Issue 30


I’m excited to be sending you the 30th newsletter that includes exciting new research on the efficacy of yoga for mood, including a report from LifeForce Yoga Practitioners Dr. Susan Tebb and Dr. Kathryn Schafer from the International Association of Yoga Therapy Research Symposium at the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, PA this month. I’m happy to include reviews of master teacher Rama Jyoti Vernon’s new CD, Relaxation, and Dr David Frawley’s new book, Mantra Yoga and Primal Sound. (You can read through previous research and reviews in the newsletters stored in the archives on my site.)

When I started writing and editing this newsletter in 2004, there were few e-zines coming into my inbox. Like you, I now receive them daily. Some are soley marketing efforts and a few of are full of valuable content. I hope you consider this newsletter among the latter–as a contribution to the field. I spend many hours gathering and sifting through research and new books and Rose Kress does, too. Of necessity, from time to time between research newsletters, we need to send out separate regional announcements about upcoming programs and early bird deadlines, but my intention for this message is to provide you with content you can use–reports on recent studies and news that is of interest to you. If it’s not relevant to your concerns professionally or personally, I won’t take it personally if you choose to opt out by clicking that option at the bottom of the page.

My system feels a bit sparkly these days as the temperature just dropped in Tucson. When I lived in New England, fall was the time to cozy up to the computer and write. That writing energy is here again as I dive into writing a new book that Norton Professionals will publish next year.

My upcoming flights to teach in Chicago, Virginia, the Berkshires, and India are perfect days in which to write without interruption. Wait did she say India? Yes, I did. I studied with master teachers in India in the early 90’s, and it’s been a dream of mine to actually be invited back to teach. I’ll be presenting at the first international conference on “Yoga for Health and Transformation” at the University of Patanjali in Haridwar.

I hope to see you at one of the LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood weekends this fall or at an event in Tucson!

A Warm Namasté,


A five-year-old can tell us that she feels good when she laughs. We don’t need research to tell us what we all inherently know. Yet we do need that research if we’re going to convince the medical world that there are interventions for depression that come without a big pharma price tag. Laughter Yoga is one of them. There are a number of studies that have been done with chronically ill children in hospital wards, attesting to the benefit of laughter. This most recent study, a randomized controlled trial published in the September, 2010 issue of the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, looks at the effects of laughter yoga as compared to exercise with a group of seventy depressed, elderly women in Iran.

Previous research has demonstrated that exercise improves mood, so it was interesting to see that in this study, both the laughter yoga and exercise group showed a significant decrease in depression scores post intervention as compared to controls.


Researchers at Butler Hospital and Brown University in Rhode Island completed a preliminary study involving ten individuals with low mood who participated in two months of twice weekly Vinyasa yoga classes. Vinyasa is a sequence of poses that includes deep, diaphragmatic breathing and is characterized by a flow of postures that moves through sun salutations. Lisa Uebelacker, the lead author of the study, reports that participants exhibited significant decreases in depression symptoms and significant increases in an aspect of mindfulness and in behavior activation. Master yoga teacher Tom Gillette, owner of Eyes of the World in Providence designed the protocol. The study was published in May in Behavior Modification.

Another small feasibility study that looked at the effect of Iyengar Yoga on the mental health of incarcerated women in Pennsylvania was reported in the september issue of Nursing Research. The six women who completed the intervention met two sessions a week for 12 weeks and experienced fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety over time.


excerpted from Medscape Medical News:

Sedative drug use is associated with a 36% increase in mortality risk, according to the results of a population-based study reported in the September issue of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

From 1994 to 2007, a sample of 14,117 people aged 18 to 102 years participated in a panel survey and provided data every second year. Odds of mortality were 3.22 times higher for participants reporting anxiolytic or hypnotic drug use [e.g. benzodiazepines like Xanax, Librium, Valium, Ativan; other categories that include Buspar and Ambien (zolpidem)] in the past month vs those who did not report use of anxiolytic or hypnotic drugs in the past month. “These medications aren’t candy, and taking them is far from harmless,” Dr. Belleville, one of the study’s authors said in a news release.

