Issue 32 – Special Research Edition

Report from Haridwar, India

This is a special edition of the LifeForce Yoga for Depression Newsletter. I am writing you from Patanjali University & Yogpeeth in Haridwar, India where we have just concluded “Yoga for Health and Social Transformation-the First International Conference.” I will be summarizing the research presented on Yoga and mental health below, and providing a brief mention of other important findings on the efficacy of Yoga treatment for diabetes, breast cancer survival rates, post-operative recovery from heart surgery, weight loss, and many other disorders.

On the opening night of Conference, the “chief guest” and keynote speaker was the incomparable Mr. B.K.S. Iyengar, who brought Yoga asana practice to the West. At 93, his speech, given without notes, vibrated with energy and clarity. In the brief review of his life, he spoke of how he was brought to Krishnamacharya at age thirteen, sickly and weak, after spending a year in bed with tuberculosis. He said that because breathing deeply exacerbated his condition, Krishnamacharya gave him a practice without pranayama. This has answered an old question I and many others have had about Mr Iyengar’s reluctance to teach pranayama before a student has mastered asana.

During the closing ceremonies, our hosts Swami Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna addressed the delegates and gave out prizes for award-winning presentations. Swami Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, the spiritual leader of the Isha Foundation gave a brief talk and led a resonating chant.

Namaste from Mother India, the Home of Yoga,
Amy

RESEARCH: TELLES ON KAPALABHATI AND PTSD

Shirley Telles, Ph.D., Director of the Patanjali Research Foundation and author of over 120 research articles in peer reviewed journals, presented an overview of her current research. I will mention two recent studies, the first still in press.

Dr. Telles began her inquiry with an important question: Would kapalabhati (skull shining breath, characterized by forceful quick exhalations and passive inhalations, bring more blood flow to the brain during practice, putting those with a predisposition at a higher risk for stroke? What she found was that there is actually a reduction in blood volume during the optimum practice, of one exhalation per second, or sixty breaths per minute. Following the practice, the blood flow returns to normal and in fact, hemoglobin (the amount of oxygen in the blood) actually increases. Oxygenating the blood is beneficial to numerous health conditions. In addition, as compared to the control group which practiced breath awareness, perception, motor skills and attention increased in the kapalabhati group. (Psychological Reports)

In a randomized controlled study, PTSD symptoms were reduced, self-esteem increased and heart rate variability (HRV) was elevated in Bihar flood survivors following 45 days of Yoga practice as compared to a wait-listed control group. Biomed Central Psychiatry, 10(1):18

Dr. Telles and her colleagues at the Patanjali Research Foundation have published nearly twenty studies this year, not including another kapalabhati study in press designed by Dr, Telles and researcher Nilkamal Singh. Included in published research are studies on leptin levels after Yoga practice (a factor in obesity), neuroticism, anxiety, and rheumatoid arthritis. [2011, in Press]

RESEARCH: KHALSA ON YOGA IN THE SCHOOLS

Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Ph.D., Director of Research for the Kundalini Research Institute, Research Director for the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, with Dr. Shirley Telles, helped to plan the Conference presentations. Dr. Khalsa reviewed the increase in depression and suicide rates among children, particularly adolescents. He described a number of programs in which Yoga is being implemented in public schools, and the evidence suggesting improved mood, self-esteem, and better emotional regulation. He reviewed his current research at a public high school in Massachusetts where Physical Education students were randomly divided into regular PE classes or Kripalu Yoga classes and attended 2-3 times a week. Over the course of the semester, the control group showed an increase in negative mood states in all measured categories while the Yoga group maintained baseline scores or improved.

RESEARCH: BERNARDI ON BREATH AND DIABETES

Luciano Bernardi, M.D. of the University of Pavia, Italy and currently visiting professor at the University of Helsinki Finland, whose research on the effects of manta chanting I included in Yoga for Depression, provided an overview of efficient breathing practice during exercise before reporting on his most current research on diabetes. Shortness of breath is deconditioning and worsens heart failure. Training to breathe slowly at rest, as Yoga practice encourages, improves shortness of breath during exercise and therefore improves the symptoms of heart failure. Thus training in slow oga breathing, as demonstrated in his now-famous 2006 study of climbers scaling Everest who showed fewer effects from altitude sickness when compared to untrained climbers, supports higher blood oxygen content, autonomic nervous system regulation and posture.

