voorheesville, NY
“Amy’s 7 AM yoga class was a journey from darkness to light.  On each morning of practice the route is different.  She embodies the compassion that she writes about so well.” — JS, 48, biologist and writer, Tucson, AZ
“A psychotherapist might spend many years studying yoga and still not achieve anything near this elegant, practical, powerful integration. The instruction — while emerging from a 4000-year-oldtradition some consider esoteric — is immediately useful for treating abroad range of mental health disorders, even for therapists with no other background in yoga. As a bonus, the book seamlessly weaves in indispensable related tools, such as imagery, self-suggestion, and mindfulness meditation. It is a fabulous resource.” — Donna Eden & David Feinstein, Ph.D., Co-authors, Energy Medicine and The Promise of Energy Psychology
“I’ve worked with Amy’s Yogic sets for the last two years and they have literally transformed my emotional state. Amy takes me, step-by-step, through postures and breathing exercises that straighten out my emotional tangles. Practicing Yoga has positively affected my whole world.” — S.S., retired computer engineer, Cambridge, MA
“I am indebted to Amy's Yoga instruction for teaching the part of me that had trouble letting go. My wife died almost two years ago, and I am now free of grief and other destructive thought-patterns. Since practicing Yoga with Amy, my meditation practice has gone to new dimensions.” — John deCoville, systems analyst, Tucson, AZ
“My patients can now have the same effects as many medications without having to actually take medication!” — Deborah Lubetkin, PSY.D, LFYP, West Caldwell, NJ
“I had been on antidepressant medication for three years and had just been diagnosed with fibro myalgia when I began to work with Amy. She designed a sequence of postures and breathing exercises for me that I could practice at home. After four months, I was feeling much better, and after six months, I was able to stop antidepressants entirely. I still have low moods from time to time, but I know they will pass. Yoga has changed my life.” — C.L., 37, massage therapist, Sarasota, FL.
“I feel profoundly transformed, both physically and emotionally. The connection between mind, body and spirit was clearly evident to me, but revealed to me through this workshop as an integrally vital link to overall health.” — Nadine Richardson, program manager at rehab agency, Monroe, CT
“A client who returned said, "When I came before, you helped me understand and get where I wanted to go. Now you show me yoga practices I use to help myself understand and get where I want to go.” — Sherry Rubin, LCSW, BCD, LFYP, Downingtown, PA
“My life is already changed! I will use the tools I learned in my own practice and in my work. I feel safe and seen.” — Susan Andrea Weiner, MA, teacher/expressive arts facilitator, El Cerrito, CA.
“This workshop helped me rededicate my energies and begin to work through some of the blocks I’ve felt creatively.” — Steve Mark, college professor, New Haven, CT
“Yoga Skills for Therapists is the ideal resource for those who want to bring yoga practices into psychotherapy or healthcare. Weintraub, a leader in the field of yoga therapy, offers evidence-based, easy-to-introduce strategies for managing anxiety, improving mood, and relieving suffering. Helpful clinical insights and case examples emphasize safety, trust, and skillful adaptation to the individual, making it easy to apply the wisdom of yoga effectively in the therapeutic context.” — Kelly McGonigal, PhD, author, Yoga for Pain Relief, Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Yoga Therapy
“As a ‘regular’ in Amy’s 7 AM Mon/Wed/Fri. yoga class, I felt a strong attachment to Amy and her Yoga practice.  I have been with her for 2 1/2 years and I am 82 years old.  A few months back I had the flu and missed two classes; she came to my house to check on me.  I could not believe she did this with her busy schedule.  This is a testimonial to her caring for the individual.  Amy is very special to me and keeps me going.” — D.W., retired nurse, Tucson, AZ
“I came hoping to learn to move past some of the obstacles blocking my creativity. Over the course of this weekend, I feel I’ve gained a certain measure of faith in myself and in my ability to change. I also had some realizations that I believe will be very helpful to me. I feel encouraged. Both the content and presentation of this program were so well-thought out that I can’t think of any way to improve it.” — Andrea Gollin, writer & editor, Miami, FL
“In this well-written and well-researched book Amy Weintraub provides therapists with simple, easy-to-apply but powerful, breathing, meditation, and hand gesture techniques that do not require a mat or body postures. Therapists can easily incorporate these techniques into their practices without otherwise having to change what they do, and clients can use them on their own. Thank you Amy for giving us access to this ancient healing wisdom.” — Richard C. Schwartz, Ph.D., developer, Internal Family Systems Therapy, author, Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model
“I have realized how to go deeper into myself and find what is blocking me. I now can focus and clear my mind. Keep Amy! She is fantastic. She enabled me to release and find where I need to go.” — Kathy Myers, homemaker, State College, PA.
