Research Newsletter Issue 61: Yoga and Mental Health Book Reviews

In this issue, we review several new books that are important in the field of yoga and mental health. Guest LifeForce Yoga Practitioner reviewers Anne Friedenheim, Ellen Campbell, and Sherry Rubin reviewed books by Rama Jyoti Vernon, the master yoga teacher, who has finally graced us with the wisdom of her many years of study and practice, Beth Gibbs, a senior teacher trainer in the Integrative Yoga Therapy Training Program, who writes two books—one for young children, and the other a manual for those who love them, and psychologist and meditation teacher Elisha Goldstein. I am honored to review the new book by Richard Miller, who despite his years of scholarship, clinical work and the depth of his study in yoga, writes an accessible meditation manual for those who have experienced trauma. Read the reviews, the books themselves, and then make time to play!

 

Review: The iRest Program for Healing PTSD by Richard Miller, PhD

downloadHere psychologist and master yoga and meditation teacher Richard Miller shares the “open secret” of a practice that in 1970 expanded his sense of ease and at-oneness with the world as it is. From that first encounter at the end of a yoga class, Miller understood that his life would include yoga nidra. As a yoga scholar, researcher and teacher, he has blazed a trail, introducing yoga nidra, renamed Integrative Restoration (iRest) to the military and into mental health treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The iRest system adapts a practice that has been in use for 4500 years for use in the treatment of PTSD as well as a multitude of other imbalances in the body-mind.

The iRest Program for Healing PTSD is written in the first person, as though spoken directly by a non-judging, compassionate teacher to “you.”  The “you,” of course, is anyone experiencing PTSD who may have no background or even interest in meditation.

There are 41 practice sessions, each building towards the next, and Miller suggests that readers record each guidance in their own voice and offers complete permission for the practitioner to change the words so it sounds as natural as possible.

In the excellent chapter that describes PTSD and how it develops, Miller includes a self-test for determining whether you are experiencing PTSD.  The next chapter defines iRest yoga nidra, includes current research on the efficacy of the protocol and outlines a 10-step method that Miller calls the 10 tools. Each of the tools can be practiced independently to address specific conditions, like, for example, insomnia, or combined for the full effect of “experiencing your wholeness.”

Miller outlines the core principles of iRest, which give the ten tools the power to heal.  He suggests, for example, that practice be “little and often.”  Even a few minutes of iRest every day can make a difference, reducing the symptoms.

Instructions include simple tools to work with negative feelings, thoughts and beliefs, using both meditation and writing exercises.  He contends, and research backs him up on this, that we begin to shift into more positive self-talk, simply by acknowledging and welcoming the negative.

For the yogin accustomed to reading about yoga nidra in the context of the kosha model and other yogic principles, you won’t find such language here.  Nor will the mental health professional find the language most familiar in describing treatment protocols.  Rather, the text flows without jargon or complicated philosophy, so that it directly meets the reader experiencing PTSD with words that begin to connect him to his wholeness, his unsullied sense of Self, beneath the story and the mood.  In Miller’s words, “Joy is always present, waiting to be experienced in the midst of what is, no matter what is,” even if what is happens to be the symptoms of PTSD.

Compliments to the developmental editor, poet, iRest and LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Jami Macarty, who helped make Richard Miller’s elegant and sometimes esoteric concepts that are the foundation of yoga nidra, fully accessible to the reader who may not be drawn to yogic philosophy.

Although written for the person experiencing PTSD, the book is a manual of an ancient but only recently explored PTSD treatment protocol that all those who serve this population will want to read.  To purchase a copy of The iRest Program for Healing PTSD, please click here.

 

Review: Yoga: The Practice of Myth and Sacred Geometry by Rama Jyoti Vernon

Ann FriedenheimReviewed by Ann Friedenheim, M.S., L.P.C., RYT, LFYP-2.  Ann is a psychotherapist, Kripalu Yoga teacher and practitioner of LifeForce Yoga®.  She has been very fulfilled to be able to incorporate yoga into her work with children and adults in community agencies and now, in her private practice in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Yoga: The Practice of Myth and Sacred Geometry by Rama Jyoti Vernon provides an experience similar to a long yoga retreat where the kindness, technical information, philosophy, enthusiasm, experience and transmission of wisdom flows from the teacher in  every interaction.   Drawing from a lifetime dedicated to the study, practice, teaching and living of yoga, Jyoti Vernon, a respected and accomplished yoga pioneer, offers us  a reading experience that is busting at the seams with history, philosophy, theory and practice.

