Research Newsletter Issue 62: Yoga Therapeutics, Yoga as Anti-Depressant Treatment during Pregnancy, and a Study about Meditation

20150410_204639If meditation helps us observe rather than react to our life experiences, does it run the risk of making us less compassionate? In this issue, we write about a study that attends to the subtler effects of meditation.  Through the lens of brain science, Dr. Shirley Telles and her colleagues examine this question, considering if detachment and empathy can co-exist or might even be complementary benefits of meditation practice. We also report on another prenatal yoga study coming from Brown University and Butler Hospital with encouraging news for pregnant women suffering from depression.

What I’m thrilled to tell you about is the ongoing collaboration between LifeForce Yoga and Internal Family Systems. Laura Orth and Liz Brenner, clinical social workers, IFS therapists and senior LifeForce Yoga practitioners will be joining me at Kripalu over Memorial Day weekend to explore how LifeForce yoga and IFS can help unburden those anxious parts!

I’m writing from Yogaville in Buckingham, VA, where the trees are in bud and the daffodils are blooming in abundance. We’re in the midst of our level one LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training, open to all serious students of yoga. You missed the sign up for this one, but we have online and residential LFYP Trainings all year to which you’re welcome to apply, either for personal growth or certification.

 

RESEARCH: Yoga as Treatment nearly doubled since 2002

book-ann-with-clientYoga Therapeutics is increasing as more Americans are seeking yoga treatment than ever before. Every five years NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) conduct a survey, interviewing over one hundred thousand adults and adults knowledgeable about children aged 4 -17 year to determine their use of complementary health approaches. NCCIH noted that there has been a significant increase in the use of yoga since 2002. In addition, more Americans practice yoga than receive chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, and almost as many Americans practice meditation.

Here are the highlights from the survey:

  • Approximately 21 million adults (nearly double the number from 2002) and 1.7 million children practiced yoga
  • Nearly 20 million adults and 1.9 million children had chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation
  • Nearly 18 million adults and 927,000 children practiced meditation
  • Children whose parents use a complementary health approach are more likely to use one as well

The increase in yoga has occurred across all age, racial, and ethnic groups. Most notably, the largest shift in the use of any mind and body approach was seen in the demographics of people using yoga:

  • Among Americans age 18-44, yoga use nearly doubled since 2002
  • Among older Americans age 45-64, usage increased from 5.2 percent in 2002 to 7.2 percent in 2012
  • Approximately 400,000 more children aged 4-17 used yoga in 2012 than in 2007

The high rates of use may be partly due to a growing body of research showing that some mind and body practices can help manage pain and reduce stress. Another factor that may have influenced the increased popularity of yoga is increased access — for instance, industry reports show that the number of yoga studios in the United States has increased substantially in recent years.

“The 2012 NHIS survey is the most current, comprehensive, and reliable source of information on the use of complementary health approaches by U.S. adults and children. The survey data suggest that consumers are paying attention to medical evidence and using it to inform their decisions,” said Josephine P. Briggs, M.D., Director of NCCIH. “This reaffirms how important it is for NIH to rigorously study complementary health approaches and make that information easily available to consumers.”

This bodes well for NCCIH funding for future yoga research, as growing use is one of the four guiding principles that determine the practices and products studied by NCCIH. The others are that the practice or product must be able to be studied using high-quality and rigorous research, hold promise, and have an impact on the public’s health. Since Americans often turn to complementary health approaches to address chronic pain, NCCIH can make yoga research a priority, since so many, according to the NCCIH findings, are finding benefits in the management of pain that, according to the NCCIH, “are not consistently addressed well by drugs and other conventional treatments.”

http://www.nccih.nih.gov/

 

RESEARCH: Yoga as an Anti-Depressant Treatment for Pregnant Women

bolly1Many women who suffer from depression are reluctant to take medication during pregnancy, often because they understand that antidepressants and other psycho-pharmacologic agents can affect the fetus. Previous research by the authors of this current study has found that pregnant women who are new to yoga are both interested and open to trying it as an intervention to help them manage their mood.

In this study undertaken by researchers at Brown University and Butler Hospital, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and published in the March-April, 2015 issue of the journal Women’s Health Issues, a 10-week program of prenatal yoga, was found to be “feasible, acceptable, safe, and effective for mild to moderately depressed women.”

Kaeli Sutton, who has advanced training in both prenatal massage and yoga, co-directs a nonprofit specializing in wellness and education for families and has worked with over 1800 mothers and families, designed the yoga protocol. Prenatal yoga classes occurred twice per week, with one daytime class and one evening class offered, although the researchers understood that most women would only be able to attend once per week. The women received a yoga mat and a prenatal yoga DVD for home practice. According to the authors, the 75-minute classes were “gentle in nature, and designed to be safe for pregnant women, including frequent use of props and modifications of poses.” Each class included an opening greeting; pranayama, breath awareness or meditation; a warm-up that included gentle, breath-linked movement; standing poses; floor poses; a final resting pose; pranayama or meditation; and a brief class closing.