“Amy’s teaching is enthusiastic and loving.  She guides me gently, harmoniously and confidently to a mindful state and encourages me to find my own strengths and edges.  With well-chosen language and carefully executed examples, she reminds me of my own inner healing knowledge.” — Penelope Simmons, artist, founder of Odyssey Storytelling, Tucson, AZ
“Giving my clients a strategy and permission to quiet their minds and rebalance the sympathetic nervous system has been very beneficial to them and in our work together.” — Sue Dilsworth, PhD, RYT 200, LFYP, Allendale, MI
“As a teacher of yoga, Amy Weintraub has continually reinforced my longtime belief in the strong connection of mind-body-spirit. For the past three years, I have benefited, both personally and professionally (I am a clinical social worker), from Amy's supportive and competent guidance in yoga. Because of Amy's influence, I often recommend the practice of yoga to friends and clients.” — Dory Martin, CISW, Tucson, AZ
“This is a book about integrating the mind and the body, about using movement to mend oneself; in a world obsessed with psychopharmacology, reading it was a refreshing reminder that, in some cases, the tools we have to cure depression reside not in a pill, but in our own bodies, if we are willing to try.” — Lauren Slater, author of Prozac Diary and Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir
“In my private sessions with Amy, I learn, expand and heal, and I leave more vivid in every way. I rely on some of the exercises she teaches, throughout the day, to reenergize and rebalance.” — L.D., writer, Tucson, AZ
“Amy Weintraub's talent as a yoga instructor is surpassed only by her ability to inspire compassion and depth in each of her student's practice.” — LuAnn Haley, attorney, Tucson, AZ
“Amy is a treasure. Through her gentle and affirming teaching style, she helped me establish a yoga practice that has become a most satisfying and grounding aspect of my life. I was surprised by the depth of the experience and the enduring nature of the changes I enjoy through this practice.” — CA, journalist, videographer, Tucson, AZ
“Amy was just what I needed. Her values & thoughts & way of speaking stirred deep “hidden pockets” that need to be cleaned out. I’m glad I came. I know it will change my life.” — Sue Carlson, seamstress, Ayer, MA
“I have gained an incredible opening and clearing of old obstructions. I hope to return to my life and fill this opening with things I love to do and that give me joy!” — Lisa Shine, administrative assistant, Ballston Lake, NY
“I have found the LFYP training to be incredibly useful in giving people specific tools to use in maintaining physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance, and further opening their intuitive abilities.” — Nancy Windheart, RYT-200, LFYP, Reiki Master, Animal communication teacher, Prescott, AZ
“My personal practice will change, as well as my yoga classes. I have a better understanding of yoga!” — Andrea Gattuso, RYT, Yoga Teacher, Hackettstown, N.J.
“Yoga Skills for Therapists brilliantly opens a door to the physical and spiritual layers of a client - one that therapists and counselors have been waiting to walk through. Its chapters unfold a unique and inspiring blend of ancient traditions and contemporary concerns. From a place of genuine respect, integrity and intention, Amy offers easily applied foundational yogic practices to enrich the therapeutic experience for both client and practitioner.” – Elissa Cobb, MA. Director of Programs, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy
“This program changed my life in a significant way. It helped me connect with the spirit which is something you can’t get from psychotherapy and medication.” – G. W., artist, Pittsburgh, PA
“Amy is a beautiful gift in my life! Her yoga offers a powerful blend of the practical and mystical. She has developed yogic solutions to many chronic health problems, and to many of the ways we habitually get stuck in our bodies and minds. Amy's yoga keeps me grounded and healthy, like the earth under my feet.” — Mary Driscoll, freelance writer and Ph.D., Southwest Institute for Research on Women, University of Arizona
“Weintraub has written…a sensitive, intelligent, painstaking exploration of the deeper psychospiritual issues that make up the complex experience of depression.” — Phil Catalfo, Yoga Journal
“I have gained a softer heart, more receptive mind, and tools to enrich both personal and professional aspects of my life.” – Regina Trailweaver, LICSW, clinical social worker, Hancock, VT.