The beginning of this text is divided into several chapters, leading with in-depth  discussion about the meaning of yoga, the symbolism and significance of the spine, the deeper meaning of asana, the importance and approach to pranayama,  and the importance of honoring one’s own practice (Svadharma). While these initial chapters are only 32 pages, it is not an “easy read.” Rama Joyti Vernon imbues each idea, sentence and paragraph with an integration of ancient texts, quotes from her own teachers, Sanskrit scholarship and clearly a life of committed practice.  Her love of yoga lifestyle and dedication to her students shines through her writing.   But this felt sense does not stand alone.  Simultaneously, she meets the mark as an intellectual scholar, who has taken the time to integrate multiple forms of gathering information. This enables her to distill complex ideas with many levels of meaning and to communicate them clearly to the average reader. It’s as though she’s piercing through the koshas (sheaths) of existence through her writing, taking the reader deeper and deeper to the ultimate understanding of Self.

In the second part of the text, Jyoti Vernon provides a very thorough discussion and of 57 asanas. She divides this section of the book into two asana flows. For eachdownload (1) asana she discusses a philosophical introduction, preparation for the orientation of the posture, very clear steps of execution, and psychophysiological benefits.  Within this chapter is also included information about koshas, pranayama, mudras and chakras as these elements manifest within each asana.

Vernon introduces postures from a symbolic point of view so that the deeper representation of the posture is made clear.  She then helps the reader understand the process of creating the posture, the key points on which to focus and the way to breath into the posture to make it a doorway into the Self.  She instructs in a way that allows the student to understand that yoga is a personal process that will express itself differently from person to person and even practice to practice. She does, however, pay particular attention to the key teaching/guidance points to provide a safe and self aware practice.  Her explanations and guidance of the asanas are a wonderful balance of technical instruction, philosophical background, understanding of benefits and spiritual process.  Wow!

To complete the teaching included in Yoga: The Practice of myth and Sacred Geometry, Rama Jyoti Vernon provides appendices which include short chapters on topics such as: creative sequencing, as it incorporates intentionality about the nervous and endocrine systems; practicing yama and niyama; understanding the 5 koshas; the 5 pranas and the bhandas.  Again Vernon provides clear discussion about complex ideas in a way that is informative and thought provoking.  She invites the student and the teacher to allow the Divine to manifest through them both, and to open to the subtle bodies and felt sense of the practice.

Yoga: The Practice of Myth and Sacred Geometry is the kind of book that a yoga student and teacher will refer to again and again as a source of knowledge, creativity and inspiration.  If it is possible to transmit subtle energy teachings through the written word, then this book is certainly an example.  This text is a seminal work and a must have for any student or teacher serious about their study and practice.  To purchase a copy of Yoga: The Practice of Myth and Sacred Geometry, click here.

 

Review: Ogi Bogi, the Elephant Yogi and Wake up, Relax and Pay Attention with Yoga by Elizabeth Gibbs

Ellenyoga3Reviewed by Ellen Campbell.  Ellen is a LifeForce Yoga Level I practitioner in Tucson, Arizona.  She teaches yoga to children and adults and is author of the Youthful Yogis Blog.

Integrative Yoga Therapist and teacher trainer Elizabeth Gibbs is clearly an individual whose compassion and understanding of children runs deep.  In her book, Ogi Bogi, the Elephant Yogi, Ms. Gibbs introduces young readers to a kindly elephant named Ogi Bogi who lives in “Innerville,” a land that children can come to when they want to feel safe.  Adults will recognize Innerville as a metaphor for compassionate self-awareness, but children will experience it as a magical land where their emotions and concerns are honored and accepted.

