ISSUE #1 – November 12, 2004
Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and the grace will carry
you to higher ground.
Danna Faulds, Go In and In: Poems from the Heart of Yoga
Welcome to the first edition of the LifeForce Yoga® for Depression Newsletter in which you will find some of the latest information on complementary treatments for mood disorders, body psychotherapy, current brain research, news on supplements that may increase the effectiveness of other treatments for depression, the current schedule of LifeForce Yoga® Workshops & trainings, and an invitation to join the new on-line discussion about Yoga for the emotional body.
In the News
Schedule of Workshops & Trainings
Private Sessions & Guided Personal Retreats
New “Yoga for the Emotional Body” Discussion Forum
Books: New & Recommended
In the News
“Black Box” Warning: Risks of Antidepressants for Children
With the public concern about the increased risk of suicide in the use of antidepressants, particularly among children and adolescents, many mental health professionals and physicians are exploring alternative treatments for depression and other mood disorders. On October 15, 2004, The Federal Drug Administration directed the manufacturers of all antidepressants to add a “black box” warning to their product labeling that describes the increased risk of suicide in children and adolescents given these drugs. A “black box” warning for physicians, is the strongest warning possible, but does not ban them from prescribing the drug to children and adolescents. Discussing the continued use of a class of antidepressants known as SSRI’s in the treatment of children, Dr. Thomas Newman, professor of epidemiology and pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, says, “We have good evidence of harm and very little evidence of efficacy.”
Yoga as Treatment
Psychobiologists are now saying that our reactions to life are patterned by our earliest, preverbal experiences. The forgotten emotion that accompanied those experiences can be stored in our bodies for years. We therefore need a treatment for depression and other mood disorders that includes the physical body. –AW
Teens and Suicide
A study surveying college campuses states that depression and suicide have increased 3-fold in the last 16 years.
Depression is Different in Children
(Excerpted from “Depression is Different in Kids,” The Wall Street Journal, by Sharon Begley, October 18, 2004)
A growing number of discoveries suggest that depression in young people isn’t simply a scaled-down version of depression in adults. The symptoms and the responses to antidepressants are different, indicating different biological activity. Teen brains, scientists are finding, are very different than adult brains.
Instead of feeling deeply and chronically unhappy, teens diagnosed with depression feel bored, moody and irritable. These symptomatic differences, experts say, must reflect differences in the underlying biochemistry of the disease in adults and children.
Several studies suggest that the antidepressants called SSRIs stimulate the birth of neurons in the brain. Boosting this “neurogenesis” might have different effects on a developing brain than a mature one.
The creation of neurons in the brain had been assumed to be beneficial. In depressed adults, the hippocampus – the part of the brain responsible for learning, memory and emotion – is typically shrunken. By restoring it to full size, and presumably full health, depression might be lifted.
But in young people with depression, the hippocampus isn’t shrunken. It may be that the influx of new neurons is somehow detrimental to adolescents. Some scientists wonder whether the new neurons could destabilize fragile brain circuits in children suffering from mental illness.
In another key difference, young patients with depression usually don’t show elevated levels of the stress hormone called cortisol. In adults, in contrast, scientists are discovering more and more evidence that depression is caused by abnormally high levels of cortisol flooding the brain.
Cortisol shrinks the hippocampus. But scientists don’t understand why depressed adults have higher levels of cortisol than depressed teens do.
The human brain isn’t fully mature for two decades. The way it matures suggests reasons that young people might be vulnerable to the worst side effects of SSRIs.
Preventative Treatment for Depression
Researchers at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia conducted a study on Yoga as a preventative and treatment for symptoms of mental illness. The six-week Yoga program incorporated breathing techniques, postures designed to enhance strength, vitality and flexibility, guided relaxation and meditation. By developing calmness, self-acceptance, a balanced perspective and enhanced concentration it was hypothesized that participants would strengthen their resistance to emotional distress. Psychometric testing was carried out to assess symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression across three groups: regular Yoga practitioners, beginners entering the program and a control group that did not practice Yoga. Previous studies have cited a strong sense of intrinsic spiritual experience as a possible buffer to stress, anxiety and depression and a decreased frequency of medical symptoms. In addition to psychometric measurement at pre- and post-intervention, participants were assessed on their sense of intrinsic spirituality, but not on religious beliefs. At the end of six weeks, Yoga beginners showed lower average levels of symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress than at commencement, but levels were stable for regular Yoga practitioners and the control group of non-practitioners. In addition, beginners showed growth in their self-reported level of intrinsic spiritual experience.—Campbell, D.E., Moore, K.A.. Yoga as a preventative treatment for depression, Anxiety and stress. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 2004, 14:53-58.
