Yoga Therapy in Practice Interview

Originally published in Yoga Therapy in Practice, a publication of the International Association of Yoga Therapists

Download a PDF of this article here.

“Yoga in action, on and off the mat, requires the three elements Patanjali suggests-will, self-study, and surrender to the flow of energy, prana, the divine.”

Amy Weintraub, MFA, E-RYT (500), is the author of Yoga for Depression, the founder and director of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute, and a senior Kripalu Yoga teacher and mentor. She leads workshops and trainings for Yoga teachers and mental healthcare professionals, including psychotherapists, social workers, marriage and family counselors, drug and alcohol counselors, and psychologists. YTIP talked to Amy about her approach to Yoga for psychological and spiritual healing. Interview by Kelly McGonigal

How has personal experience influenced your decision to focus on Yoga for depression?

I suffered from depression for many years and was on antidepressants for about nine of those years. When I began practicing Yoga, there was no popular literature on the efficacy of Yoga for balancing or elevating mood. Patanjali spoke of it in Yogic terms, of course, but I had no idea who he was when I attended my first Yoga class at the Kripalu Center. After that class, there was an immediate feel-good effect, no doubt the result, in part, of what studies are now showing about the physiological effects of Yoga. But I was also deeply affected by the language of acceptance. At Kripalu, I felt safe enough to be okay with whatever was showing up on my mat, including negative emotions. I was cultivating the witness as I observed my breath and the sensations in my body, so I was more present, but less reactive.

Over the course of eight or nine months of daily Yoga practice at home, I began to feel well enough that, with the supervision of a psychiatrist, I was able to slowly reduce my medication. That was in 1989, and I haven’t been on antidepressants since. When I became a Yoga teacher in 1992, I was passionate about sharing the help I had received on my mat with my students. I began to study more and more the effects of Yoga on mood, both in the laboratory of my own body, and by working with Yogi psychologists and researchers in the U.S. and India.

I think it’s important that a Yoga teacher who is not a psychotherapist find a Yoga teacher mentor who is, so that there is supervision in the work you are doing with students, especially if you’re working with individuals suffering from depression or other mood disorders. In the last two years, I’ve been fortunate to study and consult with psychologist/Yogi Richard Miller.

Do you think that Yoga therapists who have experienced depression or anxiety have more compassion or insight for working with these issues?

That’s hard for me to say. Certainly, I bring my own history of depression to the mat when I work with someone, but that doesn’t mean that someone who has never been depressed can’t learn about it and work compassionately with those who are. Most of us have experienced depressed mood, even if short-term, or we have lived with or loved someone who suffers. Very few of us are immune.

You mentioned going off antidepressants three years before yoga therapy training you began teaching Yoga. Is full recovery from your own depression necessary to teach individuals with depression?

Certainly not. But awareness of the places where the wounds still fester is essential. That’s why I think having a mentor or supervisor is essential. In my own case, although I feel content these days and, how to describe it… an underlying sense of well-being, I know that I still have work to do.

For example, I was working with a student whose father had died when she was two years old. Her grief-stricken mother became unable to offer her the consistency of love and support she needed. For years, her Yoga practice had been solely about asana, and a bit compulsive and driven. As soon as she allowed herself to deeply relax and trust, all those tamped down emotions rose to the surface. Shortly after she began breathing diaphragmatically in a supine position, she became teary and filled with a primal kind of rage.

I am accustomed to creating a safe enough container in my work with students that plenty of emotion can release. I can hold the space for grief and depression and fear and anxiety. But because of my own history of conflict avoidance — becoming depressed and disallowing anger — I could feel my own discomfort rising with my student’s rage.

The psychologists call this counter-transference. I was grateful to be able to call Richard and schedule a consultation with him to explore my response and the way I worked with this client. My telephone session with Richard was extremely helpful for me and, I believe, for my client in our continued work together. Likewise, I have students who consult with me.

It’s important, I think, that we stay open for a continuing inquiry into our own emotional triggers so that we are as clear as we possibly can be in the moment when we sit with another. In that moment, there is a deeply intuitive attachment with the other, and if we’re constricted and unaware of those constrictions, we might not be a helpful as we otherwise could be.

What would you say to someone who is suffering from intense depression, grief, or anxiety in this moment? How do you convey hope? Where would you begin a session?

That depends on how long they have been suffering, whether it’s related to a specific situation, like a loss, and other factors as well. In some cases, the depression has taken the form of numbness an inability to feel anything at all. Usually, the person feels as though a fog has descended, and it often affects their cognitive functioning in every day life.

