About Amy Weintraub

AmyAmy Weintraub, MFA, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT, YACEP, founder of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute, the author of Yoga for Depression (Broadway Books, 2004) and Yoga Skills for Therapists: Effective Practices for Mood Management (W.W. Norton, 2012), has been a pioneer in the field of yoga and mental health for over twenty years.  She offers the LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training for Mood Management to health and yoga professionals and offers workshops for every day practitioners. The LifeForce Yoga protocol is being used in residential treatment centers, hospitals and by health care providers around the world and is featured on the LifeForce Yoga® CD Series and the first DVD home Yoga practice series for mood management, the award-winning LifeForce Yoga® to Beat the Blues, Level 1 & Level 2. She is an invited speaker at conferences internationally and is involved in ongoing research on the effects of yoga on mood. She co-edits a bi-monthly newsletter that includes current research, news and media reviews on Yoga and mental health.

Amy leads workshops and professional trainings at academic and psychology conferences internationally at such venues as the Boston University Graduate School of Psychology, the University of Arizona Medical School, the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium, the Integrative Mental Health Conference, the Cape Cod Institute, Kripalu Center, Omega Institute, Sivananda Ashram, Yogaville, Esalen, Patanjali University in Haridwar, India and Yoga studios throughout the United States. Amy is also a regular contributor on the Goddesses in America blog.

AmyAmy’s recovery from depression began more than forty years ago on her meditation cushion. She credits psychotherapy and medication in helping her stabilize her mood and in helping her understand its psychological origins in her family history. But it wasn’t until she began a daily Hatha Yoga practice in 1989, after her first visit to Kripalu Center, that her mood fully stabilized. After nearly a year of daily practice, she was able with medical supervision, to slowly titrate off psychopharmalogical medication. She became passionate about sharing the transformational aspects of yoga practice with others who suffer, and became an advocate for yoga and mental health. She became a Kripalu Yoga Teacher in 1992, wrote the first article on yoga and mental health, published in Yoga Journal, in 1999–“Yoga the Natural Prozac, ” and began working with research scientists, studying the effectiveness of yoga in working with mood disorders. In addition to her Hatha Yoga studies in the US and India, Amy has been trained in Advaita Vedanta Nondualism, iRest Yoga Nidra, psychology and Internal Family Systems Therapy. Richard Miller is her mentor.

She is blessed to collaborate and teach with James Gordon, MD, author of Unstuck, Drs. Patricia Gerbarg, MD and Richard Brown, MD, authors of How to Use Herbs, Nutrients and Yoga for Mental Health Care, the senior research scientist in the field, Dr. Shirley Telles, MBBS, PhD, Director of the Indian Council of Medical Research, Center for Advanced Research in Yoga & Neurophysiology, Richard Schwartz, PhD, founder of Internal Family Systems Therapy, addictions specialist, Dr. Kathy Shafer, Functional Yoga Therapy Trainer, Maria Kali Ma, senior Kripalu Yoga teacher and trainer Rudy Pierce, and many other esteemed Yoga and mental health professionals. Joy continues to unfold through the compassionate self-awareness that is the foundation of her Yoga practice and her teaching style.

Amy has won numerous literary prizes for her short fiction, including national prizes from Writer’s Digest Magazine, explorations and Wind. Her novel-in-progress, and her film documentaries have received awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, San Francisco State University, and many other national competitions. She also edits books on spiritual psychology, including the much-praised Yoga and the Quest for the True Self by Stephen Cope (Bantam). She holds the Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing and Literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars, Bennington College and currently lives in Tucson.

Disclaimer: The yoga therapy components of my workshops and trainings are based on my certification as a yoga therapist through the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), additional training in mental health and over 25 years of direct work with students and clients, offering them yoga practices to sustain optimum mental health, and not derived from my status as an RYT ®with Yoga Alliance Registry.

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Amy leading “Yoga to Manage Your Mood” at Jai Shanti Yoga in Atlanta, 9/07. Photo by: Melissa Mimms Photography

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What People Say

“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
“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 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
“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 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 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 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.
“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.
“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 gained perspective of who I am in the world and this will change my life significantly.” — Mary Ford, artist, Southport, CT
“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 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
“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
“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 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.
“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
“Words do not do justice to all that I learned. This workshop changed my life!” — Jen Nolan, Teacher, Cortland, NY
“I integrate strategies like mantra tones and pranayama, but above all I invite myself and those I teach to cultivate svadhyaya, to practice self-observation without judgment.” — Barbara Sherman, RYT 200, LFYP, Tucson, AZ
I absolutely love this stuff! I have been using it with my clients and I am just finding it to be so incredibly helpful. There seriously something for everything. Although I am not as skilled as I hope to be someday, even at my level of training I’m finding that I am beginning to figure out what to do. It just blows my mind! - Christine Brudnicki, MS, LPC
“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
“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 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
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