Issue 1

ISSUE #1 – November 12, 2004

Resist, and the tide

will sweep you off your feet.

Allow, and the grace will carry

you to higher ground.

Danna Faulds, Go In and In: Poems from the Heart of Yoga

Welcome to the first edition of the LifeForce Yoga® for Depression Newsletter in which you will find some of the latest information on complementary treatments for mood disorders, body psychotherapy, current brain research, news on supplements that may increase the effectiveness of other treatments for depression, the current schedule of LifeForce Yoga® Workshops & trainings, and an invitation to join the new on-line discussion about Yoga for the emotional body.

In the News




Schedule of Workshops & Trainings

Private Sessions & Guided Personal Retreats

New “Yoga for the Emotional Body” Discussion Forum

Books: New & Recommended


In the News

“Black Box” Warning: Risks of Antidepressants for Children

With the public concern about the increased risk of suicide in the use of antidepressants, particularly among children and adolescents, many mental health professionals and physicians are exploring alternative treatments for depression and other mood disorders. On October 15, 2004, The Federal Drug Administration directed the manufacturers of all antidepressants to add a “black box” warning to their product labeling that describes the increased risk of suicide in children and adolescents given these drugs. A “black box” warning for physicians, is the strongest warning possible, but does not ban them from prescribing the drug to children and adolescents. Discussing the continued use of a class of antidepressants known as SSRI’s in the treatment of children, Dr. Thomas Newman, professor of epidemiology and pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, says, “We have good evidence of harm and very little evidence of efficacy.”

Yoga as Treatment

Psychobiologists are now saying that our reactions to life are patterned by our earliest, preverbal experiences. The forgotten emotion that accompanied those experiences can be stored in our bodies for years. We therefore need a treatment for depression and other mood disorders that includes the physical body. –AW

Teens and Suicide

A study surveying college campuses states that depression and suicide have increased 3-fold in the last 16 years.

Depression is Different in Children

(Excerpted from “Depression is Different in Kids,” The Wall Street Journal, by Sharon Begley, October 18, 2004)

A growing number of discoveries suggest that depression in young people isn’t simply a scaled-down version of depression in adults. The symptoms and the responses to antidepressants are different, indicating different biological activity. Teen brains, scientists are finding, are very different than adult brains.

Instead of feeling deeply and chronically unhappy, teens diagnosed with depression feel bored, moody and irritable. These symptomatic differences, experts say, must reflect differences in the underlying biochemistry of the disease in adults and children.

Several studies suggest that the antidepressants called SSRIs stimulate the birth of neurons in the brain. Boosting this “neurogenesis” might have different effects on a developing brain than a mature one.

The creation of neurons in the brain had been assumed to be beneficial. In depressed adults, the hippocampus – the part of the brain responsible for learning, memory and emotion – is typically shrunken. By restoring it to full size, and presumably full health, depression might be lifted.

But in young people with depression, the hippocampus isn’t shrunken. It may be that the influx of new neurons is somehow detrimental to adolescents. Some scientists wonder whether the new neurons could destabilize fragile brain circuits in children suffering from mental illness.

In another key difference, young patients with depression usually don’t show elevated levels of the stress hormone called cortisol. In adults, in contrast, scientists are discovering more and more evidence that depression is caused by abnormally high levels of cortisol flooding the brain.

Cortisol shrinks the hippocampus. But scientists don’t understand why depressed adults have higher levels of cortisol than depressed teens do.

The human brain isn’t fully mature for two decades. The way it matures suggests reasons that young people might be vulnerable to the worst side effects of SSRIs.

New Research:


Preventative Treatment for Depression

Researchers at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia conducted a study on Yoga as a preventative and treatment for symptoms of mental illness. The six-week Yoga program incorporated breathing techniques, postures designed to enhance strength, vitality and flexibility, guided relaxation and meditation. By developing calmness, self-acceptance, a balanced perspective and enhanced concentration it was hypothesized that participants would strengthen their resistance to emotional distress. Psychometric testing was carried out to assess symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression across three groups: regular Yoga practitioners, beginners entering the program and a control group that did not practice Yoga. Previous studies have cited a strong sense of intrinsic spiritual experience as a possible buffer to stress, anxiety and depression and a decreased frequency of medical symptoms. In addition to psychometric measurement at pre- and post-intervention, participants were assessed on their sense of intrinsic spirituality, but not on religious beliefs. At the end of six weeks, Yoga beginners showed lower average levels of symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress than at commencement, but levels were stable for regular Yoga practitioners and the control group of non-practitioners. In addition, beginners showed growth in their self-reported level of intrinsic spiritual experience.—Campbell, D.E., Moore, K.A.. Yoga as a preventative treatment for depression, Anxiety and stress. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 2004, 14:53-58.

