Issue 23

LifeForce Yoga® for Depression

News & Research

Issue: #23 August/2009

As I was preparing this newsletter, my beloved father, Milton “Mickey” Weintraub, died at 91, after a long and fulfilling life. Even as I grieve him deeply, I am nourished by the sound of his voice, saying the special name he had for me. I will always hear that in my heart. As I watch myself smile appreciatively at his picture, through my tears, a gratefulness arises. In the years that I lived with depression, there was just the numbness. “Aimzee,” I say to myself in his voice, “what a big, juicy heart you have.” When depression was present, my heart felt shrunken and cold. Now it is alive with tenderness for Aimzee and her dear Dad.

Enjoy your practice and take it outdoors to embrace whatever the day brings. In my grief and my gratitude, I am outside breathing.



“…There is no way to look ahead,/ or read the ending/ first. The luminous/ now is never done/ with its surprises.”

~ Danna Faulds, “The Luminous Now,” Limitless

(Reviewed below)

In This Issue

LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training Level 1

RESEARCH: Yoga Decreases Weight and Lowers Cholesterol

RESEARCH: Yoga & Meditation Shown to be Beneficial for Musicians

RESEARCH: Depression in Young Children


NEWS: Yoga Therapy in the News


Calendar Highlights

REVIEW: Limitless by Danna Faulds

Media Mention

LifeForce Yoga Resources

Resources Amy Recommends


Registration for the LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training for Depression and Anxiety ~ Level 1 has begun. Take advantage of the Early Bird Rate until October 1st.

LifeForce Yoga Training

As part of your registration, you will receive a 150+ page manual, room and board, and CEUs. Mention that you read about the training in the current newsletter and you will receive a LifeForce Yoga T-shirt (while supplies last).

RESERACH: Yoga and Obesity

Researcher Shirley Telles and her colleagues at Patanjali Yogpeeth, in Haridwar, India, found that forty-seven obese subjects who participated in a six-day residential yoga and diet change camp lost weight and lowered overall cholesterol. Since participants practiced five hours of yoga daily, and ate a lacto-ovo vegetarian high fiber diet, the results are not surprising. However, according to the researchers, a previous study showed that the same yoga program as that of the present study reduced total cholesterol. The researchers think that the decrease in high density lipoprotein (HDL) seen in the present study, but not in the earlier one, may be related to the change in diet. Improvements were noted in waist and hip circumferences, and postural stability and bilateral hand grip strength increased (a marker of overall musculoskeletal strength). A decrease in fasting serum leptin levels was suggestive of an improvement in energy balance. According to Dr Telles, the intense yoga program and diet did cause weight loss, “but it is most likely water and even muscle. On the other hand yoga does help to increase stability and changes a chemical call leptin which may ultimately help people to regulate their energy expenditure and appetite.”

Though the yoga intervention included postures, the emphasis was on yogic breathing, which included both pranayama and kriya (vigorous cleansing breath).

The results of this study will be published in their entirety in Medical Science Monitor, December, 2009.

RESEARCH: Yoga & Meditation Shown Good for Musicians

In a study published in August, 2009, in Applied Psychophysiology Biofeedback, researchers from Harvard Medical School found that Yoga and meditation helps musicians alleviate performance anxiety, stress and mood disturbance. In addition, performance-related musculoskeletal problems were reduced and cognitive and physical performance were enhanced. The study was designed and conducted by Sat Bir Khalsa, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Associate Neuroscientist, and and Stephen Cope, MSW, director of the Institute for Extraordinary Living at Kripalu Center in Lenox, MA and their associates. The researchers measured young professional musicians in residence at the Tanglewood Institute who volunteered to participate in a two month program. The participants were randomly divided into two groups who attended three yoga and meditation classes per week. One of these groups also participated in an immersive treatment that included lifestyle intervention. A third control group did not practice yoga. At the end of the program, Both yoga groups showed a trend towards less music performance anxiety and significantly less general anxiety/tension, depression, and anger at end-program relative to controls.

Abstracted from: “Yoga Ameliorates Performance Anxiety and Mood Disturbance in Young Professional Musicians,” Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2009 Aug 6. Khalsa, SB; Shorter, SM; Cope, S; Wyshak, G; Sklar, E.

