Issue 24

Late Fall/2009

LifeForce Yoga

How do we welcome feelings of anticipation or even excitement–a vacation, a new relationship, a new project–without creating expectations that are bound to be disappointed? I’m one of those people who dives in with enthusiasm. What I’ve found that keeps expectations in check, is to allow a complete embracing of the excitement–a total Yes! to the feeling, and to the moment, and at the same time, I allow a stepping back to appreciate how good it feels to be excited. In other words, let the excitement be about itself and not dependent on the trigger–the vacation, the relationship, the project. It’s the same with any feeling, even sadness and lethargy. When we embrace and welcome anxious feelings, for instance, and know that the feeling is there to protect us from harm, just as that fight or flight response protected our ancestors from predators, we can appreciate the feeling itself. When we say, “yes” to the feeling, as distinct from its trigger, the feeling begins to moderate.

In these uncertain times, I think that acknowledging our emotions and then stepping back to appreciate the role of that feeling in our lives is a vital piece of staying in balance. Certainly Yogic practices help us do that. Whether you have a seated meditation practice, use Yoga Nidra, or simply practice asana with an observing mind, while staying present to breath and sensation, you are cultivating the witness, the ability to step back, to feel your feelings without reacting to or constricting around them.


Often people who suffer from chronic low back pain have depressed mood as well. A new study by West Virginia University researchers published in the September issue of the journal Spine suggests the practice of yoga provides a better alternative for overcoming chronic pain and depression than standard medical therapy.

The 90 study subjects, who experienced mild to moderate functional disability, were randomly assigned to the yoga group (Iyengar Yoga classes twice a week for 24 weeks) or the group that received conventional medical therapy.

“The yoga group had less pain, less functional disability and less depression compared with the control group,” said Kimberly Williams, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the Department of Community Medicine.

“These were statistically significant and clinically important changes that were maintained six months after the intervention.”

Depression During Pregnancy – Antidepressants Linked to Birth Problems

In a recent study that appears in the October issue of Archives of Pediatrics & amp; Adolescent Medicine, researchers found that Moms-to-be taking SSRIs had double the risk of early delivery. In addition, babies of mothers who took SSRIs during pregnancy were significantly more likely than infants in whose mothers did not take antidepressants to be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit. Babies admitted to neonatal intensive care had symptoms including seizures, jitteriness, infections, respiratory problems and jaundice that may have been caused by withdrawal from SSRIs or adverse effects from them.

Commentary: A pregnant woman who suffers from depression may be putting her newborn at risk if she chooses to support her own mental health through antidepressant therapy. But untreated depression carries risks of its own-including suicide. Additionally, if untreated, recent studies show that a mother’s depression can affect the emotional wellbeing of her children. There are non-psychopharmacological interventions like prenatal yoga classes that can support a mother-to-be, enabling her to balance her mood through evidence-based yoga practices. In addition to the mood-balancing yoga practices a mother learns, she can find community and support in a prenatal yoga class that can take her through the birth and the often socially-isolating postnatal period.

In fact, in another study published recently in Methods of Information in Medicine, researchers in Spain were able to predict with 80% accuracy those new mothers who would develop a postpartum depression. One of the primary risk factors was the extent of social support for the mother. A prenatal yoga class can provide an understanding community of like-minded women that can serve to support a mother-to-be through pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.

Surviving the Tsunami: Yoga Breathing Significantly Reduced Depression and PTSD

Eight months after the 2004 South-East Asia tsunami, survivors living in refugee camps, who were given a yoga breath intervention had significantly reduced scores in both depression and PTSD scales as compared to a wait list control group. Those in the yoga breathing intervention group were taught Breath Water Sound (BWS), designed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and the Art of Living Foundation. The protocol includes four Yogic breathing exercises. A second group received both the yoga breathing intervention (BWS) and an exposure therapy (TIR) In the study published in the journal ACTA PSYCHIATRICA SCANDINAVICA, reseachers (Descilo T, Vedamurtachar A, Gerbarg PL, Nagaraja D, Gangadhar BN, Damodaran B, Adelson B, Braslow LH, Marcus S, Brown RP.) found that 6 weeks and 24 weeks after intervention both treatment groups maintained a 60% lower PTSD score and a 90% reduction in depression compared with pre-intervention scores. There was no significant difference between the two treatment groups (BWS and BWS + TIR). The addition of the exposure therapy to the breath program resulted in no further improvement.

