LifeForce Yoga® for Depression
News & Research
Issue: # 18 Spring/Summer 2008
“Take your practiced powers and stretch them out
until they span the chasm between two contradictions…”
~Ranier Maria Rilke
Decisions, decisions! Do they produce anxiety for You? Sometimes they do for me. Not making a decision is always a decision in the long run. On the other hand, sometimes we make a sudden and impulsive move to allay the discomfort of uncertainty. It may be a good choice–or not. “A peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one,” says Rita Mae Brown.
I have a new strategy for staying present to that inner conflict and allowing myself to bask in the discomfort, until it’s time to choose. It’s a self-inquiry I’ve added to my meditation, and it seems to be helping.
First, I practice a breathing exercise like bellows breath to clear the space.
Then I may do a bit of mantra chanting.
Next I’ll ask that clarity and compassion flow through me so that I can make the best choice for all concerned.
Then I visualize a possible outcome of a particular choice with as much detail as possible. For me, it helps to write it out, then visualize it.
I ask my body to respond to the images.
I notice what’s happening with my breath.
When I finish this inquiry, I write down what I noticed, and what I feel about what I noticed. I stick to observations and feelings about the visualization, not the decision itself.
In my next meditative inquiry, I’ll repeat the process, visualizing an imagined scene were I to make a different choice.
So far, I still haven’t made up my mind, but I’m more comfortable in the unknowing!
May it be easy for you.
In addition to research, news, and calendar highlights for the summer, Tucson Yoga teacher and LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Barbara Sherman reviews Elissa Cobb’s book: The Forgotten Body: A way of Knowing and Understanding Self.
I hope to meet you in the light of Yoga this summer! Please see my schedule below. www.yogafordepression.com/workshops.htm
In This Issue
ANNOUNCEMENT: LifeForce Yoga® Practitioner Training
NEWS: LifeForce Yoga Mood Study Accepted for Publication
NEWS: Level 2 DVD Released
RESEARCH: Brain Stimulation and Depression
BOOK REVIEW: The Forgotten Body: A Way of Knowing and Understanding Self
ANNOUNCEMENT: LIFEFORCE YOGA® PRACTITIONER TRAINING
There are 2 LifeForce Yoga® Practitioner Level 1 Trainings scheduled for the next year. Prerequisites for Certification: Yoga Teachers (200 hr), Psychotherapists, Health Professionals.
LifeForce Yoga Training for Anxiety and Depression, Kripalu, Lenox, MA, July 6th – 11th. Registration for this program has begun, click here, or call 800-741-7353.
This is a professional certification training open to Yoga teachers, psychotherapists, and other health professionals. CEUs.
Tucson LifeForce Yoga® Healing Retreat & Training, January 17th – 23rd, 2009. Registration has begun, click here. Early Bird Rates and Discounts are available now.
This program is open to all yoga practitioners, including beginners.
If participating in the training, health professionals, psychotherapists, and yoga teachers will have extended hours and may receive certification. CEUs.
While you may come if you are working with mood issues, the retreat is not appropriate for those in the acute phase of PTSD, major depression, Bipolar I, or any other psychiatric diagnosis. If you have any questions about this, please write us.
NEWS: LifeForce Yoga Mood Study Accepted for Publication
The LifeForce Yoga Mood Study, which measured participants’ moods two weeks, then two months after attending 4- or 5-day LifeForce Yoga workshops and trainings, has been accepted for publication by The International Journal of Yoga Therapy. Participants learned the LifeForce Yoga protocol at trainings in Tucson, AZ, at Kripalu Center, Mount Madonna, and the Omega Institute. Results show a significant improvement in mood after two weeks of home practice that was maintained two months later.
If you would like to see a preview of the study, please write investigator Shannon Bennett, MA, at email@example.com. Harvard researcher Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, PhD, was the lead investigator.
NEWS: LIFEFORCE YOGA® LEVEL 2 RELEASED
For those of you wanting a more vigorous practice that includes the meditative aspects of LifeForce Yoga®, the new DVD is now available. Amy guides mantra, mudra and pranayama breathing throughout the asana practice that is focused on self-awareness. Produced and directed by the same award-winning team that brought you the high production values in the Level 1 practice, the DVD was shot in Tucson, includes a deeply restorative Yoga Nidra relaxation, and is an hour and twenty-five minutes in length. The video is divided into chapters, so the practices can be viewed independently or together.
