LifeForce Yoga® for Depression
News & Research
In This Issue
NEWS: Vegan Cruise & Yoga
NEWS: LifeForce Yoga® Tele-Classes
RESEARCH: The Bad News
RESEARCH: The News That Validates
RESEARCH: The Good News…Laughter Yoga
RESEARCH: The Good News…Yoga Helps Breast Cancer Patients
RESEARCH: Good News for Dry Eye
BOOK REVIEW: Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide
BOOK REVIEW: Living Well with Depression and Bipolar Disorder
MEDIA REVIEW: Meditation Made Possible
BOOK REVIEW: Mindfulness Yoga
RESOURCES – LifeForce Yoga® to Beat the Blues
Issue: #15 Oct-Nov/2007
As we move once again toward cooler nights and shorter days, it’s wonderful to contemplate a kind of inner hibernation as you practice, a softening into the cave of your own body. On your mat that might mean more forward bends with soothing sounds for the chakras, balanced by heart-opening backbends. In your life, that might mean planning a retreat, a time for inward reflection and outer growth. Your yoga mat can be a time of daily retreat. You might also consider taking a longer retreat, a time to strengthen the container of your physical body and clear the space within with pranayama and kriya breathing, yoga nidra, meditation, and other yogic practices. As my friend and mentor Richard Miller says, “when you’re clear space, the barbs of life don’t stick.”
Consider joining Joan, Jesse, Maria, Carmen, Rose and me for seven days of retreat in the beautiful Tucson Mountains at Picture Rocks in early January. Yoga teachers and health care professionals may take this retreat as a training and receive Level 1 certification as LifeForce Yoga® Practitioners. To read about the faculty and learn more about the retreat and training, please visit www.yogafordepression.com
I’ll also be offering a workshop in Pittsburgh in October at Schoolhouse Yoga. And if you feel like traveling, visit the Berkshires at the most beautiful time of the year for the “LifeForce Yoga® to Beat the Blues” weekend, October 26 – 28 at Kripalu Center.
The following weekend, November 2 -4th, I’ll be in LA, at Exhale, the beautiful studio and spa in Venice Beach. For more information about “LifeForce Yoga® to Manage Your Mood,” please visit www.exhalespa.com
I want to thank my dear friends in Atlanta–Bill and his dedicated teachers at Jai Shanti Yoga, and my hosts Sarah & Frank, as well as Liz at Piedmont Hospital and Debra at the University Health Care System at the University of Georgia. Thank you all for making my first visit to Georgia easy, fun, and memorable.
And I am ever grateful to Carol & Tom in Grand Rapids, and the yoga community at Expressions of Grace Yoga for another wonderful visit to Michigan. www.expressionsofgraceyoga.com
NEWS: VEGAN CRUISE & YOGA – A Taste of Health
Join me and a host of other teachers, holistic health experts, and vegetarian chefs–some of the world’s leading authorities and experts in holistic living and natural health–for the ultimate gift for your mind, body and spirit. We’ll be cruising the Southeastern Caribbean on one of the world’s premier Italian luxury liners, the new Costa Fortuna, which combines the style and sophistication of Europe with American comforts and convenience. Visit San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Maarten, Leeward Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Grand Turk, while you dine on specially prepared vegan organic natural foods prepared by master chefs.
Cruise Dates: March 30 – April 6, 2008
Learn more at http://atasteofhealth.org/homepage_load.htm?events/presenters.htm!
NEWS: YOGA SPIRIT International Tele-Class
With global access to this class, you can call in for a live discussion and practice of the therapeutic use of Yogic sound, imagery, and breath.
Nada Yoga & Bhavana:
Using Sound and Imagery to Balance Mood
Date: Wednesday, November 14
Time: 9:00pm EST / 6:00pm PST
RESEARCH: THE BAD NEWS
Youth Suicide on the Rise
Two recent reports show significant increases in youth suicide rates between 2003 and 2004, following a steady decline since the early 1990’s.
The first study, published in the September issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry, revealed a 14 percent increase in suicide rates for youth below the age of 19 between the years 2003 and 2004–the largest year-to-year increase in this population since the agency began collecting data in 1979. The second report, published in the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, reports an 8 percent increase in suicide rates for youth between the ages of 10 and 24, following a 28 percent decrease over the last 15 years.
The American Journal of Psychiatry, September, 2007,
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Comment: Perhaps we need to expand “No Child Left Behind” to include psycho/emotional education with a nondenominational practice like Yoga.
