Late Spring 2010
LifeForce Yoga Logo
I’m grateful for the support I received from so many of you as I taught in my boot-cast this last month at mental health conferences in Phoenix and Washington, DC and led the first LIfeForce Yoga Practitioner Training for Depression & Anxiety at the Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas.
I’m out of the cast now and happy to see that my asana practice is minimally effected by the surgery. One aspect of having a more limited practice these last two months has been the joyful and empowering feeling of simple accomplishments, like wearing a shoe, the first walk along the Rillito, and yes that first Downward-facing Dog out of the cast. Lotus pose is more challenging now, which allows me to cultivate acceptance. At some point, we will be saying goodbye to practices we have loved–maybe it will start with a jump back or a high lunge. If our poses are merely portals in to a clear and quiet mind, does it matter which postures and pranayamas and mudras and mantras get us there? Might it be true that sitting is the sand when your foot is broken is a more direct route to bliss than walking the beach?
I look forward to visits with friends, old and new, at Kripalu Center this week, at the Divine Center of Yoga in South Lake, Texas in May, and at Shambhala Mountain Center in June!
May your own practice, whatever it is, offer you radiant health, clarity, and a doorway into the deep well of peace within you.
Effects of a yoga breath intervention alone and in combination with an exposure therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression in survivors of the 2004 South-East Asia tsunami
T. Descilo, A. Vedamurtachar, P. L. Gerbarg, D. Nagaraja, B. N. Gangadhar, B. Damodaran, B. Adelson, L. H. Braslow, S. Marcus, R. P. Brown
Acta psychiatrica Scandinavica. Vol. 121, Issue 4, Pages 289-300, 2010.
Under difficult conditions at five refugee camps set up after the 2004 tsunami in South-east Asia, the authors of this study, published in the April, 2010 journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, followed 183 Tsunami survivors living in refugee camps with elevated symptoms of PTSD (scored 50 or more on the Post-traumatic Checklist-17). The survivors were divided into three groups that included a wait-listed and demographically comparable control group and two different treatment groups, receiving either a Yoga breathing program or Yoga breathing plus exposure therapy. The Yoga breathing and the Yoga breathing plus exposure therapy showed a nearly equal and significant reduction in the symptoms of PTSD and significant improvement of mood, based on both the PCL-17 and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) administered at 6, 12, and 24 weeks. Additionally, the researchers found that when paired with the Yoga breathing, Exposure therapy, which can sometimes risk re-traumatizing certain individuals, did not have this effect and was well tolerated by the survivors. Both treatment groups showed about a 60% reduction in PTSD symptoms and about a 90% reduction in depression at both 6 and 24 weeks when compared to pre-intervention scores, indicating that the eight-hour Yoga breathing intervention, which was taught in two-hour segments over four days, was effective, whether paired with exposure therapy or not.
The Yoga breathing intervention was the Breath Water Sound (BSW) program combined with a 10-minute Sudharshan Kriya. This combination includes four breathing techniques: three-stage Ujjayi (Victorious Breath), Bhastrika (Bellows breath), chanting Om and Sudharshan Kriya, which is a varied pattern of rhythmic breathing developed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation and co-founder (along with the Dali Lama) of the non-profit organization IAHV, which helped set up, supported and managed the refugee camps.
As the authors make clear, “The marked changes in the two treatment groups compared with the control group suggest that the breath practices used in BSW enhanced with Sudharshan Kriya may provide rapid and significant reduction in symptoms of PTSD and depression, improvements in quality of life and sustainability of these benefits.”
To view the abstract, click here:
Using Yoga in the Treatment Room
To read the latest article by Amy Weintraub, “Take a Breath: Using Yoga to create a sense of well-being in your office” in the current March/April issue of Psychotherapy Networker:
Two New Studies Show TM Reduces Depression
The studies, conducted at Charles Drew University in Los Angeles and University of Hawaii in Kohala included African Americans and Native Hawaiians, 55 years and older, who were at risk for cardiovascular disease. 113 participants were randomly allocated to the Transcendental Meditation program or health education control group, and assessed with a standard test for depression-the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D) inventory over 9-12 months.
Participants in both studies who practiced the Transcendental Meditation program showed significant reductions in depressive symptoms compared to health education controls. The largest decreases were found in those participants who had indications of clinically significant depression, with those practicing Transcendental Meditation showing an average reduction in depressive symptoms of 48%.
The results are significant given recent research which indicates that depression is a risk factor in cardiovascular disease. “The importance of reducing depression in the elderly at risk for heart disease cannot be overestimated,” said Gary P. Kaplan MD PhD, Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology NYU School of Medicine. “Any technique not involving extra medication in this population is a welcome addition.”
The studies were presented at the 31st Annual Meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in Seattle, Washington April 9th, 2010.
For more information, contact Ken Chawkin
NEWS: Be the Welcoming!
A LifeForce Yoga® Thanksgiving Retreat
in Tucson with Amy Weintraub
Assisted by Rose Kress
Yoga Alliance CEUs
November 26 – 29th, 2010
How can we welcome and respond to all that life brings with a peaceful mind and a courageous heart?