For more information and to order, please visit www.yogafordepression.com.
For wholesale orders of ten or more, please contact Rose Kress at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RESEARCH: Brain Stimulation and Depression – Yogic and Medical
There is money to be made from the 4 billion people who suffer from depression, and companies are lining up to treat it with a variety of surgical brain stimulating techniques.
Following the vagus nerve stimulation technology, developed by Cyberonics that the FDA approved last year for the treatment of major depression, there are a number of brain stimulation strategies being tested, some of which will likely come to market in the next few years. Each company’s strategy involves invasive surgery and has side effects.
If you look closely at the research, whether it’s the St Jude system of sending electric pulses through invasively implanted electrodes in the “Brodmann Area 25” of the brain, an area that researchers believe is linked to severe depression or Medtronic, which targets a different area of the brain for electrical stimulation, or Northstar Neuroscience, which is testing a system that stimulates the outer surface of the brain, or cortex, only about half those tested responded. As measured by the companies who are developing the products, the shift in mood, after about six months of treatment was 40 – 50% amongst the 56% that responded.
Over several millennia, yogis have perfected a non-invasive technology, a brain stimulating treatment for depression called “Skull Shining Breath.” (Kapalabhati). There’s also solid evidence to support “Sudharshan Kriya,” a breathing practice taught in the US by the Art of Living Foundation, as a treatment for major depression, with a far better outcome (67 – 73% improvement in mood) than the expensive and invasive brain stimulating techniques under development.
In June, I’ll be in California, teaching “LifeForce Yoga: From Blues to Bliss” at the Mount Madonna Center. I’ll travel east in July to teach the 5-day LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training (42 CEUs) at Kripalu Center and a LifeForce Yoga Mood Management Weekend at Omega Institute over the 4th of July holiday weekend. In August, I’ll make my first visit to the Cape Cod Institute, offering a professional seminar for the mental health community called LifeForce Yoga: Empower Your Clients to Manage their Moods. Then, I’ll return to the Boston area to teach a one-day intensive at the Arlington Center.
I feel happy to be visiting Hollyhock in September for the first time. It promises to be a beautiful retreat center on an island in British Columbia.
Please join me in the light of Yoga at one of these events!
For more information on a program, or to register, click on the program title.
Watsonville, CA (June 13 – 17, 2008)
LifeForce Yoga: From Blues to Bliss
Amy will help you cultivate the compassionate inner space that allows you to embrace life’s challenges with a peaceful mind and a courageous heart.
Rhinebeck, NY (Jul 4 – 6, 2008)
LifeForce Yoga® to Beat the Blues
Amy leads a weekend LifeForce Yoga® retreat that will leave you feeling balanced and revitalized.
Lenox, MA (Jul 6 – 11, 2008)
LifeForce Yoga® Practitioner Training Level 1
In this professional training, learn to help your students and clients focus, relax, and manage their moods using ancient yogic strategies. CEUs
Cape Cod Institute
Eastham, MA (Aug 4 – 8, 2008)
LifeForce Yoga®: Empower Your Clients to Manage Their Moods
Amy leads a course on using yogic techniques in clinical settings. CEUs
Arlington, MA (August 10, 2008)
LifeForce Yoga® Intensive to Manage Your Mood
Amy will guide a practice of emotion-regulating pranayama, kriyas, and mantras, mood-lifting meditations and guided visualizations, and yoga asanas suitable for all levels.
Cortes Island, BC CANADA (Sep 6 – 10, 2008)
LifeForce Yoga® for Depression & Anxiety
Amy leads a 5 day retreat on the southeastern beach of Cortes Island where you will learn yogic tools to help you regulate your mood.
