Issue 39


Research: In-Depth Discussion Of iRest For Combat-Related PTSD

“Transforming Trauma: A Qualitative Feasibility Study of Integrative Restoration (iRest) Yoga Nidra on Combat-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” L. Stankovic, MA RYT

In this qualitative study, not only does the author suggest what works in the iRest protocol developed by Richard Miller, PhD, but he also examines what modifications might enhance the effectiveness for this population of mostly Viet Nam era veterans living with PTSD. With the cooperation of a community mental health agency in the San Francisco Bay Area treating vets and the supervising psychologist, Stankovic lead an 8-week series of Integrative Restoration sessions, a protocol which was first used with active duty soldiers suffering from PTSD at Walter Reed Army Hospital in 2006. iRest is a form of yoga meditation, adapted from Swami Satyananda Saraswati’s yoga nidra. The meditative self-inquiry practice moves through ten stages that include awareness of body sensation, breath, emotions, thoughts & beliefs, and joy. The eleven completers of the initial sixteen who began the study reported “reduced rage, anxiety, and emotional reactivity and increased feelings of relaxation, peace, self-awareness and self-efficacy.” What most impressed me about this well-written study in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy is the clear explanation of Miller’s combat trauma adaptions of the protocol and the rationale behind them. This is the first time I’ve seen in print such a thorough comparison of iRest as a treatment for PTSD to other therapeutic modalities like Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Exposure Therapy. The article includes many direct quotes from participants. In a section the author calls, “Lessons Learned,” he carefully analyzes the participants’ responses and makes suggestions for future implementation of the protocol, data collection and post-study follow-up. For anyone who uses relaxation techniques, mindfulness meditation, yoga nidra or iRest with a population living with combat-related PTSD or would like to, this article may be a tremendous resource.

This study can be found in the current issue of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, #21, 2011. For more information visit

Research: Looking At Your Brain On Yoga

Richard Davidson, at the University of Wisconsin has been looking at meditating brains for several years now, and has advanced our understanding of the impact of compassion meditation and other forms of mindfulness. To my knowledge, this study will be the first to look at yoga practice itself. Researchers at LONI (Laboratory of Neuro Imaging) at the UCLA School of Medicine are studying brain plasticity. They are recuiting yoga practitioners who will undergo an intensive 4-week yoga teacher training (200 hours)*.

Yogis will be asked to complete 2 brief questionnaires (each about 5 minutes) and undergo a 20-minute MRI brain scan during their 1st visit. During their 2nd and 3rd visits, they will undergo a 20 minute brain scan only.

If you are interested in participating in this study, please email Eileen Luders, Ph.D.,

Research: Survey Article Of Yoga Benefits

For those who need to arm yourselves with evidence when dealing with those skeptical of yoga’s health benefits, be they your colleagues, clients, supervisors, or your own doctor, Catherine Woodyard’s survey article, “Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life,” in the most recent issue of the International Journal of Yoga (2011 Jul-Dec; 4(2): 49-54.) provides a spectrum of positive outcomes, culled from peer-reviewed articles published between 1990 and 2009. Results from this study show that yogic practices enhance muscular strength and body flexibility, promote and improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, promote recovery from and treatment of addiction, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, improve sleep patterns, and enhance overall well-being and quality of life.

This is an open access article, available on the internet at

Research: Yoga Reduces Insomnia In Post-Menopausal Women

A randomized controlled study in Brazil of the effects of yoga practice on insomnia in post-menopausal women compared yoga with two control groups, one doing passive-stretching, the other with no treatment, found that those practicing the yoga protocol for four months had significantly lower scores for climacteric (menopausal) symptoms and insomnia severity and higher scores for quality of life and resistance phase of stress. The study, which enrolled 44 women and took place at the University of Sao Paulo, will soon be published in the peer-reviewed journal Menopause.

Calendar Highlights

  • Kripalu Center
    Stockbridge, MA (February 3 – 5, 2012)
    Manage Your Mood with LifeForce Yoga: I am Bliss and So Are You!
    Let Amy guide you through self-inquiry with a menu of yoga practices that penetrate the clouds of unknowing to release whatever blocks you from remembering who you truly are.
  • Asheville Yoga Center
    Asheville, NC (February 10 – 12, 2012)
    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.
  • University of Arizona
    Tucson, AZ (March 10 – 11, 2012)
    Tucson Festival of Books
    Amy will be giving a talk alongside award-winning Tenth Door author, Michele Herbert. Michele’s spiritual memoir on the yoga path was one of Amy’s favorite books in 2010. This is a free event.
  • Omni Shoreham Hotel
    Washington, DC (March 21 – 25, 2012)
    Psychotherapy Networker
    Amy is the LifeForce Yoga facilitator for the symposium, leading morning Yoga and afternoon meditation. She will also be presenting two clinical sessions on the integration of yoga skills in psychotherapy.
  • Willow Street Yoga
    Silver Spring, MD (March 25, 2012)
    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.
  • Jai Shanti
    Atlanta, GA (March 30 – April 1, 2012)
    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.