Because patients suffering from diabetes-I have lower levels of oxygen in the blood and Yoga increases oxygenation, he wondered if pranayama would benefit diabetics. His research showed that indeed, the diabetes group practicing Yoga breathing improved oxygenation, postural control and parasympathetic response.

RESEARCH: ANAND ON SUDHARSHAN KRIYA, PRANA-YOGA AND NEW MEASUREMENT TECHNOLOGY

Sneh Anand, Ph.D., of the Indian Institute of Technology (the MIT of India) reported on the neuro-cardio pulmonary efficacy of both Prana Yoga and Sudharshan Kriya, using ECG and other objective measurements, as well as subjective psychosocial self-reporting measures. Both groups showed a shift in frequency and higher gamma power in frontal, central and some temporal regions of the brain, indicative of higher cognitive functioning. Both groups also showed higher cardiac autonomic tone, but only the the Sudharshan Kriya group showed statistically significant reduction on subjective measurements of anger, depression and a significant increase in life style and stress management skills.

As an engineer, Dr. Anand is developing new measurement tools to track blood flow and other parameters. For example, she has a simple headset that may replace all the attachment points of ECG. She spoke informally of her experiments, and says that she is finding that blood flow increases to the pineal gland area with the practice of ajna chakra meditation (imagining light at the brow point). While this is exciting to contemplate-does this mean meditating on vissudhi chakra (throat) might increase blood flow to the thyroid? Meditating on anahat (heart) chakra could increase blood flow to the thymus gland?-the measurements have not yet been corroborated.

RESEARCH: SAPER ON LOW BACK PAIN

Robert Saper, M.D., M.P.H., Director of the Integrative Medicine program at the Boston Medical Center and a professor at Boston University, presented evidence for the efficacy of Yoga for low back pain. There were several aspects of this study that addressed the psychological dimensions of low back pain. People suffering from the condition often exhibit fear/avoidance behaviors, limiting their movements, which can make the condition worse. In remaining sedentary, muscles can atrophy and weight gain can place additional stress on the area of pain. Untreated low back pain reduces GABA levels, a neurotransmitter (when low) implicated in depression.

One aspect of the study that I found especially interesting was the way in which Dr. Saper developed the Yoga protocol so as to make it consistent and replicable. He and his colleagues reviewed all the literature on Yoga and back pain and then convened a panel of Yoga experts from Iyengar, Anusara, Kripalu and Hatha traditions who also reviewed the literature before designing the Yoga classes.

The second aspect of his study that was commendable was that he targeted an underserved minority population that would not otherwise have access to Yoga. The outcome was favorable in that the Yoga group showed a significant reduction in back pain, a decreased reliance on pain medication along with positive mood changes.

Finally, a third aspect of his future research that I find noteworthy is the care he is exhibiting for his subjects. He has funds to expand the study and to this time conduct a one year follow-up. He became aware that after the study was completed, a number of study participants had no access to Yoga in their communities and so most had stopped practicing. In the next round, he will make community classes available on a weekly basis to study participants after the completion of the study. This added element can potentially provide follow-up longitudinal data on this underserved population.

RESEARCH: INNES ON WOMEN’S HEALTH

Epidemiologist Kim Innes, MSPH, Ph.D., associate professor at West Virginia University and the University of Virginia, has completed seven studies, funded by a NIHCCAM grant that looked at the effects of Yoga for as an intervention for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and other conditions in postmenopausal women and older adults. She’s also investigating the application and usefulness of Yoga for adults with cognitive impairment (and their caregivers), osteoarthritis, and other related diseases. Although she was testing for other improvements like balance and gait, she included psycho-social measurements in her studies and in all cases, she found improvements in mood and sleep and a reduction of stress.

