Early Spring 2010
Some of you heard that I had foot surgery. Thank you for your kind wishes for my speedy recovery. I’m not walking yet, but on my 3rd day out, I practiced yoga and did a little belly pumping kriya to get things moving again. It worked!
What I appreciate most ~
Smokey’s nearly constant presence, allowing me to love on her.
Rose checking in and pitching in to do whatever I can’t.
Friends supporting me and my Sweetie who had replacement shoulder surgery last week.
Learning to say “please” and “thank-you” over and over again.
How wonderful it feels to take a shower!
How incredible it feels to chop veggies.
Letting go of my “to-do” list.
Yoga Nidra on my iPod.
Elevating my leg which gives new meaning to restorative poses.
Watching Smokey stalk the birds from our indoor perch.
I had hoped to be up and walking again by March 19th to teach in Texas, but with the kindness of the yoginis at the Divine Center of Yoga, who offered to postpone, we have rescheduled the LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood weekend in the Dallas/Fort Worth area until the weekend of May 21-23.
Meanwhile, I’m enjoying Neil Pearson’s new Yoga DVD for chronic pain, which couldn’t have arrived at a better time, and Robin Carnes new iRest Yoga Nidra CD. Both are reviewed below.
A grateful namaste,
RESEARCH: YOGA REDUCES MED STUDENT STRESS
In a recent study at McGill University in Canada, researchers found that a brief structured yoga intervention improved the overall health and reduced perceived stress and depressive symptoms among medical students. The fourteen firts-year medical students who participated in the 16-week yoga program expressed an overall improvement in their general well-being.
Med Teach. 2009 Oct;31(10):950-2.
To read the abstract, click here.
RESEARCH: HAPPINESS AND HEALTH
Two recent studies makes the mind-body connection abundantly clear. In the first, we have evidence that our emotions effect our heart-health. The second study confirms that exercising the body effects our emotions. A study published in the European Heart Journal followed 1,739 healthy men and women living in Nova Scotia, Canada to see if positive emotions might have an impact on heart function. On the outset, researchers gauged the levels of depression, hostility and anxiety in study subjects, as well as their propensity for happiness, evident in feelings such as contentment and pleasure.
The researchers found that the happiest people were 22 percent less likely to develop heart disease over the 10 years of study follow-up than the volunteers whose scores fell in the mid-range of the emotional scale. Those most at risk? The people who had the highest rankings of negative emotions. Those least at risk? The happiest.
The second study shows that if you have a chronic illness and you exercise regularly, regardless of the status of your illness, you will feel less anxious. The study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, analyzed data from 40 studies on how exercise affects anxiety. All of the 3,000 study participants were sedentary individuals who had chronic illnesses but were still able to exercise in sessions of at least 30 minutes.
Compared with similar individuals who did not exercise, the people who exercised had a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms. Exercise helped people no matter what kind of health problem they had: cancer, depression, heart disease, fibromyalgia. Multiple sclerosis was the only condition in which exercise did not appear to have a significant effect.
Commentary: Exercise is wonderful, but for those who are ill, compliance in a regular exercise regime can be difficult. It is more likely that a yoga routine designed to meet a person where she is constitutionally and emotionally, that emphasizes breath and awareness of sensation while practicing, will not only achieve a higher compliance, but will sustain a parasympathetic response that will calm all aspects of the nervous system.
RESEARCH: YOGA MAY REDUCE INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE
Researchers at Ohio University Medical School found that 50 healthy women who participated in three restorative yoga sessions had a more positive affect than a control group who watched a video. Based on their findings, the researchers concluded, “the ability to minimize inflammatory responses to stressful encounters influences the burden that stressors place on an individual. If yoga dampens or limits stress-related changes, then regular practice could have substantial health benefits.”
Psychosom Med. 2010 Feb;72(2):113-21. Epub 2010 Jan 11.
NEWS: Yoga Teacher Training with Amy Weintraub
Although Amy’s training programs in LifeForce Yoga® for Depression and Anxiety are for those who are already certified as Yoga teachers and for mental health professionals, she is often asked to teach a basic level yoga teacher training or a yoga therapy teacher training. Here is your opportunity to earn certification in two Yoga Teaching programs, the first of which requires only a love for and a regular practice of yoga; the second of which brings those who are already teaching yoga to the next level, certifying them as yoga therapists. Both programs offer a nationally-recognized faculty of Yoga professionals, researchers and therapists.