Benefits for Cancer Survivors
The University of Calgary completed a pilot study designed to examine the physical and psychological benefits afforded by a seven-week Yoga program for cancer survivors. As compared to the control group, there were significant improvements in the program participants from pre- to post-intervention on a number of physical and psychosocial variables.—Culos-Reed, S.N., Carlson, L.E., Daroux, L.M., Hately-Aldous, S. Discovering the physical and psychological benefits of Yoga for cancer survivors. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 2004, 14:45-52.
Mood Changes with Iyengar Yoga
Unlike the above studies, this study looked at posture alone in an attempt to assess the effect on mood of specific groups of postures. This pilot study compared back bends, forward bends and standing poses. Each 90-minute class focused on one of the three types of poses. Self-ratings were obtained before and after each class. Independent of the specific pose, positive mood increased, negative mood decreased and energy-related moods increased from before to after classes. Back bends were associated with greater increases in positive mood, particularly for those who, in a pre-intervention orientation personality trait measurement were hostile or depressed. –Shapiro, D. and Cline, K. Mood changes associated with Iyengar Yoga practices: a pilot study. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 2004, 14:35-44.
NOTE: I would like to thank Trisha Lamb, editor in Chief of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, for her ceaseless efforts to support the research and understanding of Yoga. You can support this work by becoming a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. Please visit www.IAYT.org
There are a number of studies in development that will be looking at mood and energy level for cancer survivors (UCLA and the Mayo Clinc) and patients with HIV/AIDs (University of Florida). I’ll be consulting on one that the Mayo Clinic is developing. I will keep you posted.
Research psychologist David Shapiro, lead author on the UCLA mood changes with Iyengar Yoga quoted above, is currently recruiting folks suffering from depression for a study that will examine Iyengar Yoga as a complementary treatment for mood disorder.
And finally, after ignoring Yoga but looking at a multitude of non-allopathic treatment including meditation, tai chi, and acupuncture, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is underwriting a study that will look at “Yoga for Treating People at Risk for Diabetes or With Both HIV and Depression.”
New research reports patients who were treated for depression responded better if they had a higher level of vitamin B12 in their blood. Supplementing vitamins B1, B2 and B6 may be a good way to support positive mental health. These vitamins indirectly increase the level of vitamin B12 in your blood.
LifeForce Yoga® Workshop & Training Schedule
November 13, 2004
1:30 PM Yoga as a Complementary Treatment for Depression, Integrative Therapies and Depression Conference, The University of Arizona College of Medicine, firstname.lastname@example.org
November 20, 2004
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Yoga for the Emotional Body, Oro Valley Library, Oro Valley, AZ. email@example.com
January 14 – 17, 2005 Yoga to Beat the Blues, Kripalu Center, Lenox, MA, 800 741-7353, www.kripalu.org
Wakefield, RI, January 21-23, 2005
LifeForce Yoga® for Mood Disorders, 401 782-2126, www.allthatmatters.com 10 CUE’s for Social Workers (NASW) and yoga teachers (Yoga Alliance).
February 19 – 21, 2005 Yoga Expo, Los Angeles Convention Center. http://www.yogaexpo.com
March 17 – 20th
Psychotherapy Networker Symposium – Amy will lead a Pre-Conference Day-Long Workshop, Clinical presentation: Yoga as Complementary Treatment for Mood Disorders, Morning Yoga & Afternoon Integration practice. www.psychotherapynetworker.com
May 22 – 27, 2005 Yoga to Beat the Blues
Omega at the Crossings Austin, TX 877-944-3003 http://www.omegacrossings.com
July 4 – 8, 2005 LifeForce Therapy for Depression and Anxiety, Kripalu Center, Lenox, MA, 800 741-7353, www.kripalu.org 24.5 CEU’s for Social Workers & Yoga Teachers.
