We cannot immunize ourselves from the stress of terrible events, no matter how vigilant we are about taking care of ourselves in all
areas of our lives. But I do think our yoga-based practices, writing, juicing, studying our dreams, digging in the earth, walking in nature, authentic connections with true friends, help us ground and breathe our way through the darker days with maybe a little more stability in all the koshas. Stay connected with each other (friends, family, community) and, through your practice, with who you really are beneath whatever mood may be visiting or story the media may be reporting. Namasté, Amy In this Issue:
- Research: Gentle Iyengar and LifeForce Yoga for Women with Major Depression
- News: LifeForce Yoga Home-based Research Practice Now Available
- News: Early-Bird Special for the LifeForce Yoga 200-hour Teacher Training
- News: Yoga Teacher Magazine Interview with Amy Weintraub
- Review: Mudras of India: A Comprehensive Guide to the Hand Gestures of Yoga and Indian Dance by Cain Carroll and Revital Carroll
- Review: Gentle Yoga with Krutika
- Media Mention: Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Health Care
- Media Mention: Congratulations to Richard P. Brown MD and Patricia L. Gerbarg MD!
- Events Calendar
In a randomized and controlled, mixed-methods study conducted at the University of Virginia, Patricia Kinser and her colleagues compared an 8-week yoga intervention with an attention-control group focused on health and wellness. While both decreased symptoms of major depression in the 27 women enrolled in the study, the yoga group had a unique trend in decreased ruminations. Participants in the yoga group reported experiencing increased connectedness and gaining a coping strategy through yoga. Dr. Kinser, the lead author of the study, is also a yoga teacher and LifeForce Yoga Practitioner. She wrote a manual for the yoga teachers who delivered the yoga protocol, in which the essential elements of LifeForce Yoga were covered, including “setting the safe and sacred container,” “meeting the mood with the practice,” “permission to adapt,” and pranayama breathing practices. The physical postures were designed as a gentle practice, incorporated from Iyengar and Kripalu Yoga. Participants were guided at home by selections from the LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues – DVD, and weekly handouts with class themes, pictures and descriptions of the poses practiced in class that week. The control group attended an 8-week series of health education sessions titled “Health and Wellness Program,” involving lectures and video. According to the authors, “…participants in the study were encouraged to use yogic practices in a way that best met their daily needs, which differentiates this yoga intervention from others in the literature that do not account for individual mood differences.” Kinser, P., Bourguignon, C., Whaley, D., Hauenstein, E., Taylor, A.G. (in press). “Feasibility, acceptability, and effects of gentle Hatha yoga for women with major depression” Archives of Psychiatric Nursing.
For the first time, we are making the 30-minute practice used in LifeForce Yoga research studies available for purchase as a downloadable mp3. The practice, developed and led by Amy Weintraub, founder of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute, is accessible to all, includes a brief centering meditation, some gentle warm-ups for the spine with breath and sound, and the LifeForce Yoga Chakra Clearing Meditation. A downloadable manual with photos accompanies this mp3. Download today
You can save $200, if you sign up by July 1 for the 200-hour LFY Teacher Training at Yogaville, near Charlottesville, VA, with our exceptional faculty:
- Amy Weintraub, Founder, LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute
- Rudy Peirce, Senior Kripalu Yoga Teacher Trainer, Founder of Gentle Yoga Training
- Rose Kress, LifeForce Yoga Education and Program Director
- Grace Jull, Senior Kripalu Yoga Teacher and Founder of Grace’s Anatomy
Offered in two 13-day sessions: Session One: Nov 30 – December 13th, 2013. Session Two: Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2014. For more information, visit the training page.
Read about Amy’s personal journey through depression to become a yoga teacher dedicated to helping others heal from depression, and then an author, researcher and trainer of yoga and mental health professionals in the use of yoga to manage mood. http://www.yogateachermagazine.com/content/amy-weintraub
Review: Mudras of India: A Comprehensive Guide to the Hand Gestures of Yoga and Indian Dance by Cain Carroll and Revital Carroll
Neuroscience suggests that our touch-screen technology is depriving us of the evolutionary use of our hands as tools of the mind, diminishing the effort-driven reward system, putting us at greater risk for depression. (See Lifting Depression: A Neuroscientist’s Hand-On Approach to Activating Your Brain’s Healing Power by Kelly Lambert, Ph.D.) If this is true, Mudras of India offers us a way back to using our hands that could potentially reduce depression. Written by a yogi and a classically trained Indian Dancer, this is an astonishingly beautiful and well-researched book that offers the sacred art of hand gestures. In connecting hand to mind and heart, these 250 mudras can sustain our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. The mudras are arranged alphabetically, beautifully photographed, described, instructed and considered in terms of their symbolism and meaning in ritual. Where applicable, their traditional health benefits are included. Using the comprehensive index at the back can help you find the appropriate mudra to right imbalances in body mind and spirit. Whether you come to Mudras of India with an interest in dance, yoga, meditation or your own self-care, you will be well-served. Buy your copy here!
On this CD, Krutika Protzman, who teaches gentle yoga classes at Kripalu Yoga Center, serves up a LifeForce Yoga practice that meets the couch potato mood and both calms and energizes. Throughout, she uses chakra tones and mantra practices from LifeForce Yoga to calm the mind and to feel more grounded in the body. Warming-up postures for neck, shoulders and lower body are practiced in a seated position and lying down. She leads a counted breathing practice, using a metronome, so that we can count inhalation, exhalation and brief retention for ourselves, following her initial instructions. She builds the energy slowly, inviting us into a stimulating spinal flex with “Flying Cow,” followed by a brief standing practice with standing twists, Breath of Joy and Mountain pose. The arc of the practice returns us to the floor again and onto the back for gentle stretching and then into a deep relaxation–the best part! This is an ideal practice for evening, particularly for insomnia, in that it increases activity (and likely sympathetic nervous system activity) mid-way through but ends in a soothing relaxation that can prepare the practitioner for sleep. If practiced in the morning, the practitioner will likely feel calm and balanced, but not over-stimulated. If practiced at night, be prepared. You may fall asleep right on your mat! Purchase your copy here!
This award-winning documentary investigates the issues facing American healthcare and a balanced analysis of some key things we could do to address the problems. ESCAPE FIRE examines the powerful forces maintaining the status quo, in which America spends more than any other nation, and yet our healthcare ranks 50th among nations. Filmmakers Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke follow dramatic human stories as well as leaders fighting to transform healthcare at the highest levels of medicine, industry, government, and the US military. It features Andrew Weil, Dean Ornish and many experts on the healthcare system. LifeForce Yoga Practitioner and senior iRest teacher Robin Carnes is featured in the section on the military. The movie takes the position that mind-body approaches are evidence-based and more effective than many procedures that are routinely paid for by insurers. To purchase the DVD click here.
Their book, The Healing Power of the Breath, published by Shambhala, has won a 2013 Nautilus Silver Award! To read my earlier review of this book and CD, click here. Dr. Gerbarg and Dr. Brown will be guest teachers in the LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training at Kripalu in July. For more information about that training, click here.