RESEARCH: Depression in Young Children

According to a study published in the August issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, major depression can become chronic even in very young children similar to what happens in older children and adults. In children as young as three, depression may manifest as a persistent lack of appetite, sleep problems, and frequent irritability, in addition to biting, kicking or hitting.

Depression was reported to be more common among children born to depressed mothers or those with mood disorders along with those who had experienced traumatic events such as the death of a parent or physical or sexual abuse.

Pre- and post-natal yoga classes can give depressed mothers yogic tools to work with their moods as well as providing the support of a community of women who share their concerns. If mothers are less depressed, their children will be too. Depression is a social disease.

To read more about preschool depression:


Researchers from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington in Seattle created the Mindfulness Eating Questionnaire, a 28-item survey to determine the degree to which people practice mindful eating. Those with a yoga practice reported more mindful eating habits than those who walked or exercised moderately to vigorously. The results of this study suggest that a person wishing to modify their diet, or lose weight, would be served by adding yoga into their daily routine.

Study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association:

An article published about the study can be found in the LA Times:

NEWS: Yoga Therapy in the News

Dr. Elizabeth Visceglia, a psychiatrist and yoga therapist in New York, along with others in the field are featured in a recent Time CNN article about the ways in which therapists are integrating yoga in the treatment room.

Visceglia is in the process of analyzing data from a study she conducted at Bronx State Psychiatric Center on the effects of yoga therapy in people with chronic schizophrenia, some of whom have been hospitalized for 15 to 20 years. Her study suggests a decrease in negative symptoms and an increase in quality of life. The endocrine system and parasympathetic nervous system are out of whack in schizophrenia patients; yoga affects these systems, Visceglia says, leading to an increased overall feeling of calm.

Bo Forbes, a Boston psychologist and yoga therapist points out that mental health professionals need extensive yoga training to safely teach postures. However, trainings such as the LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training, which does not teach postures, can give psychotherapists tools from yogic tradition that are appropriate for a clinical setting to help their clients focus, relax and have greater access to feeling states.

Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy Training is also designed for both yoga teachers and other healing professionals, including psychotherapists. In this modality, touch is involved, as well as the safe and therapeutic holding of a single posture.

To read the entire article:,8599,1891271,00.html


The Aug 20th issue of the Detroit News contains a discussion about yoga and depression. Both Amy and Elle Garfield (Level 2 Practioner) are featured in the article.


Circle Yoga

Washington, DC (September 11)

LifeForce Yoga: Balancing Mood Through Challenging Times

Due to the passing of Amy’s father and a period of bereavement this workshop has been cancelled.


Buckingham, VA (September 18 – 20)

LifeForce Yoga® to Meet Your Challenges

*20% discount for online registration by September 2.

Vancouver Yoga Conference

Vancouver, BC, Canada (October 3 – 5)

Vancouver Yoga Conference

Amy will be leading several workshops over the weekend conference.

Amy in Atlanta

Expressions of Grace Yoga

Grand Rapids, MI (October 23 – 25)

LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood

Internal Family Systems Annual Conference

Chicago, IL (October 29 – 31)

2009 Internal Family Systems Annual Conference

Kripalu Center

Lenox, MA (November 13 – 15)

LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood

The Lotus Pond

Tampa, FL (December 6, 2009)

Joyful Breathing, Joyful Breath

An all day workshop, 9am – 4pm.

Desert Renewal Center

Tucson, AZ (January 11 – 17, 2010)

LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training for Depression & Anxiety ~ Level 1

This is a certification training for yoga teachers and mental health professionals. Those who have attended the Tucson retreat and training previously may also attend at a reduced rate. If you are not a yoga teacher or mental health professional, but have taken at least one LifeForce Yoga weekend program, please consult with Amy for permission to attend. For more information and to register:

To view Amy’s full teaching schedule,

please visit:

REVIEW: Limitless by Danna Faulds


Danna Faulds new book of poems and short prose is her best to date. This is spiritual maturity manifest in writing, no easy task. Faulds manages to give voice to that which is unspeakable–our deepest knowing arising from moments of stillness when we know nothing, feel everything, are endless and yet embodied. This book arises from her dedicated practice that began in hatha yoga–her touchstone, she calls it now–and has come to rest and flourish on her meditation cushion.