In that case, I might help them create a safe container through ritual and personal interaction so that the grief can be welcomed in. I would help them to think of their mat as a safe and sacred space, where whatever shows up is an honored guest I truly believe the adage that “the only way out is through.” That doesn’t mean we have to know and talk about the story. In Yoga, we can allow grief to arise and be released through all the koshas, without getting stuck in the story. In fact, most often when someone releases through tears on the Yoga mat, it’s not connected to a remembered story. Just another samskma letting go.

On the other hand, if someone is already feeling too much grief the tears are flowing endlessly I would encourage that person to embrace the pain through Yoga, and to also begin to feel how much more room there is inside for other emotions, too. Through the energetic effects of asana and pranayama and kriya, I would encourage that student to notice how much bigger she is than her pain.

By encouraging students to observe sensation and breath in every moment as they practice, they are learning to observe the pain, without identifying with it. For someone whose mind is working overtime with negative self-talk, I would also actively work with samkalpa (positive affirmations) that are not layered on, because the mind will reject those, but that arise from the student’s own inquiry.

You teach a five-day intensive training for psychotherapists and Yoga teachers. What does this training cover?

LifeForce Yoga Training for Anxiety and Depression does not train psychotherapists to be Yoga teachers. Nor does it train Yoga teachers to practice therapy. A distinction is made between those techniques that may be appropriate for clinical use by a psychotherapist, and those that require the knowledge and instruction of a qualified Yoga teacher or Yoga therapist But more and more, those attending the training are both Yoga teachers and psychotherapists.

In the training, we look at the current research in neuroscience to see how it reflects the ancient wisdom of the Yogis. From a theoretical perspective, we look at Yogic strategies for balancing the emotional body, as outlined by Patanjali, that are not dissimilar from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and current treatment for what psychologists call “complicated grief.” Our work together as Yoga teachers and mental health professionals takes a Yogic view in assessing the imbalances in the mind and body that might bring a client into psychotherapy or Yoga therapy.

Students in the training learn Yogic practices from classical Yoga and Tantric traditions that cross and embrace “lineage” lines. These practices help clients and students clear the mind’s clutter and the tensions in their bodies, so that they feel calmer, more alert, and have greater access to emotional material.

Included are breathing exercises, both simple pranayama like Yogic three-part breath and victory breath (ujjayi), and more energizing, clutter-clearing cleansing breaths like kriyas. We also study and practice mudra (hand gestures), mantra, the creation of bhavana (visualizations) that support an individual’s growth, the development of samkalpa (affirmations that arise from one’s own field of possibility), and meditation techniques that balance mood. The practices have their source in Yogic science — the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and other texts. Asana is only a small part of what takes place in the five days we spend together.

You mentioned using the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as a foundation for your approach to emotions like grief. Can you say more about this?

The core of the LifeForce Yoga Training is the first sutra in Pada II: Tapas svadhyaya isvara-pranidhana kriya yogah.

This, I believe, is a Yogic formula for positive mental health. In LifeForce Yoga, we understand this sutra to mean that Yoga in action, or a balanced way of living in union, on and off the mat (kriya yogah), requires the three elements Patanjali suggests in this sutra: will, self-study, and surrender to the flow of energy, prana, the divine.

For some students suffering from depression, simply rolling out a Yoga mat and stepping onto it requires an act of will (tapas). On the mat, self-study (svadhyaya) is cultivated and “witness consciousness” is developed as we bring breath and awareness to strong body sensations, observing these sensations without reacting to them.

As we rely on the will to hold a pose (tapas), while observing the body, staying present to areas of comfort, discomfort or numbness (svadhyaya), we align with the flow of our own healing energy, literally surrendering to the flow of prana, or to stay with a more literal translation of the sutra, surrendering to the divine (Isvara-pranidhana).

How is the mental health field integrating Yoga therapy and psychotherapy?

The outer edges of mental health have been looking toward Yoga for years. The somatic psychotherapy movement dovetails and, in some cases, is founded on the principles and practices of ancient Yogic traditions. At mental health conferences these days, it’s not unusual to hear phrases common to most Yoga practitioners, like, “Where is it in your body?” and “The body remembers.”

More and more clinicians are integrating meditation, breath awareness, and even movement into the treatment room. For example, at a workshop I recently taught in Texas, an Iyengar teacher and psychotherapist named Maggie told me that she’s doing less talk therapy and more Yoga with the adolescents she treats one-on-one. “They show up for their sessions, but they don’t want to talk,” she said. “I find it’s much better for their self-esteem, if I get them standing on their heads! After that, they’re ready to talk.”

One significant shift in somatic therapy’s movement toward mainstream, and the inclusion of Yoga within that movement, has been the research and clinical work of the psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk. In 1974, Dr. van der Kolk was completing his psychiatric residency at a VA hospital where he treated veterans returning from Vietnam. He noticed a disquieting pattern of responses in those vets the flashbacks, nightmares, and other symptoms we now associate with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a diagnostic category that didn’t exist before 1974. It was through van der Kolk’s efforts that the diagnosis was included in the DSM, the manual of diagnostic categories used in mental healthcare.