For Amy’s full teaching schedule, please visit
BOOK REVIEW: The Forgotten Body: A Way of Knowing and Understanding Self by Elissa Cobb
By Barbara Sherman, RYT 500, LFYP-1
The Forgotten BodyIn this elegant memoir-enhanced guide to self-awareness, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy co-director Elissa Cobb writes with clarity about the wisdom of the body. She presents convincing testimony that, “The body is an essential, yet often forgotten, source of knowledge…” Through journal entries, she reveals moments of self-discovery in her practice of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy. Elissa surrounds personal experience with anecdotal evidence from others, empowering quotes, inspiring poetry and evidence from scientific inquiry.
Science and poetry spiral around each other as Elissa takes us into the world of neuroscience. She informs us of the “biochemical potential for thought throughout the body,” and expresses wonder for the “sentience of cells”. She connects these contemporary investigations with the ancient concept of samskaras and offers us a poem from her journal about untying the knots of tension in her body.
Elissa convincingly proclaims that cellular memory “is the key to our self-understanding.” She maintains that these deeply hidden memories have much to teach us. Diving into her body, Elissa faces and eventually embraces the painful memories of her past. “The authentic self that I am discovering, through experiencing my body, is the subtlest part of me that is never unconscious. It is the “part” of me that is abiding wisdom…”
To help the reader understand the concepts presented in her book, Elissa includes both physical exercises and meditations. These are simple yet profound. Her meditation on imagining yourself as a droplet of water is a breathtaking metaphor for demystifying consciousness.
Reading this book is like being on a long journey with the author. Her spirit is in her words as if they, like cells, were sentient beings reaching out on every page. Just when I thought I was lost in a concept too overwhelming, a sentence or phrase would touch me deeply. Just when I got that itchy feeling to skip ahead, a seed of truth would appear and I found myself slowing down to plant it.
More than memoir, this book is a tantalizing look at cellular structure and the nature of consciousness. It is a joyful, sometimes frightening revelation of our potential for jivan-mukti, becoming fully awake in this lifetime, aware of our divinity as well as our humanity.
RESOURCES: LifeForce Yoga®
2 Award-winning, 75-minute videos (DVD) practice,
led by Amy Weintraub
· Programmable Chapters
· Original music
· Includes a Study Guide booklet
· Shot on-location in Tucson, AZ by Emmy-award winning Director of Photography, Dan Duncan.
In both Level 1 & Level 2 DVDs, Amy Weintraub, MFA, E-RYT 500, author of the book Yoga for Depression (Broadway Books), offers a comprehensive sequence of breathing techniques, toning, and postures to lift and balance the mood.
Level 1LEVEL 1 – In this gentle, beginning, yet invigorating video yoga practice, Amy invites practitioners into the loving embrace of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Quan 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.
***Winner of 4 Bronze Telly Awards***
Music by William Chapman, Krishna Das, & MJ Bindu Delekta
Level 2LEVEL 2 – Amy offers modifications throughout this more challenging sequence of postures. Here, Amy invokes the energy of Shiva in his incarnation as the Fire Dancer Nataraja, guiding viewers to stay present to the sensations in their bodies, cultivating self-awareness as they burn away what is no longer serving them. The practice ends with an invitation to allow the awakened prana to guide the practitioner into her own flow of poses before transitioning into Yoga Nidra.
Music by Master Charles ~ Synchronicity & MJ Bindu Delekta
“A rare gem. This is a DVD that I will enjoy, and continue to learn from, for years to come.”-Richard Miller, PhD – President, 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
“This is a wonderful testament to self-acceptance, the sentiment at the core of beating the blues.”-LA Yoga
For more information or to order, please visit:
iREST YOGA NIDRA
Tools for deepening your awareness from the Center of Timeless Being by Richard Miller, Ph.D.
Free Weekly Yoga Sutra of Pantajali with commentary by Nischala Joy Devi
The author of “The Secret Power of Yoga” is offering a free weekly, positive-heart felt Yoga Sutra of Pantajali with commentary, via email.
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.
Have a Healthy Mind
Dr. Richard P. Brown and Dr. Patricia L. Gerbarg offer integrative approaches for mental health and brain function that include herbs, nutrients, yoga, yogic breathing and meditation based on their research and clinical experience as psychiatrists and psycho-pharmacologists.