RESEARCH: THE NEWS THAT VALIDATES
Depressioon Bad for Your Health
“Treatment of mental health conditions such as depression are a necessity, not a luxury. Mental health conditions such as depression must be treated on a par with physical health conditions,” says Dr. Somnath Chatterji, from the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland. Chatterji was the lead author on a global study that found that when compared with other chronic diseases, depression may well be the most disabling disease in the world.
Depresson, the study found, aggravates chronic physical diseases such as angina, arthritis, asthma and diabetes.
In the study, published in the Sept. 8 issue of The Lancet, Chatterji’s team perused data on more than 245,000 people from 60 countries participating in WHO’s World Health Survey.
RESEARCH: THE GOOD NEWS
Laughter Yoga Improves Job Performance & Mood
A Study conducted with employees at a behavioral health clinic in the US has shown that a non-humor based, fifteen-minute intentional laughter yoga protocol, increases self-efficacy and job performance. 33 Employees met for fifteen minutes during their lunch hour for fifteen workdays and followed the laughter yoga protocol developed by Dr. Modan Kataria, a cardiologist in Mumbai, India. Post tests at 60 and 90 days after the intervention not only showed work performance improvement but also demonstrated significant increases in self-compentency scores in all areas, including assertiveness, optimism, self-regulation, self-acceptance and self-awareness.
The protocol included a yoga posture stance for laughter, gentle yoga stretches, and abdominal laughter techniques.
The study was reported in the March, 2007 issue of The Journal of Primary Prevention. You can read the entire study at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/42522l383763u538/?p=6f239255fa2747d0baa7a7c18fb472ab&pi=1
You may also e-mail the study’s lead author, Dr. Heidi Beckman, at the University of Wisconsion Hospitals and Clinics, Health Psychology Dept at firstname.lastname@example.org
RESEARCH: THE GOOD NEWS
Yoga Helps Breast Cancer Patients
A group of breast cancer patients in New York found that a gentle weekly yoga class helped them to feel calmer and less emotionally depleted than those who did not take the class.
Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine studied 84 women breast cancer patients who took a weekly yoga class and 44 who did not.
Forty-two percent of the women were black and 31 percent were Hispanic. Women not in chemotherapy got the most benefit.
RESEARCH: GOOD NEWS FOR DRY EYE
Shirley Telles, PhD, and her colleagues at the Vivekanandra Kendra Yoga Research Foundation tested a Yoga protocol that included trataka (Yogic eye exercises) in a controlled study with two hundred and ninety one professional computer users. The subjects were randomly assigned to two groups, yoga (YG, n = 146) and wait list control (WL, n = 145). Both groups were assessed at baseline and after sixty days for self-rated visual discomfort using a standard questionnaire. During these 60 days the YG group practiced an hour of yoga daily for five days in a week and the WL group did their usual recreational activities also for an hour daily for the same duration. At 60 days there were 62 in the YG group and 55 in the WL group.
While the scores for visual discomfort of both groups were comparable at baseline, after 60 days there was a significantly decreased score in the YG group, whereas the WL group showed significantly increased scores.
Comment: Living in the desert and traveling often in airplanes, I know that trataka can help. Follow the link for the protocol used in this study. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1697802
CALENDAR HIGHLIGHTS: Fall
Pittsburgh, PA (October 14, 2007)
LifeForce Yoga® to Live Your Bliss
Learn Yogic strategies to dissolve the obstacles to the free flow of joy and love in your life.
Lenox, MA (October 21-26, 2007)
LifeForce Yoga® Practitioner Training ~ Level 2
Amy leads Level 2 of the LifeForce Practitioner Training for those that have previously taken the LifeForce Yoga® Practitioner Training.
Lenox, MA (October 26-28, 2007)
LifeForce Yoga® to Beat the Blues
Spend a fall weekend in the Berkshires with Amy as she guides you through a LifeForce Yoga® Weekend to lift and balance your mood.
Venice Beach, CA (November 2-4, 2007)
LifeForce Yoga® to Manage Your Mood
In a safe and accepting environment, you’ll learn yogic strategies that can help you maintain your optimum mental health and methods to safely release chronically held tension and repressed emotion in the physical and emotional bo
Your Home (November 14, 2007, 9pm EDT, 6pm PDT
Nada Yoga & Bhavana: Using Sound and Imagery to Balance Mood
Invite Amy into your home as she guides you through various mantras combined with images to calm and lift the mood.
