Issue 57: Summer Reading Issue

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Ahhhhhh! Here we are, summer at last. No research this time. Just a couple of book recommendations as you settle into the hammock. If you’re feeling stressed, despite the good weather, make time for leisure every day, even if you’re not on vacation. How about a few minutes for a pranayama breathing practice outside, or an outdoor concert, or a walk with a friend? Pause to appreciate the feeling of sunlight on your shoulders, the sight of your world a little greener than it was a week ago, the taste of the fresh produce you bought at your local farmer’s market, the scent of jasmine or roses on your morning walk, or the sound of music on the green, or the beach or in your own backyard. As the to-do list shrinks, you might wish to catch up on a new novel (my favorite this year was Goldfinch by Donna Tart), or one of the books we’ve reviewed here—how yoga can help OCD, how it can support you through a time of grief, and how it can offset the stress of being a performing artist. I hope to see you at Kripalu this summer, or at the Cape Cod Institute, or up in Canada!

 

Review: OCD Relief Now: Yoga for OCD, Anxiety & Depression by Boris Pisman61QwDBZQSPL

Boris Pisman is an experienced psychotherapist and yoga and meditation teacher, who writes a user-friendly manual of self-observing exercises that may lead to a greater awareness and therefore a dis-identification with obsessive thoughts.  He offers three basic techniques: 1} a body scan relaxation exercise 2) basic instruction in deep belly breathing and 3) a simple thought-observing meditation that does not rely on concentration, but rather on an open-focused awareness of thoughts.  In short separate chapters, Pisman moves through ten categories of OCD—from hoarding to sexual obsession to health anxiety and discusses panic attacks and depression related to obsessive thinking.  He briefly introduces a clinical example, then discusses the thoughts common to those who suffer from that variation of OCD.  His message is the same for each category:  Your obsessive thoughts are not unique to you, and given your condition, your thoughts make sense.  His recommendation is to stay in awareness of your thoughts, neither engaging them, nor trying to eliminate them.  He recognizes that anxiety will arise as you change the way you relate to your obsessive thoughts and suggests giving space to the anxious feelings.

This is a non-judging approach to working with all kinds of negative thoughts that often cause feelings of shame and harsh inner-criticism in the thinker.  Pisman understands that and encourages those suffering from OCD to accept that they have a condition that makes them think in certain ways, and to not judge themselves for their thoughts.  It may be inspiring to read such a book that can normalize thoughts that intrude, once one has an understanding of one’s particular form of OCD.  For this reason, I would recommend OCD Relief Now.

However, there are many other yoga-based strategies that we have found helpful for those suffering from OCD.  For some, the act of simply watching the thoughts can make symptoms worse.  There are a range of mudras, mantras and pranayama breathing exercises that can provide relief by anchoring the mind in the moment, and, over time, reducing intrusive thoughts throughout the day.  For example, after the daily practice of the LIfeForce Yoga Chakra Clearing Meditation, a LifeForce Yoga Practitioner who herself suffers from “checking” OCD, no longer has to spend ten minutes pulling back and forth in her driveway, worried about what she didn’t turn off, or what she might have forgotten to pack for her day of teaching.  Another LFYP, a psychologist specializing in OCD, finds great relief in the practice of brahmari bee breath.   While the message of acceptance is important, I think this book would have benefited from a broader range of practices to address the overly-active and anxious mind of some people who suffer from OCD and cannot tolerate this open-focused, awareness form of meditation.

Again, if you suffer from OCD, reading about your own condition may go a long way towards reducing shame and increasing your sense of self-acceptance.  I would suggest reading this book, and if the practices suggested aren’t sufficient to relieve your suffering, move on to other practices.

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Review: Yoga for Grief Relief by Antonio Sausys, Foreward by Lyn Prasant

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Grief that is unexpressed, denied, avoided, does not disappear.  As the author of this passionate, personal and universally applicable book knows firsthand, when we deny grief, it shows up “with pristine clarity” in the body.  Out of author Antonio Sausy’s own journey through grief, supported by grief counselor Lyn Prashant who inspired him to create a yoga practice to address the ways grief was showing up in his body, he developed a holistic practice called “Yoga for Grief Relief.”  This practice, along with Sausy’s training as a psychotherapist, his understanding of neuroscience and his training as a yoga therapist form the basis of this excellent and easy-to-read and follow book.

In the first chapter of Yoga for Grief Relief, Sausys takes us through the current psychological understanding of grief and the mourning process.  He provides a map for mourners and for those of us who love and serve them that includes the stages of grief and clear charts that illustrate the physical emotional and behavioral symptoms of grief.  The section on the malleability of the brain and its ability to change gives the reader hope that the practices he will introduce can not only stem the tide of grief, but can actually change the brain’s anatomy.

