Issue 15

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

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

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.

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!

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


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.


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.


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:

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


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.


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.


Schoolhouse Yoga

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.

Exhale Center

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

Yoga Spirit

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®.

Discovery 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,, 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).

Mindfulness Yoga

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!***


Joint Warm-ups

Centering Meditation

Breathing Exercises

Warm-up Poses

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:


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.

A warm Jai Bhagwan,

Amy Weintraub

LifeForce Yoga® Healing Institute

Tucson, Arizona

“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

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

“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
“Words do not do justice to all that I learned. This workshop changed my life!” — Jen Nolan, Teacher, Cortland, NY
“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 gained perspective of who I am in the world and this will change my life significantly.” — Mary Ford, artist, Southport, CT
“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.
“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.
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 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 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
“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 gained tools for working with my own depression and with my clients’ depressions.” — Robert Sgona, LCSW, RYT, psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, Camden, ME.
“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
“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
“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
“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 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
“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 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
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