“Amy has a wonderful, powerful presence. Her energy radiated to the entire group. I feel better able to be who I am and to be compassionate toward myself in a new, loving, way.” — Suzanne Phelps-Weir, editor, Boston, MA
“Amy is extensively trained in many schools of Yoga. This allows her to provide a wide variety of information from which the student can choose. Amy knows that what benefits a student is a unique ‘recipe.’ She is a loving and kind teacher. As a colleague, I love to attend her classes!” — K.H., Yoga Teacher, Tucson, AZ
“As a musician living with multiple spinal deformities, I have participated in many yoga classes lead by Amy Weintraub. I see Amy’s classes as very fluid, well-structured arrangements of poses, breathing exercises and vocalizations. Amy manages to pace her sessions and her voice at just the right tempo as to add focus and confidence to the students’ efforts. The systematic progression of movements in Amy’s classes naturally engages the student to go further and further within, tapping into the wellspring of their potential.” — Léo Gosseli, musician, Prescott, AZ
“With a specific emphasis on managing mood, Amy’s book delivers dynamic insights and yoga-based practices that she has refined over decades of first-hand experience working with clients, students, and therapists, that relax, focus, and reduce the symptoms and causes of anxiety, depression, and stress, as well as prepare the mind and body for the integrative work of psychotherapy.” — Richard Miller, Ph.D., author, Yoga Nidra: The Meditative Heart of Yoga, President, Integrative Restoration Institute.
“My experience in Amy’s classes for the past four years has been uplifting and powerful. I have found that the techniques she shares are powerfully effective for dispelling the dark clouds of negativity and hopelessness. But more than that, Amy brings us the ability to easily access the inner world where healing and self-understanding reside.” — Cynthia Athina Kemp Scherer, author, The Alchemy of the Desert and The Art and Technique of Using Flower Essences, Tucson, AZ
“I gained tools for working with my own depression and with my clients’ depressions.” — Robert Sgona, LCSW, RYT, psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, Camden, ME.
“This workshop has changed so much — my self-image and my life. My own heart’s desire is 100% clear. I gained tools to help myself and others to live life fully.” — Marcia Siegel, Yoga teacher, therapist, Carlsbad, CA.
“I gained perspective of who I am in the world and this will change my life significantly.” — Mary Ford, artist, Southport, CT
“In this book, Amy Weintraub directly addresses the core of depression: the problem of Being itself, in the finest tradition of Yoga. Yoga for Depression is an astonishingly comprehensive guide to the art and science of Yoga. Herein lies a Yogic blueprint for how to be a human being, written by a compassionate and generous teacher.” — Stephen Cope, author of Yoga and the Quest for the True Self and The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Living. Director of the Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living
“It is not just Amy’s yoga classes that have added richness to my life as both a yoga student and a yoga therapist, it is more importantly how she integrates and exudes yoga into her daily life that is inspirational for me.  While I have been the beneficiary of her thoughtful, well constructed and emotionally well tuned yoga classes, I have also received her wit and wisdom through informal, "off-the-mat" interaction as well.  In both cases, I have been able to tune into myself at a deeper level and feel more successful in my practice as a result of her care-full teaching and living.” — JJ (Jesse) Lee, owner, Body & Soul Fitness Training, Reno, Nevada
“I have found the pranayama (breathing practices) especially easy to introduce in a clinical setting. Some people have benefited quickly in unexpected and transformative ways.” — Liz Brenner, LICSW, LFYP, Watertown, MA
“Heal yourself with Yoga For Depression. I absolutely love this book and highly recommend it.” — Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. Author of Meditation as Medicine
“Amy offers many guidelines and solutions through yoga, to both those who suffer from depression and to yoga teachers working with them.” — Angela Farmer, internationally known master Yoga teacher
“I utilize the LFY techniques in both a class room setting and one-on-one environment. The skills have infused my teachings with compassion, mindfulness, and awareness.” — Kat Larsen, CYT, LFYP
“I had the pleasure of experiencing several private yoga sessions with Amy Weintraub, which were for me the most profoundly healing yoga experiences I’ve had.  Amy has the gift of not only being very skillful in helping me feel supported and "held" in yoga postures physically, but, also, the ability to use words to bring me more deeply into my own inner experience. I found myself releasing emotions that had been held in my body for a long time.  After the sessions, I had the experience of being much more at home within myself and much more present to my own inner experience. This was particularly important for me since I am a body-centered therapist who specializes in helping people get in touch with emotions held in the unconscious. Amy’s work is very important in a world where so little attention is given to one’s own inner experience. I’m grateful for having had the opportunity to experience the power of yoga with Amy.” — L.F. 44, Rosen Method Bodyworker Practitioner, Florence, MA
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