~ Laurie Barclay, MD

Commentary: There are many yoga strategies that may reduce anxiety and help you fall asleep. Not only do they not increase the risk of mortality, but they increase your vitality and wellbeing when you are awake. For insomnia, try sleeping on your right side and practicing ten rounds of left nostril (chandra bheda) breathing. [Breathe to Beat the Blues] Or use a Yoga Nidra CD that includes a track for insomnia. Kripalu teacher Jennifer Reis has a ten-minute insomnia track on her CD, Deep Relaxation. The last track of my own LifeForce Yoga Nidra to Manage Your Mood CD, is also a ten-minute guided relaxation for insomnia. Finally psychologist Rubin Naiman has a new 2-CD set called The Yoga of Sleep that includes both lecture and five experiential relaxation and sleep ritual practices.


LifeForce Yoga Practitioners Dr. Susan Tebb and Dr.Kathryn Shafer attended the International Association of Yoga Therapists Research Symposium at the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, PA, Sept 31 through October 3rd and wrote the following summary of the research presented. What Susan and Kathryn don’t mention here is that Dr Tebb also presented a poster on the effects of yoga in her work with Bosnian refugees who were victims of torture.

“The first day of the First IAYT Symposium on Yoga Research was a review or introduction to the attendees of the importance of conducting research presented by well known and published researchers, Dr.Dean Ornish, Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa, Dr. Lorenzo Cohen and Dr. Shirley Telles. Other invited presenters provided evidence of the impact of yoga for persons diagnosed with lung disease, cancer, low back pain, emotional distress and trauma, and the importance of using items that can be measured for statistical significance. Blending psychotherapy and yoga was emphasized. The highlight for us was to hear from young academics who will be able to make yoga research the center of their scholarships. Dr. Suzanne Danhaurer from Wake Forest University, is studying yoga as an intervention with ovarian and breast cancer patients. One of the measures she uses, the FACIT, an instrument comprising two sub scales-one measuring a sense of meaning and peace and the other assessing the role of faith in illness, was suggested as a possible scale that might address how yoga affects people. Dr. Kyeongra Yang at the University of Pittsburgh shared her work “Effects of Yoga Program for Adults at High Risk for Type 2 Diabetes”, as did Dr. Mary Lou Galantino, at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey whose presentation was “Yoga for Musculoskeletal Conditions: Integrating the Evidence into Rehabilitation Medicine Practice”. Both researchers are looking at the impact yoga has on quality of life. Dr. Kim Innes supported a number of her students at West Virginia University in poster presentations looking at yoga interventions with older adults, osteoarthritis, caregivers and restless legs syndrome; all measuring well-being, mood, sleep and/or stress.”

Kathryn Shafer, PhD, LCSW, 500RYT and Susan Tebb, PhD, MSW, 200RYT


excerpted from Newswise 10/8/2010

A new study reports that yoga can reduce the stress of cancer diagnosis and treatment experienced by childhood cancer patients and their parents. The findings were published in the September/October 2010 edition of Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, published by the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON).

Children in the study between the ages of 7-12 did not show any change in their anxiety or sense of well-being. However, adolescents between the ages of 13-18 years and the parents of hospitalized patients showed significant improvement.

“Teens reported that that they felt relaxed and calmer, and that it (yoga) was fun,” the authors wrote. Parents detailed even greater benefits. Parents found the yoga sessions were relaxing, allowed them to stretch their muscles and strengthen their bodies, and relieved stress. They felt better about themselves, and those who participated in the sessions with their children felt it helped them bond with their children.


The National Institutes for Health, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), and the Department of Defense recently published a Pain Management Task Force study, listing yoga nidra as a ‘Tier 1 modality’ suggested for use as part of an integrative and interdisciplinary approach for augmenting pain management for warriors and their families. – excerpted from iRest News

If you are a Yoga teacher interested in serving this population, I recommend the new teleconference class, “Teaching Yoga in a Military Setting,” a professional training for certified yoga teachers who want to prepare to teach effectively, safely and with cultural sensitivity with military personnel, their families, and their caregivers. The Yoga Corps faculty consists of highly experienced yoga and iRest meditation instructors with years of military teaching experience, including Yoga Corps founder Robin Carnes, who delivered the first iRest Yoga Nidra protocol at Walter Reed Army Hospital to active duty soldiers suffering from PTSD. The teleconference assists qualified teachers, to address combat operational stress, brain injury and other invisible and visible effects of combat, as well as its far reaching effects on loved ones and healthcare providers.