This is not just a set of practices.  Sausys doesn’t back away from yoga philosophy and the foundational approach yoga provides for our understanding of human suffering.  Rather than complicate the picture, his section on yoga philosophy clarifies our relationship to grief, primarily by sorting out the yoga view of attachment from the Western view of attachment theory.  Sausys includes a clear discussion of the Chakra system, which he offers as a diagnostic tool—our physical symptoms in the grieving process could indicate areas in the body mind where our energy is blocked by grief.

Before he dives into the practices themselves, Sausys gives us an overview of the sadhana he developed that includes breathing practices (pranayama), postures (asanas), emotional release techniques (sharkarma), self-relaxation, intention-setting (sankalpa), and meditation.  He encourages the reader to establish a regular practice and addresses the barriers to doing just that.

The practices are simple and easy to do, and, as they start in a supine position, you can even begin them in bed.  There are a number of joint warm-ups that gently get the body moving and the energy flowing.  The core of the physical practice is called the Windmill, and Sausy encourages sound, that, when combined with movement can provide both a physical, emotional and energetic release of repressed feeling. There are clear instructions with pictures for breathing practice, gazing practice, relaxation, intention setting and meditation.

Sausys discusses the obstacles to practice and provides suggestions for overcoming them in a section called, “Designing the Logistical Aspects of Your Practice.” He looks at the common questions you may have, like where and when to practice; the benefits of working with a yoga professional, or working alone with a DVD, or in a group setting or one-on-one.

The final section walks us through yoga-based self-inquiry that can help the reader re-establish a firm sense of identity beyond the significant loss.  This is as important, in my opinion, as the mat based practices, because it is here that we begin to differentiate and integrate the deeper lessons of yoga—who we are beneath our stories, beneath our grief, beneath our attachments.  As we begin to perceive the difference between love and attachment, we open to connect in meaningful ways with others that can keep love flowing in our lives.  That flow is made possible by clearing the constrictions in the physical and emotional bodies through the Yoga for Grief Relief sadhana described in this book.

Order a copy now!

 

Review: Mindfulness & Grief: with Guided Meditations to Calm Your Mind and Restore Your Spirit by Heather Stang41rNMMberXL

Reviewed by Rose Kress, ERYT-500, LFYP-2, LFY Educator.  Rose is certified in Hatha Yoga at the 500-hour level, has undergone training in Yoga therapy, and is a LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Level 2, Mentor and Educator. Rose teaches LifeForce Yoga classes, private sessions, and workshops throughout the Tucson area and has been blessed to teach classes at The Crossings in Austin, TX, Kripalu in Lenox, MA, and Sivananda Ashram in The Bahamas with Amy Weintraub. She has also taught LifeForce Yoga classes at several Yoga conferences in the state of Arizona. Rose is the Program & Education Director of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute and regularly assists Amy at both the Level 1 and Level 2 LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Trainings.

In Mindfulness & Grief, Stang presents an 8-week program for approaching your grief mindfully. This program teaches the reader how mindfulness-based techniques can ease physical symptoms of grief, calm the mind and support regulation of emotions, increase present moment awareness and compassion towards yourself and others, help the reader to make meaning from loss, and develop a new “self-narrative for moving forward.” Stang shares that grief is not an illness, but a “natural part of life that causes us to experience suffering.” Mindfulness practices help us to ease and sometimes eliminate suffering.

Each chapter, or week, in Mindfulness & Grief introduces a new theme, meditation and journaling exercises. There is even a Daylong Retreat included between weeks four and five. The reader is encouraged to set aside 20 to 90 minutes each day for practice and to be gentle with oneself, as there is no right or wrong way to practice. Stang uses Buddhist psychology as the basis for mindfulness. Readers are given a brief history of the Buddha’s life and the Four Noble truths, but the reader is assured that all faiths are welcome as mindfulness is not a spiritual or religious practice. Stang spends time laying the foundation for the practice of mindfulness with preparing a space for practice, how to sit, and setting up a journal. Each week includes a story from a student who has experienced the 8-week program. The chapters are filled with practices, like three-part breath, becoming aware of the senses, breath meditation, relaxation techniques, loving-kindness meditations, to name a few examples.

Mindfulness & Grief is about more than just developing a meditation practice. Stang spends time supporting the reader through reframing the experience of loss and suffering. The first five chapters focus on establishing the practice of mindfulness, while paying attention to the needs of the grieving individual. The following chapters focus on transforming barriers, the process of making sense of loss and “rewriting your post-loss narrative.” For example, week seven is titled ‘Allowing Transformation: Who Am I Now?’ The focus on this chapter is supporting the practitioner through the change that happens as a result of loss, practice and the passage of time. Stang points out that it is not expected that you will have adapted to your loss by week seven, but “it is helpful to understand what you can expect from the grieving process as you continue.”

Perfect for the beginner, Stang offers instruction that is easy to follow and understand. This book is also appropriate for the experienced mindfulness practitioner as it provides a framework around using your established practice to work with grief and loss. It can be easy to drop practices that support us when we are experiencing loss and stress and Mndfulness & Grief gives an opportunity to re-enter practice at a slow pace. No matter your experience with meditation and/or mindfulness, Stang does a wonderful job of normalizing and supporting the grieving process. This is a great read for anyone, as we all experience loss in our lives.

