Issue 20

LifeForce Yoga® for Depression

News & Research

Issue #20 Winter/2008

This is a special announcement to let you know about several new resources (including my own) that support optimum mental health through Yoga and a just-published outcome study measuring the LiFeForce Yoga protocol’s effect on mood. In terms of resources, two wonderful new books that include yoga as treatment for depression and other mental health issues are reviewed below. Each book has the potential to advance mental health care in ways that empower the client, increasing self-efficacy and perhaps diminishing the need for psychopharmacologicals. Using Herbs, Nutrients and Yoga in Mental Health Care belongs on every health professional’s book shelf, and, for the mental health consumer, Unstuck is the friendliest and most informative book on treating depression I’ve read. Place these two books beside The Chemistry of Joy and Yoga for Depression, and you’ll have a solid library for dealing with mood issues from a yogic and alternative medicine point of view.

As to other resources, I’m happy to say that I’ve finally recorded the yoga Nidra CD that so many of you have been asking for – LifeForce Yoga Nidra to Manage Your Mood.

Amidst the joy of connecting with old friends and new on the East Coast this past month in Ohio, Pennsylvania, at Kripalu in Lenox, and at Yogaville in Virginia, my mother died. She had lived in the Purgatory of Alzheimer’s Disease for the last seven years, so her release was a blessing. Still sadness is there and also concern for my dear father, living on without her. As always, I am grateful for my practice which allows the grief to flow through without freezing into the ice of depression.

And I am blessed to know so many of you. The connection I feel with you is truly the antidote to depression.

A loving namasté,


In This Issue

NEWS: LifeForce Yoga® Study Published

LifeForce Yoga® In The News

NEWS: LifeForce Yoga® Nidra

LifeForce Yoga® Tucson Retreat & Training


BOOK REVIEW: How to Use Herbs, Nutrients & Yoga








The International Journal of Yoga Therapy contains a scientific article featuring a study with outcome statistics on the effectiveness of LifeForce Yoga to improve depression.

To become and IAYT Member and receive the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, visit

For more information on the study, contact the study’s author, Shannon Bennet, MA at Sat Bir Singh Khalsa was the lead investigator.


New York City based journalist Joelle Hann wrote an article about Yoga Therapy that features LifeForce Yoga®. She interviewed me and LifeForce Yoga® Level 2 Practitioner Margot Anderson who lives in the Chicago area. The piece appears in the national edition of the following magazines: GAIA NY, Conscious Choice, Whole Life Times, Common Ground, and The only difference is in the sidebar where sources listed are appropriate to individual markets–Seattle, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, and New York. Click on your link below!



San Francisco:


NY: there is no link! You have to wait for the print copy.


Standford University Psychologist and Yoga teacher Kelly McGonigal, who is also editor in chief of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy wrote an article in the November issue of Yoga Journal for which she interviewed me and Phoenix Rising Practitioner, author Elissa Cobb. It’s accessible to the general reader/practitioner and yet chock full of content.


As a guest teacher, I was interviewed about my own journey and LifeForce Yoga® by Kasey Luber for this international yoga site. Please visit:


I actually use this practice myself! I’m very happy with this CD and grateful to my Center of Timeless Being colleagues, friends and teachers Richard Miller, Joan Ruvinsky and Clearlight Gerard for their inspiration and support. To listen on-line, click through my audio page to CD Baby.

LifeForce Yoga Nidra

LifeForce Yoga® Nidra

to Manage Your Mood & Relaxation for Sleep

Yoga Nidra is a form of meditative self-inquiry that, while relaxing the body, opens the mind to greater discernment and self-awareness, and the heart to love and acceptance of what is. It is a powerful tool for clearing away your limiting beliefs and emotions and for living from a more balanced (satvic) state of mind. Practiced regularly, it can be a pathway to awakening.

When we find ourselves constricting in anger or grief, the practice of Yoga Nidra can immediately dissolve the constriction and progressively change our established mental patterns, so that when strong emotion does arise, we may begin to witness and welcome it, inquiring into its antecedents, without the need to react.

Long Yoga Nidra Practice: 41:47

When you have the time to practice it, this Yoga Nidra will take you through a deep relaxation of all aspects of your being (koshas), increasing your physical vitality and strengthening your emotional and mental resilience in the face of life’s challenges.