Thursday 11/4 at 5pmPST/8pmEST, Amy will offer a FREE preview of her workshop at YogaHub’s Virtual World Yoga Conference, being held February 8-12, 2011. Click here for more information and to register.

Last year we were able to extend a large discount for the Yoga Hub Conferece to all of our subscribers. We will update you with the details as we receive them.


In these three [live] interviews with studio owner Wendy Harrold, taped while I was teaching at the Comfort Zone Yoga Center in Lewes, Deleware in July, I discuss my own history of depresson, “applying yoga with moods,” and “yoga research for mood disorders.” In the “applying yoga with moods” interview, I actually lead a breathing practice to meet the anxious mood. Wendy will soon be posting two yoga classes I taught there, one to meet the anxious mood and one to meet the depressed mood, so watch for that on their new site.

Calendar Highlights

Internal Family Systems Annual Conference

Chicago, IL (Oct 22 – 24, 2010)

Internal Family Systems Annual Conference


Amy will be leading morning Yoga sessions and afternoon meditation during the conference.

Satchidananda Ashram Yogaville

Buckingham, VA (Oct 29 – 31, 2010)

LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood


Join Amy for a weekend workshop where you will learn yogic techniques to manage your changing mood states.

Generations Yoga Center

Chicago, IL (Nov 5 – 9, 2010)

LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood


Let Amy lead you through a practice that interweaves the power of an ancient discipline with current scientific findings to help you release what’s no longer serving you – without a story attached!

Kripalu Center

Lenox, MA (Nov 12 – 14, 2010)

LifeForce Yoga to Manage to Manage Your Mood


You will learn an evidence-based practice that includes breathing exercises, easy postures, guided meditations, and other experiential yogic tools for managing your mood.

University of Arizona Recreation Center

Tucson, AZ (Nov 20, 2010)

Arizona Yoga Association Yoga Day


Amy will be leading a LifeForce Yoga class from 10:30 – 11:45am.

Unity of Tucson

Tucson, AZ (Dec 3, 2010)

LifeForce Yoga and Mood: the Evidence and the Practice

Amy will be giving an experiential lecture on the benefits of LifeForce Yoga for managing your mood. No prior Yoga experience needed.

Yoga Flow

Tucson, AZ (Dec 4, 2010)

LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood

Learn the Yogic view of assessing mood–yours and your students’/clients’, and design a menu of practices to meet both mood and constitution.

The University of Patanjali

Haridwar, India (Jan 2 – 5, 2011)

Yoga for Health and Social Transformation

This conference will bring together leading international scientists, researchers and academicians to address the underlying mechanisms of yoga and the value of its application in health, medicine and society. Amy will be giving a presentation on LifeForce Yoga and its efficacy with managing mood.


December 3rd marks the beginning of the next IFS Training in Seattle, led by Kay Gardner, psychotherapist and LifeForce Yoga Practitioner, who was one of my trainers in IFS. I have found this training to be life-changing, both personally and professionally, and Kay is an inspiring teacher.

IFS offers a clear, non-pathologizing, empowering view of human cognitive and emotional life. The system provides a dynamic therapeutic approach that allows both therapists and clients to enter transformational relationships in which healing occurs. Developed by Richard C. Schwartz, PhD, IFS is a versatile, effective model practiced by thousands of licensed therapists and other healing professionals throughout the U.S. and abroad.