The 34 women who participated saw their depressive symptoms decline during the 10-week program on two standardized scales. On the “QIDS” scale, in which a trained, objective rater evaluates responses, the women on average dropped from scores consistent with moderate depression (10-15) to scores well into the mild range (5-10). On the “EPDS” scale, which relies on self-reports, average scores fell similarly, from a level consistent with clinically significant depression (more than 10) to scores significantly under that threshold. The study data also showed that the more prenatal yoga pregnant women did, the more they benefitted psychologically. It’s the first study showing a proportional association.

“We’ve learned from this open pilot trial,” said lead investigator Cynthia Battle, “that prenatal yoga really does appear to be an approach that is feasible to administer, acceptable to women and their healthcare providers, and potentially helpful to improve mood.” She and second author Lisa Uebelacker have since led a small randomized controlled trial with similarly positive results that are now being written up for publication.

There was no control group to measure against, so as Battle explains, “This is not the definitive study where we can say that this is an efficacious frontline treatment, however it is a study suggesting that we know enough now to warrant the next, larger study.”

With the increased use of yoga as a complementary treatment by the American public, as documented in the previous newsletter article, combined with several pilot studies by this team indicating the acceptance and efficacy of yoga for prenatal depression, we would hope that funds for further research by Battle and her colleagues will be forthcoming.

To read an article about the study visit: https://news.brown.edu/articles/2015/03/pregnant.

 

 

RESEARCH Wisdom: Dispassion and Compassion—Can they Co-Exist?

sunset-691848_1280When we meditate, we are cultivating an ability to witness without reacting to our ongoing experiences. In so doing, are we less likely to feel our feelings? Are we less likely to respond to circumstances that call for compassionate action, whether towards ourselves, others, or the environment? For the first time, researchers have given us a review of literature that analyzes brain activity during different meditation techniques with some of these questions in mind. The review was done by senior researcher Shirley Telles, PhD, and her colleagues, in order to determine if “detachment,” defined in this study as “reducing or removing the need to control, possess, and be influenced by the actions of people or circumstances,” and “empathy” can co-exist in meditation.

There is a beautiful aphorism that speaks to this question from the great Vedanta sage, Sri Nisargadatta. He said:

When I look inside and see that I am nothing, that is wisdom.
When I look outside and see that I am everything, that is love.
Between these two, my world turns.

In this meta-analysis, the researchers looked at ten neuroimaging studies with 91 meditators and determined that there was a common neural network affected by different techniques whose common goal is to “induce relaxation, regulate attention and develop detachment from one’s thoughts.” In most of the techniques tested, changes occurred in the activity of the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) that are associated with reduced task activity and increased interospection activity. Interoception refers to our ability to tune into and observe what is happening within the body–sensations from our organs and muscles, hunger, thirst, how we are breathing. Interoception is our ability to feel fully present in our bodies. The changes indicating reduced task activity and increased interospection were noted in the dorsal (posterior or back) of the MPFC.

In one study that looked at five types of meditation, there was a reduced interaction between areas of the brain that observed and areas of the brain that judged. According to the researchers, “The reduction was possibly related to minimized interaction between the self process functions (described as including self-awareness, autobiographic memory, agency and embodiment) and constraints on the self-process, leading to non-involvement and detachment. Detachment can help an individual to get mental peace.” But what happens to our ability to empathically connect with others, when we are “detached”? “In order to contribute usefully to society,” say the researchers (and most thinking/feeling adults), “empathy and compassion are essential.”

In their analysis of the data, the researchers determined that the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), not only regulates detachment, but it also regulates empathy. In data from studies that look at compassion meditation and loving kindness meditation, one of the areas affected by these meditations is the ventral MPFC. This is the front area (anterior) of the brain that is responsible for our executive functioning.

In addition, Loving Kindness Meditation and Compassion Meditation activate the emotional area of the brain, the limbic system, through an activation of the amygdala. Both the dorsal MPFC, associated with detachment, and the ventral MPFC, associated with empathy are connected through the amygdala, suggesting, according to the researchers, that both detachment and compassion are closely related areas of the brain.

So perhaps, from a brain science point of view on Sri Nisargadatta’s quote above, our inner world turns from detachment to empathy in the amygdala.

Although they call for further research, the authors of this analytical review speculate “that through meditation an individual can reach a mental state which is disengaged and detached, but retains the choice to engage with specific situations based on compassion.”

 

 

RESEARCH: Consensus-based Protocols for Yoga interventions for Depression and Anxiety

book-amy-with-katResearchers in Australia asked 33 yoga teachers from four different countries who are established in the field of yoga and mental health for recommendations in using yoga as a treatment for anxiety and depression. I was one of 18 teachers who participated in two rounds of a survey. The first round (24 teachers) was to establish initial views. The second round was to create a consensus on frequency and duration (dosage) of the yoga, approaches and techniques to be included or avoided, and training and experience for yoga teachers. In an article published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine in March, 2015, the authors write that a general consensus of survey participants recommended that for maximum benefit, yoga be practiced an average of 30 to 40 minutes, 5 times per week, over a period of 6 weeks. The key components agreed upon by the survey takers for depression were Breath regulation and postures. Breath regulation and meditation were considered essential for people with anxiety. There was also general consensus that yoga teacher training be at the 500-hour level over two years; that the teacher maintain her own practice, that she take some kind of training in yoga for mental health and receive professional supervision or mentoring.