Last year, Bessel van der Kolk and his wife Betta, a body therapist, attended an evening talk I gave at Kripalu on Yoga and depression. Afterwards, he told me that he will not treat a trauma survivor illness he or she is also practicing Yoga. His emphasis on involving the body in treatment, and in particular, his ongoing advocacy of and research into the effects of Yoga, has caught the ear of psychotherapists around the world, especially those who deal with clients recovering from trauma.

My own book, Yoga for Depression, has been embraced by many in the mental health profession, and I have been invited to speak at international conferences on depression, and to offer trainings to psychotherapists in ways that they might integrate Yogic strategies into their work with clients.

What kind of collaboration are you seeing between Yoga professionals and mental healthcare professionals? It is exciting to see the growing cooperation between Yoga instructors and psychotherapists. Many Yoga teachers who have trained as LifeForce Yoga practitioners are working with psychotherapists in their communities to develop workshops and ongoing group sessions for people with depression and mood disorders. My students are being hired in psychiatric settings at places like McClean Hospital in Belmont, MA to offer Yoga as an adjunct treatment for hospitalized patients.

What role does research play in supporting collaboration?

Mainstream mental health professionals can no longer ignore the evidence that Yoga empowers people with mood disorders to manage their mental health. There is a growing body of research since the 1970’s demonstrating the efficacy of Yoga and meditation for depression. For example, the 2005 issue of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy published an article about Marla Apt and David Shapiro’s recent study at UCLA that demonstrated the positive effect of Iyengar Yoga postures on mood.

In collaboration with researchers at Harvard University, I am conducting a study on the effects of the LifeForce Yoga Program on mood. We are also conducting preliminary research on mood during LifeForce Yoga Institute retreats. So far, we’ve measured the mood change before and after a five-day retreat in Tucson and two two-day retreats, one at Kripalu and one at the Crossings. Participants in the five-day retreat showed a 62% increase in happiness, 61 % decrease in sadness, 76% decrease in anger, and 53% decrease in anxiety. Participants in the two-day retreat showed a 39% increase in happiness, 34% decrease in sadness, 54% decrease in anger, and 62% decrease in anxiety.

All three groups included Yoga teachers who had a long-term, regular Yoga practice, psychotherapists taking the course for continuing education credit, and beginning Yoga students suffering from depression. We have data differentiating these groups, but it has not yet been analyzed. I would suspect that when we separate the beginners who are suffering from depression from the professionals, we will find that the reported elevation in mood among the beginners is more dramatic, and that the professionals, especially those with long-term, regular Yoga practices, will show less change in mood from the beginning of the program to the end of the program.

If you weren’t teaching Yoga, how might you be spending your time and energy? Well, for years I was a depressed, ruminative, and mostly unsuccessful fiction writer. I won national literary awards for my short stories and for a novel-in-progress, but I have five unpublished novels stored on old floppy discs and zip drives. I loved my characters, and would like to think that the voices haven’t dried up inside me. Maybe I’ll write fiction again someday, but from a more contented place. On the other hand, it’s possible that my daily practice these past seventeen years has healed my characters, and I won’t meet them anymore. On a recent silent retreat with Richard Miller, poetry began to rise up in me again. Maybe it’s just about slowing down enough to listen.

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What People Say

“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 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.
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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 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
“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 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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“I gained perspective of who I am in the world and this will change my life significantly.” — Mary Ford, artist, Southport, CT
“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
“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
“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
“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.
“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
“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.
“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
“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 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 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
“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 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’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
“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
“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.
“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 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 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 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 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 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.
“Words do not do justice to all that I learned. This workshop changed my life!” — Jen Nolan, Teacher, Cortland, NY
“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
“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
“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
“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
“Amy’s teaching is enthusiastic and loving.  She guides me gently, harmoniously and confidently to a mindful state and encourages me to find my own strengths and edges.  With well-chosen language and carefully executed examples, she reminds me of my own inner healing knowledge.” — Penelope Simmons, artist, founder of Odyssey Storytelling, Tucson, AZ
“I 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’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 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 realized how to go deeper into myself and find what is blocking me. I now can focus and clear my mind. Keep Amy! She is fantastic. She enabled me to release and find where I need to go.” — Kathy Myers, homemaker, State College, PA.
“Amy’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 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 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
“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
“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
“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 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 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.
“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 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 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
“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.
“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 gained tools for working with my own depression and with my clients’ depressions.” — Robert Sgona, LCSW, RYT, psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, Camden, ME.
“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.)
“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
“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
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