Benefits for Cancer Survivors

The University of Calgary completed a pilot study designed to examine the physical and psychological benefits afforded by a seven-week Yoga program for cancer survivors. As compared to the control group, there were significant improvements in the program participants from pre- to post-intervention on a number of physical and psychosocial variables.—Culos-Reed, S.N., Carlson, L.E., Daroux, L.M., Hately-Aldous, S. Discovering the physical and psychological benefits of Yoga for cancer survivors. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 2004, 14:45-52.

Mood Changes with Iyengar Yoga

Unlike the above studies, this study looked at posture alone in an attempt to assess the effect on mood of specific groups of postures. This pilot study compared back bends, forward bends and standing poses. Each 90-minute class focused on one of the three types of poses. Self-ratings were obtained before and after each class. Independent of the specific pose, positive mood increased, negative mood decreased and energy-related moods increased from before to after classes. Back bends were associated with greater increases in positive mood, particularly for those who, in a pre-intervention orientation personality trait measurement were hostile or depressed. –Shapiro, D. and Cline, K. Mood changes associated with Iyengar Yoga practices: a pilot study. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 2004, 14:35-44.

NOTE: I would like to thank Trisha Lamb, editor in Chief of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, for her ceaseless efforts to support the research and understanding of Yoga. You can support this work by becoming a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. Please visit

In Development

There are a number of studies in development that will be looking at mood and energy level for cancer survivors (UCLA and the Mayo Clinc) and patients with HIV/AIDs (University of Florida). I’ll be consulting on one that the Mayo Clinic is developing. I will keep you posted.

Research psychologist David Shapiro, lead author on the UCLA mood changes with Iyengar Yoga quoted above, is currently recruiting folks suffering from depression for a study that will examine Iyengar Yoga as a complementary treatment for mood disorder.

And finally, after ignoring Yoga but looking at a multitude of non-allopathic treatment including meditation, tai chi, and acupuncture, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is underwriting a study that will look at “Yoga for Treating People at Risk for Diabetes or With Both HIV and Depression.”



B-12 levels

New research reports patients who were treated for depression responded better if they had a higher level of vitamin B12 in their blood. Supplementing vitamins B1, B2 and B6 may be a good way to support positive mental health. These vitamins indirectly increase the level of vitamin B12 in your blood.

Amy’s Calendar

LifeForce Yoga® Workshop & Training Schedule





November 13, 2004

1:30 PM Yoga as a Complementary Treatment for Depression, Integrative Therapies and Depression Conference, The University of Arizona College of Medicine,


November 20, 2004

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Yoga for the Emotional Body, Oro Valley Library, Oro Valley, AZ.

Lenox, MA

January 14 – 17, 2005 Yoga to Beat the Blues, Kripalu Center, Lenox, MA, 800 741-7353,

Wakefield, RI, January 21-23, 2005

LifeForce Yoga® for Mood Disorders, 401 782-2126, 10 CUE’s for Social Workers (NASW) and yoga teachers (Yoga Alliance).

Los Angeles

February 19 – 21, 2005 Yoga Expo, Los Angeles Convention Center.

Washington, D.C.

March 17 – 20th

Psychotherapy Networker Symposium – Amy will lead a Pre-Conference Day-Long Workshop, Clinical presentation: Yoga as Complementary Treatment for Mood Disorders, Morning Yoga & Afternoon Integration practice.

Austin, Texas

May 22 – 27, 2005 Yoga to Beat the Blues

Omega at the Crossings Austin, TX 877-944-3003

Lenox, MA

July 4 – 8, 2005 LifeForce Therapy for Depression and Anxiety, Kripalu Center, Lenox, MA, 800 741-7353, 24.5 CEU’s for Social Workers & Yoga Teachers.

Rhinebeck, NY July 10 – 15, 2005 Yoga to Beat the Blues, Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, NY, 800-944-1001,

New York July 17, 2005 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Yoga for the Emotional Body Workshop, Be Yoga, 138 5th Avenue, 4th Floor, New York, NY, 212 617- 9642,

Lenox, MA

September 29 – October 2, 2005 Yoga to Beat the Blues, Kripalu Center, Lenox, MA, 800 741-7353,

Private Sessions & Guided Personal Retreats

Private sessions in Life Force Yoga Therapy (In Tucson)

Each session incorporates the principles of Life Force Yoga Therapy to invite balance into the emotional and physical body, thereby establishing and maintaining Positive Mental Health.

An initial session includes an assessment and, after the third session, a written home practice.