Desert Redemptorist Renewal Center
Tucson, AZ (January 5-12, 2008)
LifeForce Yoga® Practitioner Training & Retreat
Join Amy in the Tucson Mountains for a 7 day retreat and training. Those taking the training will receive a Level One LifeForce Yoga® Practitioner Certification. Everyone will receive the life changing benefits of LifeForce Yoga®.
St. Augustine, FL (January 25-27, 2008)
LifeForce Yoga® Weekend
You’ll learn strategies that can help alleviate both depression and anxiety and methods to safely release chronically held tension and repressed emotion in the physical and emotional body.
For Amy’s full teaching schedule, please visit
BOOK REVIEW by Amy Weintraub
Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide,
by Pamela Miles, Tarcher/Penguin, 2006.
Reiki Master and alternative medicine healer Pamela Miles has written a master work on Reiki. Whether you practice Reiki, receive it, or have considered it as a treatment, this book is the consummate reference. Reiki is rich with healing stories from Miles’s twenty-one years of practice, often in conventional medical settings. There is a section on current research and another on specific medical applications, including a compendium of diagnoses in which Reiki may provide support as an adjunct and in some cases first-line treatment. Miles includes the results of a recent study that show a significant reduction in depression with both hands-on (first degree) Reiki, and distance Reiki (second degree) as compared to a third placebo group. The writing is so clear that reading it is akin to the balancing affect of receiving a Reiki treatment.
BOOK REVIEW by Amy Weintraub
Living Well with Depression and Bipolar Disorder: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You that You Need to Know, by John McManamy, HarperCollins, 2006Living Well with Depression
After bipolar disorder disrupted his personal and professional life, the economic journalist John McManamy began to turn his misfortune into serving others with depression and bipolar disorder. For more than eight years, his on-line, award-winning McMan’s Depression & Bipolar Weekly [LINK] has been a vital resource for those who suffer, as well as for those who treat them. In Living Well with Depression and Bipolar Disorder, McManamy offers a clear guide to the variations of the illnesses, illustrating them with often humorous, sometimes tragic, personal narratives; a vast array of research on current treatments, their contraindications, their side effects, and stories from his Weekly subscribers who have been helped or hurt by their treatments. The anecdotes make for fascinating reading.
McManamy includes the most current understanding of the structures of the brain and the neurotransmitters and how they are affected by depression, bipolar disorder, and their treatments. Through the voices of those who have experienced them, McManamy guides us through a multitude of therapies that include talking, psychopharmacological, new mechanical/electrical and magnetic brain stimulating treatments, and alternative and lifestyle remedies including, diet, exercise, meditation and yoga. He even offers suggestions on how readers might finance expensive treatments they might otherwise be unable to afford. Not only does McManamy illustrate multifarious ways to live well with depression and bipolar disorder, but he also provides families, friends, and professionals with the best ways to live with and treat those who suffer.
MEDIA REVIEW by Amy Weintraub
Meditation Made Possible, Volume 1: Meditation on the Breath with Bhavani Lorraine Nelson, www.soulflightunlimited.com, 2007.
In this home practice meditation CD, Bhavani, a senior Kripalu faculty member and international teacher, directly addresses the common misunderstandings that beginning meditators have about what constitutes a “successful” practice. “Meditation is a full package,” she says in her introduction. “It has a front and a back.” She acknowledges that both peace and restlessness may be experienced. Prior to guiding the first meditation, she helps the listener prepare by leading gentle yoga stretches for a seated practice, and a slow and mindful movement that enhances moment by moment awareness. In her guidance, she offers three options for breath awareness during meditation, and suggests that if these techniques don’t suit the listener, there are a multitude of others. “There’s a technique for everybody,” she says, and encourages listeners to explore until they find the one that’s right for them. The CD contains a twenty-minute led practice, as well as several tracks of timed silence.
If you think you can’t meditate, or you find yourself struggling to sit, Bhavani Lorraine Nelson’s Meditation Made Possible is for you. I’ve enjoyed practicing with it so much that I’m adding it to my resource list for future workshops and trainings.
BOOK REVIEW by Rose Kress
Mindfulness Yoga: The Awakened Union of Breath, Body, and Mind by Frank Jude Boccio (Wisdom Publications, 2004).
Like many of us, Boccio found his way to yoga seeking to relax and unwind. After only a few weeks of yoga he began to notice that he “left the yoga class feeling the divine bliss of heaven” but by the time he arrived home in Flushing he was back in his “own private hell.” Seeking to make that bliss last, Boccio began to study Buddhism, first through a book and then at a Japanese Soto Zendo. He noticed that often Buddhism and Yoga are held apart – you may often see classes called “Yoga & Meditation.” Through his own practice in both traditions Boccio began to unite the practices.