The early-bird discount for the Seattle training ends on October 15th. The next training begins in Atlanta on January 14th. (Apply by November 15 for the early-bird discount) If you live elsewhere, check the IFS web site for trainings in your area.


by Rama Jyoti Vernon Rama Jyoti Vernon Relaxation

Rama Jyoti Vernon has forged a path through the forest of lineages, studying with master Hatha Yoga teachers B.K.S. Iyengar and other lesser known but equally brilliant lights since she began her quest in childhood. She also studied with Advaita Vedanta masters, including one of my teachers, Nitya Chaitanya Yati. As a teacher, she has been a pioneer, exploring yogic practices herself for years, using the laboratory of her own body-mind before offering them to her students. Her reach has been global, traveling to the U.S.S.R. in the 80’s dozens of times to foster international peacemaking efforts. Rama’s teaching is inspired by her deep belief in the unity of all lineages, and her keen observer’s eye, witnessing the effects of asana and pranayama and meditation techniques as well as sound practices on her students and herself over her many years of teaching.

Finally, her Arizona students have prevailed upon her to begin to record her wisdom. Her new CD, simply called Relaxation is the first of what one hopes will be many shared practices. This relaxation practice was recorded live with her students in Tucson, and so there is that sense of relationship, that love in the room. During the first thirty minutes, of this thirty-seven minute CD, Rama moves through the koshas~the body, breath, thoughts & beliefs, emotions and into the spaciousness of bliss by locating and inviting relaxation into those places where we hold onto what is no longer serving us.

For example, as she invites us to soften the tongue within the lower jaw, she encourages us to “let go of all the words we intend to speak, to let go of all the words we wish we had said and did not,” and as the muscle of the tongue relaxes, she goes on to say, “let go of all the words we wish we had not said,” leading us to the boundary-less place where, “as we let go of the tongue, we open to the space of the mind where thought cannot even enter.”

During the last seven minutes of the CD, Rama offers, from the depths of her spirit, her resonant and complex chanting of Aum and guides us to follow along. The CD ends with a vision of peace that is profoundly personal as well as global. The sound of Rama chanting is worth the price of admission. If you have never had the opportunity to study with Rama, this CD is an excellent place to start.

The official release date for this CD is October 15th.

Visit to purchase and for more information.


by David Frawley

Mantra Yoga and Primal SoundIf you are a serious practitioner or scholar of Yoga, or have an interest in sound and its effect, you will want to have Dr. Frawley’s new book in your library. Frawley elucidates the history and yogic science of Mantra Yoga practice, as he explores the effects of sound on the body-mind. As an international teacher and yoga scholar for twenty-five years, Dr Frawley has contributed his knowledge to the field of Yoga and Ayurveda in a number of books on Tantric Yoga and Ayurveda. He writes this current book, because he recognizes that as Yoga in the West begins to move into its maturity, it is broadening to include the practices that were Yoga thousands of years before the “physical culture” movement of the late nineteenth century brought postures to the fore of the Western understanding and practice of Yoga.

Mantra Yoga and Primal Sound is both history and manual and will serve as an excellent reference book for the serious student. There are clear discussions of meaning and pronunciation, charts that align mantra tones to resonance in different areas of the body, an explanation of invoking the spiritual qualities (like archetypes) of the Gods and Goddesses in the Hindu pantheon through dedicated mantras, how to use mantra practice in Ayurvedic therapy. Some of the information may seem esoteric and a bit overwhelming for the beginning yoga practitioner or health professional, who may not have an interest or understanding in Ayurveda or Vedic astrology, however there is enough basic information that even the beginner may find Frawley’s book useful in understanding this important aspect of yoga. Mantra is vitally important to our knowledge of yoga for many reasons, not the least of which is its fundamental contribution to our ability to manage our moods.

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 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 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
“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
“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.
“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 perspective of who I am in the world and this will change my life significantly.” — Mary Ford, artist, Southport, CT
“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.
“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 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 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 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
“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
“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
“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
“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 tools for working with my own depression and with my clients’ depressions.” — Robert Sgona, LCSW, RYT, psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, Camden, ME.
“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 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 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 patients can now have the same effects as many medications without having to actually take medication!” — Deborah Lubetkin, PSY.D, LFYP, West Caldwell, NJ
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