for Amy’s complete calendar of events:

Into the Heart of Yoga: One Woman’s Journey, by Danna Faulds

Reviewed by Amy Weintraub

heartThe poet Danna Faulds begins this intriguing and carefully crafted memoir with her discovery of yoga in the early 1980’s, when she served as the law librarian for Dickinson College, hiding, even from herself, her serious eating disorder. Danna cried on her mat during that first session, releasing, if only for a few moments, the stress of her recent divorce and the driving need to control her life.

She takes us through the momentous events of her life, including her initial meeting with the kindred spirit, Richard Faulds, the law student and aspiring yogi, who was to become her husband. He became much more than that, as together they explored their desire to awaken. The keen yearning for enlightenment that had led Richard to consider life as a renunciate before they met, led them both into deeper relationship with a guru and life in an intentional community led by that guru. Danna’s journey weaves together the tale of her spiritual coming of age with the rise and fall of the Kripalu Center ashram community and its spiritual leader Amrit Desai.

The memoir gives us an unprecedented glimpse into Fauld’s personal yoga practice. The reader discovers, along with Danna, the impact of long dedication to daily practice-the deep cathartic releases, the raw vulnerabilities exposed to light, and the insights that emerge over a sustained commitment of intention and practice through even the darkest times.

If, as the nineteenth century poet Wordsworth says, “poetry is… emotion recollected in tranquility,” then Danna’s prose is emotion recollected in the flow between turbulence and tranquility. Throughout her story, which is in part Kripalu Center’s story, Danna immerses the reader in the felt sense of the memories she describes. We are there, not just in the rich and sometimes lyrical detail of her prose, but in the sharp, sometimes uncomfortable emotion that arose for her in that moment. Here is an account so brutally honest and true to the author’s perception at the time the events she describes were taking place, that we not only see Amrit Desai in a critical light, but we also see, from this reviewer’s point of view, the author’s occasional inability to recognize her own misplaced judgments of herself and others. It’s as though, as she writes, Danna today inhabits the Danna of 25 years ago, steepingin those old emotions, and parts of the book are written from that place. This weaving of perspective makes for a sometimes uncomfortable but always fascinating read. I highly recommend this spiritual journey, even if you’ve never stepped foot in Kripalu Center or taken a Kripalu class. If you are a seeker or are curious about those who are, this book is for you.

Purchase here.

iRest at Ease with Richard Miller

Reviewed by Rose Kress

easeThe full practice of iRest Yoga Nidra helps to strengthen one’s connection to an inner sense of well-being. Each session begins with setting yourself up so that you are comfortable – this may mean lying down, but can also include sitting or standing. Richard Miller or Kelly Boys walks you through cultivating a Heartfelt Desire, an intention for your practice and your Inner Resource. You are then guided through sensing the body, breath, feelings, emotions, beliefs and an ever present sense of awareness. Yoga Nidra leaves you feeling a deep sense of being awake to the present moment, which is a nice change from the constant reality of living in the past and fretting about the future. You will find yourself welcoming the “truth that you always know the perfect response to each circumstance of your life.”

Miller and Boys use the same script for each CD, with differences in their pacing and of course their voices. iRest states that the recording is available in both male and female voices to “better serve the different populations of men and women who are benefiting from the practice of iRest.” It is important to note that while the end result of a yoga nidra is fairly constant, the process of getting there seems to shift and change. This becomes apparent while practicing with both CDs. To this reviewer, Richard’s voice is familiar and evokes a sense of comfort due to the sheer number of times practiced with Richard and his CDs. Kelly’s voice, while new to me, brought a deep sense of familiarity because her voice is not too dissimilar to the way that I hear my own voice. In each case, I was left with sense of deep peace and inner knowing.

Richard Miller, PhD, the developer of iRest and mentor to Amy, has created this Yoga Nidra iRest resource, tailored for military service members, veterans and their families. However the practices here can be used by anyone wishing to develop “coping skills for everyday challenges and increase their sense of well-being.” iRest at Ease is actually two CDs, one recorded in a male voice (Miller’s) and one in a female voice (Boys). Each CD includes three separate iRest Practices: an 8 minute On-the-Go practice; a 20 minute Relaxing Body Scan; and a 33 minute Full iRest Practice.