Mindfulness Yoga is the product of the union between Yoga and Buddhism as seen through Boccio’s eyes. The practice outlined in his book is a mindfulness meditation during yoga asana, rather than using yoga to prepare for meditation. He says that when we approach yoga-asana through mindfulness meditation, “we can achieve transformative and healing insight, and we can even free ourselves from much of our limiting and destructive patterns of thoughts and behavior.”
Mindfulness Yoga begins with Boccio’s story and moves fluidly into a history of Buddhism and it’s precepts as well as background on Yoga and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Boccio also includes instruction in mindfulness meditation. The bulk of the book is comprised of yoga sequences with pictures and modifications, which are interspersed with yogic and Buddhist teachings. He also includes appendices with Buddhist Sutras pertaining to this practice. Mindfulness Yoga is a wonderful addition to any library and everyone’s yoga practice.
RESOURCES – LifeForce Yoga® DVD
LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues – Level 1
“LifeForce Yoga® to Beat the Blues is a blending of art, science, research and Amy’s years of dedication to mastering the practice of Yoga. This is a DVD that I will enjoy, and continue to learn from, for years to come.” – Richard Miller, PhD – President, The Center of Timeless Being; author, Yoga Nidra: The Meditative Heart of Yoga
“No matter what your mood, Amy’s unique LifeForce Yoga® program will bring you balance and joy. I loved this practice!” – Lilias Folan, PBS Host; author, Lilias! Yoga Gets Better with Age
· 75 minute video (DVD) practice, led by Amy Weintraub
· 12 Programmable Chapters shot in HD
· Original music by William Chapman + Music from Krishna Das, MJ Bindu Delekta
· Includes a Study Guide booklet
· Shot on-location in Tucson, AZ by Emmy- award winning Director of Photography, Dan Duncan.
***Winner of 4 Bronze Telly Awards!***
Cultivating Will: Standing Poses
Will and Willingness: Backbending Poses
Will and Surrender: Forward Bends and Twists
Surrender: Yoga Nidra
This unique DVD showcases the integrative practice of LifeForce Yoga® designed especially for mood management. Invite Amy into your home to lead you through comprehensive breathing techniques, toning, and postures to awaken your physical energy and calm your busy mind.
Shot on location in Tucson, Arizona, Amy invites practitioners into the loving embrace of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Kwan Yin, “she who hears the cries of the world.” In the sacred space Amy creates, students begin to feel and safely experience their bodies and their emotions. The practice culminates with yoga nidra, or deep relaxation, in which participants integrate the experience and return to full wakefulness feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
For more information and to order, please visit Amy’s web site: www.yogafordepression.com
Free Weekly Yoga Sutra of Pantajali with commentary by Nischala Joy Devi
Starting September 1st, The author of “The Secret Power of Yoga” is offering a
free weekly, positive-heart felt Yoga Sutra of Pantajali with commentary, via email.
Taper Safely Lynn Michaels, who is concerned about the side effects of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants, the SSRIs, has founded a nonprofit organization and website to educate consumers on the potential dangers of antidepressants. The site safe & natural alternatives to SSRIs, including Yoga.
McMan’s Depression and Bipolar Weekly
In his excellent on-line newsletter, editor/writer John McManamy reports on current research, particularly related to pharmaceuticals. However, he also keeps readers in the know about complementary treatments, new books and other resources. You can subscribe by emailing
International Association of Yoga Therapists
This organization maintains a vast database of Yoga research, a library, publishes a yearly journal, and a tri annual newsletter with current research and articles. In addition, IAYT maintains a searchable online member database, which folks can use to locate a Yoga therapist/teacher in their vicinity. (They currently do not do any verification of training and experience). If you are a health professional, a Yoga teacher or therapist, or have an interest in Yoga therapeutics, I encourage you to become a member. www.iayt.org
A warm Jai Bhagwan,
LifeForce Yoga® Healing Institute
“Amy Weintraub’s work is some of the most important in our world today for helping humanity understand more deeply the significane of the mind-body connection. 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
“Amy Weintraub’s Yoga for Depression belongs in the hands of every person who expereinces depression and in the library of every therapist who works with people suffereing from depression.” – Richard C. Miller, PhD, author of Yoga Nidra: The Meditative Heart of Yoga and founding editor of The International Journal of Yoga Therapy