Issue 27

Late Spring 2010

LifeForce Yoga Logo


I’m grateful for the support I received from so many of you as I taught in my boot-cast this last month at mental health conferences in Phoenix and Washington, DC and led the first LIfeForce Yoga Practitioner Training for Depression & Anxiety at the Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas.

I’m out of the cast now and happy to see that my asana practice is minimally effected by the surgery. One aspect of having a more limited practice these last two months has been the joyful and empowering feeling of simple accomplishments, like wearing a shoe, the first walk along the Rillito, and yes that first Downward-facing Dog out of the cast. Lotus pose is more challenging now, which allows me to cultivate acceptance. At some point, we will be saying goodbye to practices we have loved–maybe it will start with a jump back or a high lunge. If our poses are merely portals in to a clear and quiet mind, does it matter which postures and pranayamas and mudras and mantras get us there? Might it be true that sitting is the sand when your foot is broken is a more direct route to bliss than walking the beach?

I look forward to visits with friends, old and new, at Kripalu Center this week, at the Divine Center of Yoga in South Lake, Texas in May, and at Shambhala Mountain Center in June!

May your own practice, whatever it is, offer you radiant health, clarity, and a doorway into the deep well of peace within you.



Research Summary

Effects of a yoga breath intervention alone and in combination with an exposure therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression in survivors of the 2004 South-East Asia tsunami

T. Descilo, A. Vedamurtachar, P. L. Gerbarg, D. Nagaraja, B. N. Gangadhar, B. Damodaran, B. Adelson, L. H. Braslow, S. Marcus, R. P. Brown

Acta psychiatrica Scandinavica. Vol. 121, Issue 4, Pages 289-300, 2010.

Under difficult conditions at five refugee camps set up after the 2004 tsunami in South-east Asia, the authors of this study, published in the April, 2010 journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, followed 183 Tsunami survivors living in refugee camps with elevated symptoms of PTSD (scored 50 or more on the Post-traumatic Checklist-17). The survivors were divided into three groups that included a wait-listed and demographically comparable control group and two different treatment groups, receiving either a Yoga breathing program or Yoga breathing plus exposure therapy. The Yoga breathing and the Yoga breathing plus exposure therapy showed a nearly equal and significant reduction in the symptoms of PTSD and significant improvement of mood, based on both the PCL-17 and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) administered at 6, 12, and 24 weeks. Additionally, the researchers found that when paired with the Yoga breathing, Exposure therapy, which can sometimes risk re-traumatizing certain individuals, did not have this effect and was well tolerated by the survivors. Both treatment groups showed about a 60% reduction in PTSD symptoms and about a 90% reduction in depression at both 6 and 24 weeks when compared to pre-intervention scores, indicating that the eight-hour Yoga breathing intervention, which was taught in two-hour segments over four days, was effective, whether paired with exposure therapy or not.

The Yoga breathing intervention was the Breath Water Sound (BSW) program combined with a 10-minute Sudharshan Kriya. This combination includes four breathing techniques: three-stage Ujjayi (Victorious Breath), Bhastrika (Bellows breath), chanting Om and Sudharshan Kriya, which is a varied pattern of rhythmic breathing developed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation and co-founder (along with the Dali Lama) of the non-profit organization IAHV, which helped set up, supported and managed the refugee camps.

As the authors make clear, “The marked changes in the two treatment groups compared with the control group suggest that the breath practices used in BSW enhanced with Sudharshan Kriya may provide rapid and significant reduction in symptoms of PTSD and depression, improvements in quality of life and sustainability of these benefits.”

To view the abstract, click here:

Using Yoga in the Treatment Room

To read the latest article by Amy Weintraub, “Take a Breath: Using Yoga to create a sense of well-being in your office” in the current March/April issue of Psychotherapy Networker:

Two New Studies Show TM Reduces Depression

The studies, conducted at Charles Drew University in Los Angeles and University of Hawaii in Kohala included African Americans and Native Hawaiians, 55 years and older, who were at risk for cardiovascular disease. 113 participants were randomly allocated to the Transcendental Meditation program or health education control group, and assessed with a standard test for depression-the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D) inventory over 9-12 months.