Guided Personal Retreats

Amy will design a personal retreat in Tucson to meet your schedule and needs. In addition to daily private Life Force Yoga Therapy sessions with Amy, retreats can include several energy modalities, a consultation with a holistic M.D., a consultation with an internationally recognized expert in flower essence production and treatment, Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, massage, and healing ritual.

New! On-line Discussion Group: Yoga and the Emotional Body

Whether you are new to Yoga, a Yoga teacher, Yoga therapist or a psychotherapist, this forum can be a valuable resource for you. Talk with others about their experience in establishing and maintaining positive mental health through yogic techniques. The forum is hosted by yoga teacher Kirstin Barnekov-Short, who completed “Teaching to the Emotional Body” with Amy in June, 2004 and is now leading Yoga for Anxiety workshops in Delaware.

Books: New & Recommended

Two inspiring books have come across my desk this month. The first, Medicine, Mind And Meaning by Dr. Eve Wood, is a transformative guide for anyone suffering from mood disorders. This is one of the most inspiring books for self-empowered healing from mental illness I have read. In her childhood, Dr. Eve Wood learned that, “If a person saves one life, it is as if he has saved the entire world.” By this criterion, Dr. Wood is saving the galaxy.

Medicine, Mind And Meaning

Eve A. Wood, M.D.

In One Press 0974108308 $21.95 Medicine,

Mind And Meaning: A Psychiatrist’s Guide To Treating The Body, Mind, And Spirit by medical and mental

health expert Dr. Eve Wood compares human well-being to a three-legged stool, which rests upon the pillars of body,

mind, and spirit. A step-by-step guide showing the reader how to involve body (genetics, inborn characteristics and vulnerabilities), mind (backgrounds, beliefs, behaviors) and spirit (faith and the search for higher meaning) in a healing journey toward total wellness, medicine, Mind And Meaning is a testimony of inspiration, blessing, and the profound healing power of positive will. A forward by C. Everett Koop, M.D., SCD rounds out this transformative work of insight grounded in years of practical and medical experience. – The Midwest Book Review, September 2004

The second, The Rhodiola Revolution: Transform Your Health with the Herbal Breakthrough of the 21st Century is by Dr. Richard P. Brown, Dr. Patricia L. Gerbarg, and Barbara Graham. Psychopharmacolgist and associate professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Dr. Richard Brown wrote the medical forward for my book, Yoga for Depression. He and his wife, psychiatrist Dr. Patricia Gerbarg have written this highly readable book about an herb they highly recommend for treating depression as well as a host of other medical conditions.

The Rhodiola Revolution presents an holistic approach to stress and fatigue that includes herbs, Yoga breathing, and lifestyle changes. The focus of the book is Rhodiola rosea. Used for thousands of years in folk medicines of Scandinavia and Russia, the root of this remarkable herb enabled people living at high altitudes to survive the harshest conditions and to maintain physical and mental health into old age. The authors present the fascinating history, scientific research and clinical benefits in fatigue, stress, cognition, memory, depression, menopause, physical performance, weight loss, and sexual enhancement

Other Resources:

McMan’s Depression and Bipolar Weekly

This is an excellent source of news and information.

Also, visit to read more than 280 articles on all aspects of depression and bipolar, plus a bookstore, readers’ forum, message boards, and other features.

International Association of Yoga Therapists:

I know a cure for sadness:

Let your hands touch something that

makes your eyes



Please join the conversation on the new discussion forum:

Blessings on recovering and maintaining positive mental health!


About the Author

Amy Weintraub

Amy Weintraub E-RYT 500, MFA, YACEP, C-IAYT, founded the LifeForce Yoga® Healing Institute, which trains yoga and health professionals internationally, and is the author of Yoga for Depression and Yoga Skills for Therapists. The LifeForce Yoga protocol is used by health care providers worldwide. She is involved in ongoing research on the effects of yoga on mood.

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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
“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 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 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 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
“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
“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 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
“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
“Words do not do justice to all that I learned. This workshop changed my life!” — Jen Nolan, Teacher, Cortland, NY
“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 gained tools for working with my own depression and with my clients’ depressions.” — Robert Sgona, LCSW, RYT, psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, Camden, ME.
“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 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 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
“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
“A client who returned said, "When I came before, you helped me understand and get where I wanted to go. Now you show me yoga practices I use to help myself understand and get where I want to go.” — Sherry Rubin, LCSW, BCD, LFYP, Downingtown, PA
“My 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.
“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 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.
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
“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 gained perspective of who I am in the world and this will change my life significantly.” — Mary Ford, artist, Southport, CT
“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
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