Deviasana Outside at Retreat
We’ve scheduled our first of what we hope will be an annual Thanksgiving LifeForce Yoga Retreat on sacred ground in the Tucson Mountains. Together, we’ll remove the obstacles that keep us prisoners of our adaptions, reacting to life in the same ways because they used to work. We’ll laugh, meditate, laugh, practice yoga and pranayama, laugh, hike the trails of Sagauro National Park, laugh, and remember who we really are and why we’re here on this planet now. Clear a little inner space so that whatever you wish to manifest more fully in your life has room to grow. All activities are optional. Whether you’re a longtime Yoga practitioner or brand new to Yoga, you are welcome to join us at the Desert Redemptorist Renewal Center.
To register and for more information:
NEWS: Yoga Teacher Training with Amy Weintraub
Although Amy’s training programs in LifeForce Yoga® for Depression and Anxiety are for those who are already certified as Yoga teachers and for mental health professionals, she is often asked to teach a basic level yoga teacher training or a yoga therapy teacher training. Here is your opportunity to earn certification in two Yoga Teaching programs, the first of which requires only a love for and a regular practice of yoga; the second of which brings those who are already teaching yoga to the next level, certifying them as yoga therapists. Both programs offer a nationally-recognized faculty of Yoga professionals, researchers and therapists.
The first program is a 200-hour yoga teacher training at a beautiful studio in coastal Delaware that meets in two 13-day modules. Amy joins Harvard researcher and Yogi Sat Bir Khalsa and senior Kripalu teachers Rudy Peirce, Larissa Carlson and Ed Harrold to offer The Whole Self Yoga Teacher Training.
This training provides the knowledge, skill and personal development so that you may offer an environment of physical and emotional safety for your students. You will learn the latest research and practices for teaching to the issues of weight-loss, inflexible athletes, depression and anxiety. Bring your love for yoga and the faculty will help you develop the skills to teach yoga with your intuitive gifts.
2 – 13 day modules
April 18 – 30 and June 27 – July 9, 2010.
For more information, visit: www.ComfortZoneYogaCenter.com
The second program is a 300-hour yoga therapy certification offered by Inner Peace Yoga Therapy that takes place at a beautiful mountain retreat center outside Asheville, N.C. in two modules: Nov 6 – 19, 2010 and January 30 – February 12, 2012. With 30 hours of home-study, and a previous 200-hour certification, this program qualifies for a 500-hour Yoga Alliance certification.
Amy Weintraub, along with other esteemed yoga therapist trainers, including Shar Lee, Marc Halpern, Nischala Joy Devi, Neil Pearson, Antonio Sausys, and Durga, will be teaching in the yoga therapy certification program that offers yoga teachers and health care professionals the tools they need to help individuals with health challenges manage their condition, reduce symptoms, restore balance, increase vitality, and improve attitude. Topics include Structural Yoga, Ayurveda and Yoga Therapy, Adapting Yoga for Heart Disease, Yoga for Cancer, Yoga for Depression, and much more. Register before March 31 and save $200!
Lenox, MA (April 23 – 25, 2010)
Manage Your Mood with Food and LifeForce Yoga
Amy teaches with well-known nutrition reporter and author of the Food Mood Solution, Jack Challem,
Divine Center of Yoga
Dallas, TX (May 21 – 23, 2010)
LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood
This weekend will help you cultivate the compassionate inner space that allows you to embrace life’s challenges with a peaceful mind and a courageous heart.
Shambhala Mountain Center
Red Feather Lakes, CO (Jun 18 – 20, 2010)
LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood
This workshop will provide you with a wide variety of
powerful yet gentle natural tools to help you manage your mood.
Comfort Zone Yoga Center
Lewes, DE (Jul 2 – 4, 2010)
LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood
In this inspiring workshop, you will learn and practice breathing exercises, easy postures, guided meditations, and other experiential yogic tools for managing your mood that are not often taught in regular yoga classes.
Lenox, MA (Jul 9 – 16, 2010)
LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training for Depression & Anxiety Level 1
This is a certification training for yoga teachers and health professionals. Joining Amy as faculty are Richard Brown, MD and Patricia Gerbarg, MD, authors of How to Use Herbs, Nutrients and Yoga for Mental Health Care, as well as LifeForce Yoga Practitioners -Level 2, who are highly trained yoga and/or mental health professionals.
Rhinebeck, NY (Jul 23 – 25, 2010)
LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood
Amy leads us through an evidence-based practice that interweaves ancient wisdom with current research in neurobiology to help us release emotional blocks and manage our mood. We will leave feeling refreshed and renewed, with ancient strategies to revitalize our practice and manage our mood. Health professionals and yoga teachers learn techniques they can use to help their clients focus, relax, and have greater access to their feelings.
Cape Cod Institute
Eastham, MA (Aug 16 – 20, 2010)
LifeForce Yoga®: Empower Your Clients to Manage Their Moods
This workshop is designed for all level of mental health and Yoga practitioners, including beginners. Every day will include easy and accessible movement, yogic breathing, and meditation or guided relaxation. Along with didactic components and practice, the format will include emotional process from a Yogic perspective in dyads and small groups.