Participants in both studies who practiced the Transcendental Meditation program showed significant reductions in depressive symptoms compared to health education controls. The largest decreases were found in those participants who had indications of clinically significant depression, with those practicing Transcendental Meditation showing an average reduction in depressive symptoms of 48%.

The results are significant given recent research which indicates that depression is a risk factor in cardiovascular disease. “The importance of reducing depression in the elderly at risk for heart disease cannot be overestimated,” said Gary P. Kaplan MD PhD, Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology NYU School of Medicine. “Any technique not involving extra medication in this population is a welcome addition.”

The studies were presented at the 31st Annual Meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in Seattle, Washington April 9th, 2010.

For more information, contact Ken Chawkin

NEWS: Be the Welcoming!

A LifeForce Yoga® Thanksgiving Retreat

in Tucson with Amy Weintraub

Assisted by Rose Kress

Yoga Alliance CEUs

November 26 – 29th, 2010

How can we welcome and respond to all that life brings with a peaceful mind and a courageous heart?

Deviasana Outside at Retreat

We’ve scheduled our first of what we hope will be an annual Thanksgiving LifeForce Yoga Retreat on sacred ground in the Tucson Mountains. Together, we’ll remove the obstacles that keep us prisoners of our adaptions, reacting to life in the same ways because they used to work. We’ll laugh, meditate, laugh, practice yoga and pranayama, laugh, hike the trails of Sagauro National Park, laugh, and remember who we really are and why we’re here on this planet now. Clear a little inner space so that whatever you wish to manifest more fully in your life has room to grow. All activities are optional. Whether you’re a longtime Yoga practitioner or brand new to Yoga, you are welcome to join us at the Desert Redemptorist Renewal Center.

To register and for more information:

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

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.

ComfortZone Center

Lewes, Delaware

2 – 13 day modules

April 18 – 30 and June 27 – July 9, 2010.

For more information, visit:

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.


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!

Calendar Highlights


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.

Shambhala Mountain Center

Red Feather Lakes, CO (Jun 18 – 20, 2010)

LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood

This workshop will provide you with a wide variety of

powerful yet gentle natural tools to help you manage your mood.

Comfort Zone Yoga Center

Lewes, DE (Jul 2 – 4, 2010)

LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood

In this inspiring workshop, you will learn and practice breathing exercises, easy postures, guided meditations, and other experiential yogic tools for managing your mood that are not often taught in regular yoga classes.


Lenox, MA (Jul 9 – 16, 2010)

LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training for Depression & Anxiety Level 1

This is a certification training for yoga teachers and health professionals. Joining Amy as faculty are Richard Brown, MD and Patricia Gerbarg, MD, authors of How to Use Herbs, Nutrients and Yoga for Mental Health Care, as well as LifeForce Yoga Practitioners -Level 2, who are highly trained yoga and/or mental health professionals.


Rhinebeck, NY (Jul 23 – 25, 2010)

LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood

Amy leads us through an evidence-based practice that interweaves ancient wisdom with current research in neurobiology to help us release emotional blocks and manage our mood. We will leave feeling refreshed and renewed, with ancient strategies to revitalize our practice and manage our mood. Health professionals and yoga teachers learn techniques they can use to help their clients focus, relax, and have greater access to their feelings.

Cape Cod Institute

Eastham, MA (Aug 16 – 20, 2010)

LifeForce Yoga®: Empower Your Clients to Manage Their Moods

This workshop is designed for all level of mental health and Yoga practitioners, including beginners. Every day will include easy and accessible movement, yogic breathing, and meditation or guided relaxation. Along with didactic components and practice, the format will include emotional process from a Yogic perspective in dyads and small groups.

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