A consensus doesn’t mean that there was complete agreement, and in fact there was not a consensus on first meeting the mood with a practice before offering a practice to counter the current mood (practiced in LifeForce Yoga). However, establishing training guidelines for yoga teachers working in the field of mental health, and a list of appropriate practices and contraindications is an important step in offering the healing of yoga to those who suffer from mood disorders. LifeForce Yoga is especially gratefully to lead investigator Michael de Manincor and his colleagues for this important work. To read the study: Establishing key components of yoga interventions for reducing depression and anxiety, and improving well-being: a Delphi method study click here.

 

REVIEW: Cooling Nidras for Body and Mind: Guided Relaxation for Women of a Certain Age

51tY6XJCplL._SS280Senior Yoga Therapist and teacher trainer, Robin Rothenberg teams up with award-winning composer Nancy Rumbel for a second CD of Yoga Nidra practices. Cooling Nidras was created for a National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded study that looked at the efficacy of using Yoga Nidra, along with yoga asana, for menopausal women suffering from hot flashes. Although hot flashes were not significantly reduced in a population that had more than 28 hot flashes a day, yoga and yoga nidra did show a significant improvement in quality of life factors including sleep and sexuality (libido) as compared to cardio exercise and usual care. Rothenberg says that when she tested out the protocol (She ran three free trials), the overall feedback was that women were sleeping much better and less bothered by hot flashes and felt more in control of their “thermostat.”

There are two 20-minute soothing, cooling practices. In addition to the traditional body scan, breath awareness, and moments of expanded consciousness, the first practice makes use of cool stream and river imagery and a left nostril breathing practice that is cooling and releasing. In the second Nidra practice, Rothenberg’s language is even more beautifully evocative. The practitioner is guided to imagine a cool breeze brushing or fanning across each body party, a shady grove, and being cradled by moist earth. She suggests that the practitioner imagine an inner thermostat, and then guides the raising and lowering, by degree, of the body temperature. Although the shortened protocol, necessitated by the study’s parameters means that Rothenberg did not include the exploration of the opposites of emotion and belief (manomaya kosha and vijnayamaya kosha), I can imagine using this CD, not only for managing hot flashes during menopause, but any time a moment of cool rest would be appreciated. Rumbel’s music gracefully compliments Rothenberg’s words.

I would imagine that once the practitioner is comfortable with the imagery of cool breezes and turning down her thermostat, she may get some relief at the onset of a flashback. However, the practice seems best suited to basic relaxation that can help with sleep, whether we are menopausal or not.

To purchase a copy of the Cooling Nidras CD click here.

 

News: LFYP and Mentor Joanne Spence Nominated for Yoga Journal Good Karma Award

jo2We are thrilled to announce that LFYP and Mentor Joanne Spence is one of 13 nominees for the Yoga Journal Good Karma Awards.

Vote for Joanne Now!

Joanne has been teaching yoga full time for 14 years. She has combined LifeForce Yoga with her clinical social work background and works as the first yoga therapist at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, one of the largest inpatient psychiatric hospitals in the US. Joanne is also member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. In 2004, she founded Yoga in Schools (YIS) as a way to reach school children and teachers to help them nurture their own well-being through yoga. Since then, Yoga in Schools has become a leader in the field of school yoga, reaching over 20,000 children and 1,000 teachers with sustainable wellness programs. Joanne teaches and presents across the US at conferences and retreat centers including Kripalu, Omega and the Garrison Institute.

 

News: Amy is a Guest Teacher on A Daily Dose of Bliss

unnamedI just wanted to share with you today an online yoga course that I’m guest teaching on.  It’s a six week course specifically designed to teach you practices to stay calm, centered and grounded, amidst the ups and downs of daily life.  In A Daily Dose of Bliss, you’ll receive a new 5-10 minute practice each day for six weeks. The course was lovingly created by Dr Lauren Tober, a Clinical Psychologist and Yoga Teacher from Byron Bay, Australia. And I’m honored to be joining her a host of internationally acclaimed yoga teachers to help you to find your bliss!

The early bird price is available for just a little while longer. Sign up today!

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What People Say

“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 gained perspective of who I am in the world and this will change my life significantly.” — Mary Ford, artist, Southport, CT
“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
“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 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.
“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
“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
“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
“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 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 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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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 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
“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
“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
“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.
“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.
“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
“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
“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
“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’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
“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 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
“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.
“I gained tools for working with my own depression and with my clients’ depressions.” — Robert Sgona, LCSW, RYT, psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, Camden, ME.
“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.
“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.
“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 ‘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 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.
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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 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
“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
“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
“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.
“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
“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 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
“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 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
“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 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 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 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
“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
“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
“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.)
“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
“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
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