Issue 38

Greetings!

I can’t imagine my life without a daily practice to clear away the debris of life’s stressors, and this month there have been many. When I practice, I know who I am beneath mood and the mysteries of being an “I” in a challenging and glorious world. As fall brings change, it’s time to recommit to what is changeless and eternal. We do this day after day on our yoga mats or in nature or in places of great beauty. As the days grow shorter and the temperatures drop, I wish you daily access to your wholeness through the evidence-based practices of Yoga. I hope to see you on the path at one of the beautiful places where I will be teaching this fall!

Read on for reviews of new yoga and mental health books by LifeForce Yoga Practitioners Dr. Susan Tebb and Dawn Hamilton.

A Warm Namasté,

Amy

Research: IAYT

The International Association of Yoga Therapists sponsored two conferences in September. I was honored to present with LifeForce Yoga® Practitioner and professor of social work Dr. Susan Tebb on the integration of yoga in mental health treatment, including trauma at the Symposium for Yoga Therapy and Research (SYTAR) in Monterey, California, earlier in the month. Although I was unable to attend the second conference, IAYT’s Symposium on Yoga Research (SYR) at Kripalu, friends and colleagues have spoken of the inspiring presentations from senior researchers and many new enthusiastic scientists from round the world. Numerous studies which used yoga interventions for a variety of conditions, also demonstrated significant mood improvement. To stay current on poster presentations and other new research, visit www.iayt.org

Research: Yoga & Fibromyalgia

In the first published study to look at yoga as a treatment for fibromyalgia, two weekly classes of yoga over an eight week period were shown to improve psychological functioning as well as to reduce levels of pain. The 22 women who participated also showed beneficial changes in cortisol levels after the yoga intervention. To read more, visit www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3160832/?tool=pubmed

 

for Amy’s complete calendar of events:

yogafordepression.com/calendar

Overcoming Trauma through Yoga: Reclaiming Your Body by David Emerson and Elizabeth Hopper, PhD

Reviewed by Dawn Hamilton, LFYP – 2

Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga

This concise book is a helpful and uplifting reference work for clinicians, yoga teachers as well as survivors of trauma. As a LifeForce Yoga Practitioner, I can say that the book is completely aligned with the compassionate guidance I received at LFYP training. Using recent discoveries in neuroscience as well as their own clinical experience at The Trauma Center, the authors clearly demonstrate that yoga, when adapted to the unique sensitivities of trauma survivors, can help them manage the debilitating onset of triggers in their daily lives, assisting them forward on their healing journey.

Emerson and Hopper provide a good framework for understanding the deep impact of trauma on the entire human being, with profound and compassionate descriptions of PTSD and trauma. The book includes an informative history of the treatment of people affected by various forms of trauma, whether it be war, abuse, violence or accident, and the evolution of that treatment. They reveal new scientific research which shows our sense of selves is deeply anchored in a vital connection with our bodies. This tells us the wounds of trauma are held deep within the human body, and therefore to fully heal, treatment must include somatic elements. The intrinsic mind/body connection of yoga provides the practitioner with the vital link between wounds stuck inside the body and the deep healing needed.

The authors do an excellent job distinguishing specific needs of trauma-sensitive yoga practitioners from other yogis by sharing case studies of trauma survivors bravely attending classes. They discuss the need to pace a trauma-sensitive yoga class slowly, the importance of creating a safe space to practice, careful attention to the words uttered by the yoga teacher, and whether or not to offer physical assists. They offer practical yoga exercises adapted to trauma survivors, including language for instructors emphasizing choice and empowering their students as collaborators.

Overall, the book is a powerful addition to existing research which is now starting to concur that yoga can truly heal. For yoga teachers, it is invaluable for showing that all students are not the same, and that adapting your class just takes compassion, special care and knowledge, which this book provides. Clinicians will benefit by learning that yoga unlocks traumatized bodies, and because the practices are simple – and can easily be done in an office setting. . Although trauma survivors may have moments of discomfort and from time to time, strong emotions may surface as they read, Overcoming Trauma through Yoga offers something critical to their healing: hope.

Dawn (Devi) is a LifeForce Yoga Practitioner – Level 2, a 200 hour Sivananda certified teacher, a 200 hour Wisdom Flow vinyasa graduate, and an ever grateful student. She is currently studying for her 500 hour certification with the Inner Peace School of Yoga Therapy.

Yoga for Emotional Balance: Simple Practices to Help Relieve Anxiety and Depression by Bo Forbes, Psy.D

Reviewed by Sue Tebb, PhD, LFYP-2 Yoga for Emotional Balance

Bo Forbes, psychologist, yoga therapist and author of Yoga for Emotional Balance: Simple Practices to Help relieve Anxiety and Depression trained, as I did, to work only with the mind through “talk” therapy. In her book, she offers Yoga as a portal through which the mind and body work together on the emotions of stress. Often, as is the case with Forbes, when we experience first-hand how emotions play out both in the mind and body, we look beyond our professional training for ways to address stress. Yoga is the path that Bo skillfully uses to help people experience that “the body holds an essential key to healing anxiety and depression.” She guides readers in developing a personal practice that uses mostly restoratives postures, pranayama, bandha work and mantras. The book offers picture demonstrations of the postures and the props needed so that people can self guide their practice. Forbes encourages readers to set a baseline, checking in with how they feel in their mind and their body as they begin to practice; practicing mindfulness so that they remain aware of tension and/or relief; and then at the end of the practice in relaxation, again evaluating their current state of mind and body. The book is helpful to both the yoga therapist and yoga practitioner when “talk” is not enough.

Susan Steiger Tebb, Ph.D., L.S.W., RYT, Professor, School of Social Work, Saint Louis University, has centered her research around family caregiving. As a social worker for more than forty years, she has worked with diverse family configurations. She is a LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Level Two and holds a Certificate of Completion in Therapeutic Yoga for Seniors from Duke Integrative Medicine.

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 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 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 gained tools for working with my own depression and with my clients’ depressions.” — Robert Sgona, LCSW, RYT, psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, Camden, ME.
“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 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 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 gained perspective of who I am in the world and this will change my life significantly.” — Mary Ford, artist, Southport, CT
“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 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 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 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 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
“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.
“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 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
“Words do not do justice to all that I learned. This workshop changed my life!” — Jen Nolan, Teacher, Cortland, NY
“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
“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 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
“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 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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