RESEARCH: COHEN ON CANCER

Based on his previous research, Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., professor and Director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, Distinguished professor at Fudan University Cancer Hospital in Shanghai, and grandson of Yoga luminary Vanda Scarvelli, has received a 4.5 million dollar grant from NIH to fund a large randomized controlled Yoga study with women with cancer. His current research has been based on the evidence that psychological stress is a predictor of mortality in breast cancer patients. In animal studies, mice injected with tumors fared better when given propanol to block the stress hormone norepinephrine as compared to mice without the block whose tumors metastasized. Based on the theory that Yoga also reduces norepinephrine and therefore strengthens immunity to stress, Dr. Cohen and his team used various Yoga styles, including Tibetan Yoga and protocols developed in collaboration with the Vivekananda Kendra in Bangalore. The findings validate his thesis. A decrease in depressive symptoms impacts long term survival rate in breast cancer.

His 2004 study used the Tibetan Yoga protocol with lymphoma patients and found improvement in sleep disturbances, a reduction in dark thoughts and symptom reduction, post treatment. His 2010 study, in collaboration with Vivekananda Kendra, found a reduction in the stress hormone cortisol and an increase in “finding meaning in life” three months after the Yoga intervention. What is illuminating about this increase in “meaning” is that those who measured highest in “finding meaning in life” at three months, showed a higher incidence of intrusive thoughts at one month. This could indicate that Yoga allows and cultivates a welcoming attitude to all that’s arising, including negative and intrusive thoughts. Might it be possible that In the process of bringing the sludge to the surface, Yoga also encourages qualities of acceptance, balance and even joy? Could it be that those who remain in denial of their fears and fight to keep negative thoughts at bay may be contributing to their own psychological stress, which as stated above is a predictor of mortality among breast cancer patients?

RESEARCH: GANGADHAR ON SCHIZOPHRENIA

B.N. Gangadhar, M.B.B.S., M.D., professor of psychiatry and Medical Superintendent of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) spoke about the efficacy of yoga in better management of schizophrenia. Citing three randomized controlled studies he and his colleagues have done, two of which used exercise and a do-nothing group as controls, in all three studies the yoga group fared better. Negative symptoms dropped after yoga therapy far more than the group that practiced physical exercise. Yoga helped improve depression, social dysfunction and quality of life more than those who practiced exercise.

OTHER INTERESTING RESEARCH

MEDITATION

Elisa Harumi Kozasa, Ph.D., a psychobiologist and senior meditation researcher at the Universidade federal de San Paolo, Brazil, presented on the effect of training the mind in attention through meditation. She demonstrated how experienced meditators can pay sharp attention to a single object, and when doing so, they keep their brain-waves stabilized for a long time, when compared to non-meditators.

GLOBAL MEDICINE

Senior research and clinical dermatologist Terrance Ryan, D.M.,FRCP, emeritus at Oxford University, and Honorary President of the International Society of Dermatology, with over 600 publications to his credit, presented an astounding paper on the use of Ayurvedic treatment combined with Yoga to ameliorate the symptoms of lymphedema, a mosquito-borne disease affecting millions of people in India. Through gentle movements, pranayama and Ayurvedic herb soaks, the huge swelling of the legs (commonly known as elephantitis) is brought down to near normal proportions without surgical intervention, which can be severely disfiguring. Although Ayurveda addresses specific conditions, the whole mind/body/spirit of the individual is considered when developing treatment. In this case, the herb treatments prescribed were based on dosha type (Vata, pitta, kapha), and therefore varied. Yet despite variation, they all worked to reduce the extreme swelling of the lower extremities of the body.

POSTOPERATIVE PULMONARY

Harinder Singh Bedi, M.D., a cardiac surgeon at Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, Pujab, India, presented an impressive paper on the effects of a pranayama intervention taught to patients one week before undergoing heart surgery. His presentation included actual film of several heart surgeries, including that of a seven-year-old child. Those who received the daily pranayama training at the hospital were coached to practice upon emerging from anesthesia. The pranayama group recovered faster, had fewer complications and a decreased mortality rate.