Reduce Anger by Lying Down

Researchers at Texas A & M University found that the mere act of lying down can reduce anger. Researchers have known that mood can be altered by mimicking the facial and body movements of certain emotions (slumped shoulders can evoke sad, morose feelings, smiling induces an uplifted mood), but a new study recently published in the journal Psychological Science finds that when study participants who were in a supine position were insulted they did not show brain patterns associated with anger as compared to those participants who were seated when insulted.

Commentary: This study points to another good reason to practice Yoga Nidra, a deep relaxation technique that has been shown to be effective in the treatment of PTSD and is practiced lying down.

Calendar Highlights

Expressions of Grace

Grand Rapids, MI (October 23 – 25, 2009)

LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood

This weekend workshop will focus on meeting the various moods with different yogic techniques. Sunday afternoon for Yoga Teachers, Psychotherapists and Health Professionals.

Internal Family Systems Annual Conference

Chicago, IL (October 29 – 31, 2009)

Amy will be leading morning LifeForce Yoga classes throughout the conference.


Lenox, MA (November 13 – 15, 2009)

LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood

Amy will be leading a weekend workshop assisted by LifeForce Yoga Practitioners.

The Lotus Pond

Tampa, FL (December 6, 2009, 9am – 4pm)

Joyful Breathing, Joyful Rest

Amy leads a day long LifeForce Yoga workshop with an emphasis on breathing and Yogic Meditation for your optimum mental health and well being.

Tucson, AZ (December 12, 2009, 1pm – 5pm)

LifeForce Yoga Workshop

Amy will be leading an all day workshop, details to be announced.

Desert Redemptorist 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 health professionals. Those who have attended the Tucson Retreat & Training previously may also attend at a reduced rate. Amy will be joined by a number of well known presenters as well as assisted by Level 2 LifeForce Yoga Practitioners.

Training Information:

Faculty Information:

Registration Information:

University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ (January 16, 2010)

9th Annual Women’s Mental Health Symposium

Amy will be giving a talk on the benefits of LifeForce Yoga in a clinical setting.


Lenox, MA (January 29 – 3, 2010)

LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood

Amy will be leading a weekend workshop assisted by LifeForce Yoga Practitioners.

Two Training Programs of Interest!


This model of psychotherapy, developed by Richard Schwartz, PhD, works beautifully with the LifeForce Yoga practices. The Center for Self Leadership is offering Module 1 & 2 together for the first time, beginning in Seattle on November 6th.

Curriculum and Format

This training offers a unique opportunity to gain substantial knowledge about IFS concepts and techniques in only 7 training weekends. All the details are available at (training page, Seattle #166, Brochure).


Kay Gardner, MA, LCPC, and Paul Ginter, EdD, are two of our most experienced Lead Trainers. Each will lead one complete Module, skillfully supported by Assistant Trainer Bill Nagahiro, PhD, and a committed team of Program Assistants. (Kay Gardner is also trained as a LifeForce Yoga Practitioner.–AW)


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, November 14 & 15 in Tucson, Arizona.

Here’s what Gita says about the training:

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 about this training, or others throughout the US, visit: 520-777-7544

(For the past two years, Gita has been a big hit at the Tucson LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training Level 1. She’s returning to the January, 2010 training to offer a session of Laughter Yoga.)

50 Ways to Soothe Yourself without Food

by Susan Albers, PSY.D.

50 Ways to Soothe Yourself without FoodWhether you numb out or self-soothe with food, or work with people who do, this book can be a valuable tool. Dr. Albers practical suggestions and reader-friendly approach offers mind-body strategies that may help you reconnect with your own strengths and find wholesome community with others. I highly recommend this book.

Essence of the Upanishads: A Key to Indian Spirituality

by Eknath Easwaran

Essence of the UpanishadsOriginally published in 1989 and revised and reissued this year, this book demystifies the essential insights of the Upanishads, which are the sacred wisdom texts of Indian spirituality. Easwaran was able to distill the lessons of the Katha Upanishad, retelling the original quest story (Young man learns the meaning of life from Death himself)in contemporary terms that Westerners can relate to. Easwaran translated the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita during his lifetime, but If you don’t think you’re the scholar who will unravel the meaning of Indian mysticism on your own, then this book is for you.

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

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