Fauld’s writing practice is intimately woven into her meditation practice. Sometimes prose arises, begun with the phrase, “This is what I have to say to you,” as though giving voice to limitlessness. Sometimes an inspirational poem arises like “Open.”

Nothing to wall out

or hold in.

Open like the

wide sky at twilight.

Open as the ocean

or the reach of the unknown.

Open as a heart

that chooses not to close.

Faulds is at her best when she finds the every day, the concrete object, the nature image to reflect the magnitude of being, as she does in a prose piece:

“…When a cardinal sings in your yard, something very like a cat picks up its ears a hundred light years from here. When you feel grateful for your life, across the world, someone’s heart lifts for no apparent reason. The universe is like that, invisible threads connecting the granite bones of mountains with black holes, earthworms joined with sound waves, coke cans inextricably linked to crocuses…”

True, some poems have a didactic feel. Language is like that when it reaches for ultimate truths. But at her most abstract, at her teachiest, Fauld’s lessons are authentic and inspiring, as this from a prose poen: “When the entire universe blazes into being, take it all inside yourself, without exception.” Nothing is false here. And one can forgive a lesson for a line like: “…the scroll of this/ moment unrolls slowly,/ line by line.” Or, “…this unsettled/ anxiety clinging like wet/sheets” Or from the final prose poem: “Like a twig plucked from a tree, carried a great distance, and woven into a crow’s nest, you have no idea of your real destiny.”

Here is the title poem, “Limitless.”

Sun says , “Be your own

illumination.” Wren says

“Sing your heart out,

all day long.” Stream says,

“Do not stop for any

obstacle.” Oak says,

“When the wind blows,

bend easily, and trust

your roots to hold.”

Stars say, “What you see

is one small slice of a

single modest galaxy.

Remember that vastness

cannot be grasped by the mind.”

Ant says, “Small does not

mean powerless.” Silence

says nothing. In the quiet,

everything comes clear.

I say, “Limitless.” I say,



James Lake, MD, an adjunct clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Standford University and a visiting assistant professor at the Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona, has written Integrative Mental Health Care: A Therapist’s Handbook. Dr. Lake describes how therapists can embrace and include new techniques of assessment and treatment into their practices. This book provides a comprehensive guide for those looking to “treat clients from an integrative perspective.”

LifeForce Yoga® Resources

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

75-minute videos (DVD) practice,

led by Amy Weintraub

Level 1 DVD Level 2 DVD

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 and evidence-based sequence of breathing techniques, toning, and postures to lift and balance the mood.


3 LifeForce Yoga® CDs

led by Amy Weintraub

Breathe to Beat the BluesBreathe to Beat the Blues:

In this breathing practice for the blues, you will be invited to practice ten pranayama breathing exercises that will lift your mood, followed by a guided relaxation. You can also use this practice if you are feeling anxiety by selecting the tracks suggested in the liner notes.


LifeForce Yoga® Nidra to Manage Your Mood & Relaxation for Sleep:

LifeForce Yoga NidraYoga 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.


LifeForce Yoga® Bhavana Say Yes to Yourself ~ A Guided Relaxation Experience:

LifeForce Yoga BhavanaAlign heart and mind to find your life’s mission. This guided relaxation experience (Bhavana) will help you say “yes” to that which is most sacred to you. This original and inspiring bhavana practice incorporates mantra, pranayama breathing, some gentle stretching, and a writing exercise.


“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 LifeForce Yoga books, CDs and DVDs, 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

“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 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
“I gained perspective of who I am in the world and this will change my life significantly.” — Mary Ford, artist, Southport, 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
“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 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
“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
“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
“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 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 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 patients can now have the same effects as many medications without having to actually take medication!” — Deborah Lubetkin, PSY.D, LFYP, West Caldwell, NJ
“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 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 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 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 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 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 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 gained tools for working with my own depression and with my clients’ depressions.” — Robert Sgona, LCSW, RYT, psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, Camden, ME.
“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.
“Words do not do justice to all that I learned. This workshop changed my life!” — Jen Nolan, Teacher, Cortland, NY
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