ROTATOR CUFF

Loren Fishman, M.D., of Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York presented his on-going work, documenting the rotator cuff improvements of over 700 patients who have come to his orthopedic practice, usually expecting surgery. He teaches them an Iyengar headstand, using props where necessary. In one session of headstand, muscles realign so that pain is reduced and range of motion is dramatically increased. In long-term follow-up, the positive change is sustained. Apparently, the headstand teaches the muscles to shift to support better range of motion.

There were other papers, presentations, and posters that covered the pacifying effects of “aum” chanting on infants, Yoga in the management of ischemic heart disease, kapalabhati on heart rate variability and respiration, and many other topics

CONFERENCE NEWS: MUNRO ON LOWER BACK PAIN YOGA TOOL

Robin Munro, Ph.D., Founder and Director of the Yoga Biomedical Trust in England, has been a student of yoga for nearly fifty years and in that time has contributed to the applications of yoga in healthcare, through his trainings and research. His own research has focused on asthma, diabetes and low back pain. He spoke about the importance of assessing low back pain, so as not to exacerbate conditions through an improper application of Yoga asana. To that end, he has developed a computer program n assessment tool that he has made available to yoga teachers and therapists at www.CALBA.net.

CONFERENCE NEWS: AN OVERVIEW OF YOGA THERAPY IN INDIA

Naveen Viswewaraiah, BNYS, Ph.D., is Joint Director of Research at the Center for Advanced Research on Yoga and Neurophysiology. His talk presented an overview of the 14 colleges and 150 hospitals in India that use yoga therapy and naturopathy. He reviewed the programs and research contributed to the field by the Vivekananda Yoga Anusandha Samsthana (VYASA), which since the 1970’s has undertaken applied yoga research. This institution is the first Yoga university to have its publication, International Journal on Yoga indexed on Pubmed. This is also the institution where I first met Dr. Shirley Telles in 1993.

CONFERENCE NEWS: SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION

In addition to research, the Conference gave attention to the application of Yoga to underserved populations. Father Joseph Periera, founding director of the Kripa Foundtion, which for thirty years has treated and supported addicts and those suffering from HIV-AIDS, throughout India and at various treatment centers around the world, spoke of the integration of Iyengar Yoga into the 12-Step recovery program.

James Fox, founding director of the Prison Yoga Project and author of a manual for prisoners available to prisoners free-of-charge throughout the United States, spoke of his work inside the walls of San Quentin Prison in California. Although prison is a violent and dehumanizing place, James talked about the opportunity prisoners “with time on their hands” have for spiritual growth.

Krishna Kaur Khalsa, has been a Kundalini teacher for 40 years and a trainer of teachers for many of those years. As founding director of Y.O.G.A, she trains Yoga teachers and runs a program to serve urban and incarcerated youth. She spoke of the enormous global need to reach disaffected youth.

Leigh Blashki, director of training at the Australian Institute of Yoga and secretary of the Australian Association of Yoga Therapy, spoke of India’s great gifts in the form of Yoga and Ayurveda to the rest of the world and his organizations pioneering efforts in the development of training standards for Yoga teachers and Yoga therapists.

Jon Kepner, executive director of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, spoke of the organization’s mission to establish Yoga as a recognized and respected therapy. He addressed the question of how to keep “Yoga” in the growing business of Yoga Therapy.

I spoke about the integration of seated Yoga practices into psychotherapy in a clinical setting, acknowledging that Indians, with the strong emphasis on family values and tradition, grow up with a greater sense of belonging and a stronger sense of self than do we in the West, and therefore need and seek individual psychotherapy less often. Indians are more likely to seek out the guidance of their guru.

 

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“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
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“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
“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.
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“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
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“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
“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
“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.
“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
“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 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
“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.
“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
“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
“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
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“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
“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
“I gained perspective of who I am in the world and this will change my life significantly.” — Mary Ford, artist, Southport, CT
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“Words do not do justice to all that I learned. This workshop changed my life!” — Jen Nolan, Teacher, Cortland, NY
“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
“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 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
“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
“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
“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.
“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 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
“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
“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’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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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.)
“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
“I gained tools for working with my own depression and with my clients’ depressions.” — Robert Sgona, LCSW, RYT, psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, Camden, ME.
“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
“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
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