The first program is a 200-hour yoga teacher training at a beautiful studio in coastal Delaware that meets in two 13-day modules. Amy joins Harvard researcher and Yogi Sat Bir Khalsa and senior Kripalu teachers Rudy Peirce, Larissa Carlson and Ed Harrold to offer The Whole Self Yoga Teacher Training.
Comfort Zone Yoga Center
This training provides the knowledge, skill and personal development so that you may offer an environment of physical and emotional safety for your students. You will learn the latest research and practices for teaching to the issues of weight-loss, inflexible athletes, depression and anxiety. Bring your love for yoga and the faculty will help you develop the skills to teach yoga with your intuitive gifts.
2 – 13 day modules
April 18 – 30 and June 27 – July 9, 2010.
For more information, visit: www.ComfortZoneYogaCenter.com
The second program is a 300-hour yoga therapy certification offered by Inner Peace Yoga Therapy that takes place at a beautiful mountain retreat center outside Asheville, N.C. in two modules: Nov 6 – 19, 2010 and January 30 – February 12, 2012. With 30 hours of home-study, and a previous 200-hour certification, this program qualifies for a 500-hour Yoga Alliance certification.
Inner Peace Yoga Therapy
Amy Weintraub, along with other esteemed yoga therapist trainers, including Shar Lee, Marc Halpern, Nischala Joy Devi, Neil Pearson, Antonio Sausys, and Durga, will be teaching in the yoga therapy certification program that offers yoga teachers and health care professionals the tools they need to help individuals with health challenges manage their condition, reduce symptoms, restore balance, increase vitality, and improve attitude. Topics include Structural Yoga, Ayurveda and Yoga Therapy, Adapting Yoga for Heart Disease, Yoga for Cancer, Yoga for Depression, and much more. Register before March 31 and save $200!
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ (March 13 – 14, 2010)
Tucson Festival of Books
Amy will be giving a one hour presentation followed by a book signing, Saturday March 13, 4 – 5:30pm, Chemistry Building (on the Main Mall), Room 134, General Admission is Free.
2010 Integrative Medicine Mental Health Conference
Phoenix, AZ (March 22 – 24, 2010)
LifeForce Yoga: Empower Your Clients to Manage Their Moods
Amy will be leading a seminar on the application of Yogic techniques in clinical settings.
Psychotherapy Networker Symposium
Washington, DC (March 25 – 28, 2010 )
Amy will be leading an all day program on Thursday: “Embracing Our Polarities-A Day of Yoga,” a clinical presentation during the conference, and will be the LifeForce Yoga® facilitator leading morning yoga and afternoon meditation.
Paradise Island, Nassau Bahamas (March 30 – 31, 2010)
Easter & Passover Symposium on Yoga and Sacred Healing
Amy will be leading a workshop on LifeForce Yoga during this Symposium on the effects of yoga therapy, sound healing, and mind body therapy on your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.
Paradise Island, Nassau Bahamas (April 1 – 6, 2010)
LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training for Depression and Anxiety Level 1
This is a certification training for yoga teachers and health professionals. 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.
Tucson, AZ (April 17, 2010)
LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood
1:00pm – 5:30pm, Amy will be leading an all day LifeForce Yoga intensive assisted by LifeForce Yoga Practitioners on Yogic techniques that you can use to benefit your mood.
Lenox, MA (April 23 – 25, 2010)
Manage Your Mood with Food and LifeForce Yoga
Amy teaches with well-known nutrition reporter and author of the Food Mood Solution, Jack Challem,
Divine Center of Yoga
Dallas, TX (May 21 – 23, 2010)
LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood
This weekend will help you cultivate the compassionate inner space that allows you to embrace life’s challenges with a peaceful mind and a courageous heart.
for Amy’s complete calendar of events:
REVIEW: Integrative Restoration Meditation (iRest Yoga Nidra)
With Robin Carnes
Integration Restoration MeditationRobin Carnes, a senior iRest teacher/trainer, has been instructing yoga and meditation for active duty service members returning from combat since 2006 and teaching Yoga for over fourteen years. She dedicates her new iRest CD to U.S. military service members and their families. On this CD, Carnes leads the full Integrative Restoration practice, a meditation protocol for health and wellbeing developed from the ancient practice of Yoga nidra (Yogic sleep), by clinical psychologist and Yogi Richard Miller.