As Ogi Bogi travels through Innerville, she comes into contact with children from a variety of cultural backgrounds, each of whom are experiencing particular challenges: Bob has a quick temper and wants to get along better with his peers, Sunee from Thailand is in a wheelchair, Raheem has difficulty breathing as a result of asthma. Ogi Bogi greets each child with an open heart and offers techniques from the ancient tradition of yoga to address the specific challenges they are facing.

ogi1Ogi Bogi the Elephant Yogi is written for children in grades 3-5. While the story of the kindly elephant making her way through Innerville may resonate with a slightly younger audience, the techniques that Ms. Gibbs shares, with bold illustrations and clear and precise wording, will surely be engaging and inspiring to youngsters of all ages.  The book highlights the challenges and concerns that children face everyday, and-most importantly-accepts these challenges in a sensitive, non-judgmental fashion. Ogi Bogi offers time-honored techniques to address a variety of situations: half sun salutes are described as a way to awaken energy, mudras help quiet the mind, twists and forward folds can be calming. Additionally, partner poses are introduced as a way to learn to work with others and simple breathing techniques and mantras (all in English) are offered as a way to focus the mind and to balance both sides of the brain.

Youngsters can certainly enjoy Ogi Bogi, the Elephant Yogi on their own, but Ms. Gibbs has also written a companion manual to help teachers, parents and caregivers integrate the practice of yoga into home or work settings.  Wake Up, Relax and Pay Attention with Yoga expands upon the themes shared in Ogi Bogi and provides additional exercises and techniques that can be applied to a variety of classroom, after school, summer program and home settings.

The main body of Ms. Gibb’s companion manual Wake Up, Relax and Pay Attention with Yoga is titled “Postures & Practice, Instructions & Illustrations.” The postures and practices are divided into four sections, each with it’s own theme or focus (active movement and breathing, passive movement and breathing, focus and attention, listening and cooperation.) The sections begin with an overview of the poses and practices to be discussed, and include illustrations as well as a brief verbal description of the benefits that children may receive: a seated forward fold calms the nervous system and “tall mountain pose with sun breath” energizes the body while exercising the arms and shoulders, as examples.   The author has structured the manual nicely in that adults can easily look through each overview to find activities that are relevant to their particular situation or setting.

ogi2Following each overview, Ms. Gibbs offers a more detailed description of the poses and practices listed. There is enough information but not too much, and this provides a welcome respite from the information overload that most of us face on a daily basis. Ms. Gibbs thoughtfully explains the focus of every pose, activity or practice; instructions and contraindications are listed and illustrations are provided. There is also a “how did it go?” heading with follow-up questions to help enrich the adult’s understanding of the activity.  Finally, “yoga notes” provide readers with additional tidbits of interesting information (“…it makes sense to think of the brain as a muscle that needs regular exercise to function optimally. Developing a balance between the left and right hemispheres of the brain helps with physical balance and the improved functioning of the brain.” P.79).

Wake up, Relax and Pay Attention is a wonderful resource for adults who are new to yoga, as well as for those who have been involved with the practice. The author offers suggestions for planning yoga lessons and also shares information that even experienced yogis may find illuminating. An example of this is the fact that children may be reluctant to block off their nostrils for certain breathing practices. With this insight, Ms. Gibbs provides a “left side/ right side body breathing exercise” that offers the benefits of alternate nostril breathing without touching the hands to the face (p.88).

Elizabeth Gibbs has provided us with two wonderful books. Her sensitivity towards children shines brightly in Ogi Bogi, the Elephant Yogi, where the character of a gentle elephant instructs readers in yoga while lovingly shedding light upon the concerns and emotions of daily life. The companion manual, Wake up, Relax and Pay Attention, augments the practices introduced in Ogi Bogi and provides an excellent resource for adults interested in incorporating a variety of yoga techniques into school, camp and home settings. The books can be purchased separately or as a pair. For more information about Ms. Gibb’s work, and to order books, please visit her website.

 

 

Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion by Elisha Goldstein, PhD

Sherry RubinReviewed by Sherry G Rubin, LCSW, E-RYT, LFYP-II.  Sherry lives in Chester County, PA where she has a private psychotherapy practice and teaches yoga classes and workshops specifically designed to reduce stress and manage moods.