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Review: A Wellness Handbook for the Performing Artist by Alena Gerst41BZHKWaOZL

Reviewed by Linda Mackay.  Linda was a professional actor for 15 years and too, changed direction in her career and is a clinical social worker. She discovered the seamless transference of skills as both professions work to illuminate and find true nature through the examination and exploration of the human potential. Linda has a long time yoga and meditation practice which led her to completing certification in LifeForce Yoga® Practitioner, level 2. She works at the University of Waterloo with students, staff and faculty as well as in private practice at The Space Within, in Stratford, Ontario Canada.

In Alena Gerst’s new book, A Wellness Handbook for the Performing Artist: The Performers Guide to Staying Healthy in Body, Mind, and Spirit, she reflects on her own journey as a professional performer – a triple threat: singer/dancer/actor, and acknowledges that “how the way (she) was living was unsustainable”. Alena draws on her own as well as other artists’ realizations, of the exceptional demands of living the life of a performer, on and off the stage.

Alena, is now a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a Registered Yoga Therapist, and a LifeForce Yoga Practitioner, working in both private practice and within the New York State Hospital system.  She offers the insight of experience, supported by well-researched holistic health and wellness wisdom, and an in-depth training in therapeutic yoga.

The appeal of A Wellness Handbook for the Performing Artist is that it not only gives specific examples of the challenges of being a performing artist, such as constant rejection, financial insecurity and the physical and emotional exertion of the work,  but it offers concrete guidance to help a performer create a healthy balance over the lifetime of a career.

Despite having intense training in voice and movement, awareness of breath, focusing on strength and flexibility of muscle and tissue, performers are, at times, sorely lacking in awareness and education of health. The instabilities of the profession, in and of themselves, create barriers to healthy living. Given that many performers begin training and enter their professions at a young age, they are as vulnerable to beliefs of invincibility as any other sample of young people. I work at a university and see first-hand how this plays out in regards to the health and wellness of the average university student.

 A Wellness Handbook for the Performing Artist provides performers at any age, a bridge to change. Alena includes brief overviews of the science behind the importance of the sometimes overlooked basics: good nutrition, sleep, healthy care of the body and emphasizes the importance of rest and recovery time.

The repetitive nature of the use of the body as a performer, whether it is the actor bearing the weight of a heavy costume or drawing a sword from the belt 30 times a day in rehearsal or in 8 consecutive shows a week; or the musician practicing several hours a day, with neck crooked into violin; or the dancer sustaining long sequences requiring strength and precision, landing her body again and again and again… makes injury inevitable. Ideally, performers readily utilize chiropractic, massage, physiotherapy and acupuncture and Alena stresses the importance of educating the health care providers in their circle of care about their professional demands. The Stratford Festival of Canada, that has a repertory company of over 120 actors, singers and dancers, actively recruits a host of medical and holistic practitioners who have an experienced understanding and training in treating the whole performer, much like professional athletes do. Sadly, outside of these unique companies, the often underemployed performer, may have little access to such expert and essential health care.

The rigors and competitiveness of a performing career, can cultivate a disciplined and committed work ethic. The other side of this coin, is the performer’s inability to respond compassionately to their own needs and limits. This not only increases the risk of physical injury but of emotional instability. Alena addresses the still rampant stigma of mental health challenges of depression and anxiety and the signs and symptoms to monitor. She refers to the performer’s vulnerability to stage fright and low self-esteem, where perfectionistic standards are the conditions of self-worth. She wisely advises that timely medical assessment, appropriate treatment and counseling, as well as healthy relational supports, are essential in protecting and preventing mental health illnesses.

Alena acknowledges the teachers who have illuminated her path to a fulfilling second career as a mental health and wellness professional. As she has been guided to bring balance to body, mind and spirit, so she now guides others. Performers of all ages will recognize themselves in this book and be inspired to take action, to dare to do things differently. Alena reminds us that the biggest lessons of all, which are inherently cultivated in the practices of yoga, meditation and other healing arts, are love, compassion, and permission to bring the vast breadth of our humanness into harmony.  This is a manual for healthy living, whether or not you live the intense life of a performing artist.

Order a copy now!

 

MEDIA MENTION: Body Mind Restoration: Relaxation, Peace and Restoration by Lara Eisenberg, M.A. Ed.M. CDlara32

LFYP Lara Eisenberg as released a yoga nidra cd. She leads the practice of Integrative Restoration as taught by Richard Miller. The track Coming Home is the practice of iRest and integrates the body, mind and spirit. Finding Safety Within offers intention setting, heart’s prayer, inner resource work, body sensing, and breath sensing and well-being. This is another wonderful addition to your Yoga Nidra library. To order and for more information: www.mybodymindwellness.com.

 

 

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What People Say

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