Short Yoga Nidra Practice: 21:23

When your time is limited, this Yogic meditation will balance and harmonize your mood, relax your mind, and give your body a boost of physical energy.

Relax into Sleep: 8:40

This relaxation practice is designed to help you fall asleep.

Recorded by Bill Cashman at the Cavern Studios Tucson

NEWS: LifeForce Yoga Tucson Retreat & Training

Tucson LifeForce Yoga® Healing Retreat & Training,

January 17th – 23rd, 2009

There is still space available. Click here.

Afi and Karen working on CamelThis program is open to all yoga practitioners, including beginners. Join Amy and master teachers from the US and Canada for a healing week of yoga and deep rest among the saguaros and the ancient petroglyphs, even as you learn yogic strategies to manage your mood and empower your students and clients to manage theirs.

If participating in the training, health professionals, psychotherapists, and yoga teachers will have extended hours and may receive certification. CEUs: Yoga Alliance, NASW-AZ.

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.


If you would like more information about a program, or to register, click on the Program Title


Atlanta, GA (Nov 21 – 23, 2008)

LifeForce Yoga® from Blues to Bliss!

Amy returns to Atlanta to lead a weekend program on LifeForce Yoga®, an evidence-based protocol that sustains optimum mental health.


Paradise Island, Bahamas (Nov 24 – 30, 2008)

Thanksgiving Symposium: LifeForce Yoga® from Blues to Bliss

Amy leads classes and workshops on LifeForce Yoga®, an evidence-based yoga protocol that weaves the ancient wisdom of yoga with current brain science.


Tucson, AZ (January 17 – 23, 2009)

LifeForce Yoga® Retreat & Practitioner Training Level 1

Retreat is open to all levels. You don’t have to be a yoga teacher or psychotherapist to attend. Professionals will receive training, CEUs, and certification.


Lenox, MA (January 30 – February 1, 2009)

LifeForce Yoga® to Manage Your Mood

Amy leads a weekend workshop on how you can use Yoga to manage your mood.


Bisbee, AZ (February 13 – 16, 2009)

LifeForce Yoga® WorkshopLifeForce Yoga®: From Blues to Bliss

During this weekend event, Amy will lead the LifeForce Yoga® Chakra Clearing Meditation. Monday, following the Expo, Amy will give a day-long intensive.


Tucson, AZ (March 13 – 15, 2009)

General admission for this event is free.


Chicago, IL (March 20 – 22, 2009)

LifeForce Yoga® to Manage Your Mood

Learn to assess the mood–yours and your students–and design a menu of practices to meet it.


Washington D.C. (March 26 – 29, 2009)

Psychotherapy Networker Symposium

Amy is the LifeForce Yoga® Facilitator leading morning yoga, afternoon meditations, an all-day Creativity Intensive, and a clinical-applications workshop.


Silver Spring, MD (March 29, 2009)

LifeForce Yoga® to Manage Your Mood

In a safe and accepting environment, Amy will teach you 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 body.

For Amy’s full teaching schedule, please visit

BOOK REVIEW: How to Use Herbs, Nutrients & Yoga in Mental Health Care

How to Use Herbs, Nutrients & Yoga in Mental Health Care

Richard Brown, MD

Patricia Gerbarg, MD

Philip Muskin, MD

How to Use Herbs, Nutrients and Yoga

Psychiatrists and psychopharmacologists Gerbarg, Brown & Muskin are researchers, academicians and clinicians, experts in integrative medicine. Together, they have written a book that has the potential to revolutionize mainstream medical education and provide current medical and mental health professionals the confidence to integrate complementary and alternative treatments into their practice and onto their prescription pads. From herb and nutrient dosages to drug interactions to evidence-based mind-body interventions for psychiatric disorders, including contraindications, this exhaustive guide is the most thorough and well-written book I know for professionals. Even for the lay reader, How to Use Herbs, Nutrients, and Yoga in Mental Health Care is accessible and stimulating reading. And it’s the perfect gift for your therapist!