Yes, mindfulness has come of age, its usefulness and validity supported by mountains of data.  There’s a proliferation of resources to help us practice, learn about, and utilize mindfulness, so why another book?  Because this one offers a framework that synthesizes and integrates the science into an easy read and very user friendly package for the professional and the lay person;  clinicians and teachers wildownload (2)l want to recommend it to their clients and students.

This book contains clear findings from hundreds of academic studies, beginning with a description of the “depression loop.” The reader will be able to appreciate its appearance and predictability by identifying cues and reversing the bad habits that perpetuate the depression spiral.  In his framework he addresses five “natural antidepressants,” the first and the one most elaborated, being mindfulness.  He also writes about the importance of Self Compassion, Purpose, Play and Confidence or “Learning to Get Better and Better”.

I think this last of the five “natural anti-depressants” is particularly noteworthy as Goldstein pulls together very important research in the field of motivation and mastery done by Carol Dweck from Stanford University.  He uses Dweck’s research to describe two types of mindsets: fixed and growth.  With a fixed mindset, setbacks become expected, while with growth mindsets, a setback is used to learn and practice how to “get better and better,” thereby helping ourselves through and out of depressive slides.  Also noteworthy is how Goldstein summarized and applies Charles Duhigg’s information about habits and how to replace those that feed the depression loop with healthier, ultimately more satisfying ones.

In addition to describing each of these aforementioned five strategies for “uncovering Happiness” by developing our natural anti-depressant brain, Goldstein gives clear and simple examples of how to identify problems, and then offers specific practices to help the reader take action.  Each section offers instructions for how to identify, learn and practice what is presented.  The underlying message in every part of this book is one of hope–no matter who you are, in fact, because of who you are, experience now backed by science can show you the way to Uncover Happiness.  To purchase a copy of Uncovering Happiness, click here.

 

News: Kula for Karma

10931321_944974315520502_6505369348862714593_nKula for Karma, a nonprofit organization of volunteer yoga teachers that offers therapeutic yoga at no cost to populations that face physical and mental health challenges has received a $51,930 grant from The Healthcare Foundation of NJ (HFNJ) for 2015 programs to be launched at Barnabas Health in West Orange and Livingston, NJ. According to Executive Director, Penni Feiner, “with this grant, Kula for Karma will continue to realize our goal of ‘Changing the Face of Healthcare.’ Beginning in March, 2015 we will offer ten therapeutic yoga classes per week touching the lives of Cancer, Cardiac, Ms, Victims of Domestic Violence, patients, and CareGivers!” Patients will have access to therapeutic yoga and meditation classes, twice daily and free of charge. Through the use of both corporate and private funding, Kula builds unique healing yoga and meditation programs. Since its inception in 2007, Kula has launched over 300 programs in the New York area, touching the lives of over 3000 people.

We at LifeForce Yoga are proud of Penni, and Kula for Karma’s founder, Geri Topfer, LifeForce Yoga Practitioners who walk their talk, serving through the wisdom and compassion of yoga. Penni’s new CD, with Gratitude from My Heart to Yours, is a lovely blend of African sounds, where Penni has served, and her own lyrical interpretation of Sanskrit chants that has been accompanying my mat practice for the last month. Penni and Geri teach a program at Kripalu Center called “Finding Your Passion” in May.

For more information about Kula for Karma and to order a copy of Penni’s new CD please  visit their website.

 

Media Mention: Yoga Bonding: A Baby Integrated Postnatal Yoga Sequence by Lisa Bergly

Yoga_BondingA number of studies have shown that both prenatal (Bershasky, 2014; Field, 2013, Battle & Uebelacker, 2010) and antenatal yoga (Newham, 2014; MacDonald, 2013, Muziki, 2014) has significant benefits for mothers in both the prevention and treatment of depression. So when, as a new grandma, I came across Lisa Bergly’s Yoga Bonding: A Baby Integrated Postnatal Yoga Sequence I gave it to my daughter Miriam Leah to use at home with Shoshana. Finding the time to play the video was difficult for her, but when she had a moment of desperation, unable to amuse her feisty 5-month old, she finally plugged it in and Shoshana settled down. The twenty minutes I had time for when my Precious Ones visited me in Tucson was fun. Both Shoshana and I got a nice warm-up and stretch and there were lots of smiles, laughter, wiggles, coos and bright eyes. In the brief time we spent on the mat with Bergly’s video, I can see why in addition to moms, grandmothers and care givers, yoga teachers, early childhood education experts, physical therapists, Doulas and infant massage therapists have recommended this video.  To order a copy of Yoga Bonding visit spiritofthelakeyoga.com or email Lisa Bergly.