Rhinebeck, NY July 10 – 15, 2005 Yoga to Beat the Blues, Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, NY, 800-944-1001, www.eomega.org
New York July 17, 2005 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Yoga for the Emotional Body Workshop, Be Yoga, 138 5th Avenue, 4th Floor, New York, NY, 212 617- 9642, http://www.beyoga.com
September 29 – October 2, 2005 Yoga to Beat the Blues, Kripalu Center, Lenox, MA, 800 741-7353, www.kripalu.org
Private Sessions & Guided Personal Retreats
Private sessions in Life Force Yoga Therapy (In Tucson)
Each session incorporates the principles of Life Force Yoga Therapy to invite balance into the emotional and physical body, thereby establishing and maintaining Positive Mental Health.
An initial session includes an assessment and, after the third session, a written home practice.
Guided Personal Retreats
Amy will design a personal retreat in Tucson to meet your schedule and needs. In addition to daily private Life Force Yoga Therapy sessions with Amy, retreats can include several energy modalities, a consultation with a holistic M.D., a consultation with an internationally recognized expert in flower essence production and treatment, Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, massage, and healing ritual. www.Yogafordepression.com
New! On-line Discussion Group: Yoga and the Emotional Body
Whether you are new to Yoga, a Yoga teacher, Yoga therapist or a psychotherapist, this forum can be a valuable resource for you. Talk with others about their experience in establishing and maintaining positive mental health through yogic techniques. www.Yogafordepression.com The forum is hosted by yoga teacher Kirstin Barnekov-Short, who completed “Teaching to the Emotional Body” with Amy in June, 2004 and is now leading Yoga for Anxiety workshops in Delaware.
Books: New & Recommended
Two inspiring books have come across my desk this month. The first, Medicine, Mind And Meaning by Dr. Eve Wood, is a transformative guide for anyone suffering from mood disorders. This is one of the most inspiring books for self-empowered healing from mental illness I have read. In her childhood, Dr. Eve Wood learned that, “If a person saves one life, it is as if he has saved the entire world.” By this criterion, Dr. Wood is saving the galaxy.
Medicine, Mind And Meaning
Eve A. Wood, M.D.
In One Press www.MedicineMindandMeaning.com 0974108308 $21.95 www.InOnePress.com Medicine,
Mind And Meaning: A Psychiatrist’s Guide To Treating The Body, Mind, And Spirit by medical and mental
health expert Dr. Eve Wood compares human well-being to a three-legged stool, which rests upon the pillars of body,
mind, and spirit. A step-by-step guide showing the reader how to involve body (genetics, inborn characteristics and vulnerabilities), mind (backgrounds, beliefs, behaviors) and spirit (faith and the search for higher meaning) in a healing journey toward total wellness, medicine, Mind And Meaning is a testimony of inspiration, blessing, and the profound healing power of positive will. A forward by C. Everett Koop, M.D., SCD rounds out this transformative work of insight grounded in years of practical and medical experience. – The Midwest Book Review, September 2004
The second, The Rhodiola Revolution: Transform Your Health with the Herbal Breakthrough of the 21st Century is by Dr. Richard P. Brown, Dr. Patricia L. Gerbarg, and Barbara Graham. Psychopharmacolgist and associate professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Dr. Richard Brown wrote the medical forward for my book, Yoga for Depression. He and his wife, psychiatrist Dr. Patricia Gerbarg have written this highly readable book about an herb they highly recommend for treating depression as well as a host of other medical conditions.
The Rhodiola Revolution presents an holistic approach to stress and fatigue that includes herbs, Yoga breathing, and lifestyle changes. The focus of the book is Rhodiola rosea. Used for thousands of years in folk medicines of Scandinavia and Russia, the root of this remarkable herb enabled people living at high altitudes to survive the harshest conditions and to maintain physical and mental health into old age. The authors present the fascinating history, scientific research and clinical benefits in fatigue, stress, cognition, memory, depression, menopause, physical performance, weight loss, and sexual enhancement
McMan’s Depression and Bipolar Weekly http://www.mcmanweb.com/newsletter1.htm
This is an excellent source of news and information.
Also, visit http://www.mcmanweb.com to read more than 280 articles on all aspects of depression and bipolar, plus a bookstore, readers’ forum, message boards, and other features.
International Association of Yoga Therapists: www.iayt.org
I know a cure for sadness:
Let your hands touch something that
makes your eyes
Please join the conversation on the new discussion forum: www.yogafordepression.com
Blessings on recovering and maintaining positive mental health!