Carnes’s voice is both soothing and clear. Her delivery is slow and, though her instructions are precise, she offers listeners a wide degree of latitude. She suggests that practice can be done lying or sitting, with eyes opened or closed. She encourages practitioners to “welcome experience just as it is” without trying to relax or change anything. Although she suggests an intention of remaining awake and alert, she acknowledges that sleepiness or mental distraction may occur so that it can become hard to pay attention to her guidance. In the introduction to the practice, she invites listeners to “take it as it comes. Whenever you notice you’ve drifted away from responding to the instructions, gently bring your attention back and take up the practice from there.”
Unlike most Yoga nidra CDs, this one has a rhythmic music track. While I at first found this distracting, the repetitive musical pattern seems to mimic the steady beat of breathing in and breathing out, so for many practitioners it may lend support for sustaining a continuous and even breath.
This is the most thorough practice of the iRest protocol I have heard, and as such, it’s one of the longest. After you’ve listened once, you may choose to skip the introduction, but the full practice will still take more than an hour. There are ten separate tracks, so you have programming flexibility if you don’t have the time for the practice in its entirety. In addition to the full body scan that guides the practitioner to a safe and peaceful awareness of physical sensation and instruction in breath awareness, other individual tracks focus the listener’s attention on the opposites of sensation, emotions and beliefs. The exploration of the opposites gives rise to a larger field of awareness, thereby increasing the listener’s tolerance of varied mood states. The movement between polarities may lessen the impact of troubling emotions and negative self-talk. Overall, the practice can provides a deeply relaxing experience that lifts the mood and calms the mind.
For more information on Robin Carnes and her work, please visit, www.yoganidranow.com
REVIEW: Overcome Pain with Gentle Yoga Level 1 DVD with Neil Pearson
Overcome Pain with Gentle YogaWe all need gentle, nourishing, and supportive practices in our lives and this is exactly what Neil Pearson, physiotherapist, yoga therapist and Chair of the Canadian Physiotherapy Pain Science Division, gives us in his DVD Overcome Pain with Gentle Yoga Level 1.
The video opens with Pearson discussing pain, pain management and the contents of the practices he presents. He says, “Understanding pain and learning to live well again are keys to recovery from chronic pain.” When the body experiences chronic pain, the nervous system becomes more sensitive and more reactive to pain. Learning new techniques to teach the nervous system to respond in new ways is the focus of this DVD. While you might feel better after just one practice, Pearson reminds us, “Repetition, persistence and patience, these are all required” if we are to relieve ourselves of pain.
Pearson focuses on breath awareness in all of the movements, rather than micro managing the body. Practitioners are guided into each movement with easy to follow instructions and then guided back to the breath; each position begins and ends with the breath. For the most part, modifications are not needed, but some are offered during the practices either by Pearson or by one of the students practicing in the video. Pearson suggests that you watch this DVD several times before practicing so that you become comfortable with the movements. He also suggests watching with your physiotherapist or yoga therapist for help in modifying the movements to your specific needs.
Practice One: Learning to Breathe Again – Breathe to reduce pain.
The first twenty minutes of this practice happens on the floor with the focus on breath awareness and learning to move with your breath. A gentle standing sequence follows, where Pearson repeats the breath work and some of the movements done on the floor and ends with a short relaxation.
Practice Two: Releasing Body Tension – Reconnect to let go.
This practice begins with a supine joint freeing sequence to release tension in the body. He then moves into a stronger breath-centered standing practice, followed by a short relaxation. Throughout the practice there are opportunities to pause and sense into the body, noticing how the movements are affecting you.
Practice Three: Awareness Beyond Pain – Freedom.
This practice also begins on the floor. This time Pearson sets the intention, “stay aware of everything that is happening in your body moment to moment.” He then leads a stronger standing practice with some core strength focus, all the while guiding practitioners to keep the breath calm and the mind expanded to encompass the whole body. The relaxation at the end is somewhat longer than the previous practices as he guides an awareness of opposites of sensation.
If you suffer from chronic pain, this is an excellent resource. However, you might lengthen the relaxation at the end of each practice, as this will likely be an important aspect of your healing.
This DVD is appropriate for beginners and novices, although it is still advisable to watch before you practice. Further resources can be found at Pearson’s website, www.lifeisnow.ca
Reviewed by Elena “Rose” Kress