Purchase here.

News: The Lifeforce Yoga Practitioner Training Level 1 In Tucson Approved For 58 Ceus (Nasw-Az)

January 8th – 15th, 2011

With Amy Weintraub and a faculty of yoga and mental health professionals.

There are still a few spaces left in the upcoming training.

In addition to learning an evidence-based practice for both depression and anxiety, the LifeForce Yoga® Practitioner(LFYP) will learn ancient strategies from both Tantric and Classical Yoga traditions for self-care. LFYPs learn Yogic practices supported by current research in psycho-neurobiology to help clear away the obstructions (chronic tensions, constricting beliefs, limiting emotions) that may be keeping trainees and those they serve from knowing and expressing their own authenticity and fullest potential. Learn how to create and sustain a safe container for students and clients and how to assess mood and constitution from a Yogic perspective. Throughout the training, LFYPs personally experience each exercise and have opportunities to observe their own sensations, feelings, and reactions. Trainees learn how to teach each exercise, have opportunities to practice teach with others and get feedback from the LFYP staff. Distinctions are made between those practices that may be safely led by a Yoga Teacher and those that may be suitable in a clinical setting, led by a health professional.

Click here for more information and registration

News: Kula For Karma Needs Your Vote

Kula for Karma, started by LifeForce Yoga Practitioners Penni Feiner and Geri Topfer, is a finalist in the Pepsi Refresh the World Competition. They are seeking a grant from Pepsi to fund Kula programs for Children on the Austism Spectrum.

Kula for Karma is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that offers therapeutic yoga, meditation instruction and stress management support services – at no charge – to those who have been challenged by difficult circumstances, including illness, addiction and abuse.

To vote:

to submit your vote online

via your mobile:

Text 109489 to Pepsi (73774)

News: Yoga for Osteoporosis: Teaching & Practice

6-part online course with Dr. Loren Fishman and Ellen Saltonstall

Yoga Spirit Online Trainings, November 10 – 28, but you can join anytime and receive the recordings.

These are two teachers I love. As an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Fishman has had enormous success in applying yoga in conditions where patients have come to him expecting surgery. And Ellen is a terrific teacher. So many of us and those we serve face the bone loss associated with age. that his patients After publishing their immensely popular book Yoga for Osteoporosis, Dr. Loren Fishman and Ellen Saltonstall have been inundated with questions about how exactly to target a yoga practice to meet the needs of people with osteoporosis. In this 6-part online course, they will go deeply into their unique approach to practicing and teaching yoga for osteoporosis. They will also discuss important new developments in the field of osteoporosis prevention and treatment, and the essential things any yoga teacher should know when working with people with osteoporosis.

A preliminary study conducted by Dr. Fishman indicates that practiced in the right way, yoga can indeed help build bone mass. The work of Dr. Loren Fishman has been featured in the New York Times, CNN and The Huffington Post.

All of the sessions of this webinar are recorded, so if you register after the start of the course, you will be able to download and view all of the classes at a time that is convenient to you.

As a special gesture, Loren and Ellen are enabling us to offer a 20% discount on the course to our subscribers! Enter coupon code OSTEO20 at checkout.

For more information, see the full course description here:

  • Yoga for Osteoporosis: Teaching & Practice
Get Two Free Reports

Want to learn more? Check out these two important free reports from Dr. Fishman and Ellen Saltonstall.

  • Yoga for Osteoporosis – 12 Do’s and Don’ts
  • Osteoporosis Drugs: Bad for Your Body – And Your Bones?

News: Inner Peace Yoga Therapy Training

The Inner Peace Yoga Therapy training program offers yoga teachers and health care professionals the tools needed to help individuals with health challenges manage their condition, reduce symptoms, restore balance, increase vitality, and improve attitude. Learn directly from top instructors in the fields of yoga therapy and Ayurveda, including: Marc Halpern, Nischala Joy Devi, Neil Pearson, Amy Weintraub, Maria KaliMa and more.

For dates and for more information, please visit their website,

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 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
“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 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 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
“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
“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
“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 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
“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.
“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
“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
“Words do not do justice to all that I learned. This workshop changed my life!” — Jen Nolan, Teacher, Cortland, NY
“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
“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 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 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 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 gained perspective of who I am in the world and this will change my life significantly.” — Mary Ford, artist, Southport, CT
“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
“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
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