 

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What People Say

“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
“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
“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 had been on antidepressant medication for three years and had just been diagnosed with fibro myalgia when I began to work with Amy. She designed a sequence of postures and breathing exercises for me that I could practice at home. After four months, I was feeling much better, and after six months, I was able to stop antidepressants entirely. I still have low moods from time to time, but I know they will pass. Yoga has changed my life.” — C.L., 37, massage therapist, Sarasota, FL.
“I 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
“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
“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
“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 gained tools for working with my own depression and with my clients’ depressions.” — Robert Sgona, LCSW, RYT, psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, Camden, ME.
“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
“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.
“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
“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
“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.)
“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
“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’ve worked with Amy’s Yogic sets for the last two years and they have literally transformed my emotional state. Amy takes me, step-by-step, through postures and breathing exercises that straighten out my emotional tangles. Practicing Yoga has positively affected my whole world.” — S.S., retired computer engineer, Cambridge, MA
“I am indebted to Amy's Yoga instruction for teaching the part of me that had trouble letting go. My wife died almost two years ago, and I am now free of grief and other destructive thought-patterns. Since practicing Yoga with Amy, my meditation practice has gone to new dimensions.” — John deCoville, systems analyst, Tucson, AZ
“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 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 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 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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“Amy is a wonderful instructor. She is a vital and vibrant person and she kept the program flowing. Her voice was very soothing and nurturing and she created an open, safe and sacred space.” — Mary Lou Tillinger, massage therapist/rural carrier, Plainfield, CT
“Amy’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
“A psychotherapist might spend many years studying yoga and still not achieve anything near this elegant, practical, powerful integration. The instruction — while emerging from a 4000-year-oldtradition some consider esoteric — is immediately useful for treating abroad range of mental health disorders, even for therapists with no other background in yoga. As a bonus, the book seamlessly weaves in indispensable related tools, such as imagery, self-suggestion, and mindfulness meditation. It is a fabulous resource.” — Donna Eden & David Feinstein, Ph.D., Co-authors, Energy Medicine and The Promise of Energy Psychology
“I 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.
“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.
“This program changed my life in a significant way. It helped me connect with the spirit which is something you can’t get from psychotherapy and medication.” – G. W., artist, Pittsburgh, PA
“Amy is 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
“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
“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 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
“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
“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
“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.
“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
“Amy offers many guidelines and solutions through yoga, to both those who suffer from depression and to yoga teachers working with them.” — Angela Farmer, internationally known master Yoga teacher
“I 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
“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
“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 is a beautiful gift in my life! Her yoga offers a powerful blend of the practical and mystical. She has developed yogic solutions to many chronic health problems, and to many of the ways we habitually get stuck in our bodies and minds. Amy's yoga keeps me grounded and healthy, like the earth under my feet.” — Mary Driscoll, freelance writer and Ph.D., Southwest Institute for Research on Women, University of Arizona
“Weintraub has written…a sensitive, intelligent, painstaking exploration of the deeper psychospiritual issues that make up the complex experience of depression.” — Phil Catalfo, Yoga Journal
“As a ‘regular’ in Amy’s 7 AM Mon/Wed/Fri. yoga class, I felt a strong attachment to Amy and her Yoga practice.  I have been with her for 2 1/2 years and I am 82 years old.  A few months back I had the flu and missed two classes; she came to my house to check on me.  I could not believe she did this with her busy schedule.  This is a testimonial to her caring for the individual.  Amy is very special to me and keeps me going.” — D.W., retired nurse, Tucson, AZ
“I 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 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 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
“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
“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
“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.
“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 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
“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
“Words do not do justice to all that I learned. This workshop changed my life!” — Jen Nolan, Teacher, Cortland, NY
“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
“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
“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.
“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 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
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