The doctors’ approach includes the use of nutraceuticals, herbs, nutrients, Ayurveda, homeopathy, hormone therapy, mind-body interventions like yoga, yogic breathing and meditation, off-label use of prescription medication, and vitamins in treating a number of diagnostic categories. This is a comprehensive compendium that not only investigates and proposes these complementary and alternative treatment modalities, but includes recommendations for dosage levels, along with a thorough guide to possible drug interactions, side-effects and contraindications. Separate sections explore treatment considerations for mood disorders, anxiety disorders, cognition and memory disorders, attention deficit disorder and learning disabilities, psychosis including schizophrenia, medical illnesses, substance abuse issues, treating medication side effects and improving sexual functioning and arousal. In each category, the doctors present the evidence for the various treatments, clinical case studies, and information to help clinicians titrate traditional allopathic medical interventions with complementary treatment.

If you care about sustaining optimum mental health, memory, and sexual enjoyment-your own, your patients, clients, students, and family’s-How to Use Herbs, Nutrients, and Yoga in Mental Health Care is essential reading. I learned a lot and will use this book as a primary reference, not only in working Yogically with people suffering from depression and anxiety, but for my own optimal well-being.


Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression

James S Gordon, MDUnstuck

James Gordon is a psychiatrist who partners with his patients, empowering them to manage their moods and discover ways that support their optimum mental health. He’s that sort of author, too. Just take a look at the “Your” in the title. In the voice of a trusted intimate, Dr. Gordon addresses the reader directly. Early in the book, he makes a promise he keeps: “As you read Unstuck, I’ll be by your side, explaining and guiding you through every stage of your healing journey, leading you in exercises and experiments that you can use to explore and resolve the difficulties that trouble you.” Each chapter includes practical tools for both self-inquiry and self-care, guided by the doctor’s compassionate voice. He generously offers guidance in complementary and alternative treatments that could put traditional psychiatry out of business.

Dr. Gordon received his medical education at Harvard and extended his understanding of mental health treatment through his studies with master teachers in ancient healing traditions that include Yoga, meditation, herbs and supplements, and Chinese Medicine.

His educational background combined with his passion for exploring what works from all cultures and traditions set him in good stead when he founded the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, D.C. where he and his staff have treated tens of thousands of patients since 1991.

From his forty years of clinical experience, Gordon is able to say what a yoga teacher, even with the backing of scientific evidence cannot: antidepressant drugs are “last resort rather than a first choice.”

If you have mood issues and you want a non-drug approach to treating them; if you’re willing to commit to a program that demands your daily participation, then this book is for you.

SERVING OUR TROOPS – Give an Hour Yoga

Give an Hour (, an organization created for mental health professionals to donate an hour a week to vets returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, and their loved ones, would also like to invite the yoga community to volunteer.

Send your contact information (name, email address, studio name and address, phone number, and what you can offer by way of classes) to Jean Morra,, and she will ensure you are listed as yoga providers on the Give an Hour website. Please use the subject line: Give an Hour Yoga.



Gita (Jill) Fendelman, a Kripalu-certified Hatha Yoga teacher for over 30 years, who has trained with and been certified by Dr. Madan Kataria, founder of the World Laughter Movement, will be offering a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader Training, January 24 & 25 in Tucson, Arizona.

Here’s what Gita says about the training:

Train and be certified in the innovative, life-changing technique of laughter as a physical, mental and emotional health management tool. Laughter reduces stress, enhances the immune system, helps manage pain and often relieves depression. Learn the many benefits of laughter, how to make a living teaching Laughter Yoga, market your services, start and run a laughter club.

For more information, visit: 520-777-7544

Gita was a big hit at the Tucson Retreat and Training last year. So we have invited her back to offer a session of Laughter Yoga during the Tucson LifeForce Yoga® Retreat and Training in January.



2 Award-winning, LifeForce Yoga® to Beat the Blues,

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 2

LEVEL 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:


Resources by leaders in the field of yoga and mental health that Amy recommends (books, CD’s & DVD’s) are available at Carol Hendershot’s online store Expressions Yoga. Many of the resources Amy uses during her workshops can be found here, including the music.

For wholesale orders, please contact Rose Kress at



Tools for deepening your awareness from the Center of Timeless Being by Richard Miller, Ph.D.

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.

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.
“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 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.
“Words do not do justice to all that I learned. This workshop changed my life!” — Jen Nolan, Teacher, Cortland, 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
“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 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 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
“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.
“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 gained tools for working with my own depression and with my clients’ depressions.” — Robert Sgona, LCSW, RYT, psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, Camden, ME.
“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 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 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.
“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
“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 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
“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 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
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 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 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
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