Issue 6

LifeForce Yoga® for Depression News

From Amy Weintraub, MFA, E-RYT (500),

author, Yoga for Depression (Broadway Books)

Dear Friends, Colleagues & Students,

When we experience only one-half of a pair of opposites, for instance grief versus joy, or shame versus potency, we remain stuck in our experience, unable to move forward.

–Richard Miller, Ph.D., Yoga Nidra: The Meditative Heart of Yoga(Sounds True)

Message from Amy:

During the winter months, it is vital that we have a practice to cultivate joy. It’s no surprise that a British psychologist has designated January 24th as the most depressing day of the year. What to do? “Where there are negative thoughts,” says Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras, “cultivate positive ones.” (II, 33) Those ancient yogis gave us strategies to do this.

For thousands of years, the Yogis have understood that we practice Yoga, on and off the mat, in order to create a container strong enough to embrace all the emotions. Equanimity arises when we can accept trauma and loss along with the abundance of blessings we are given. Yogic practices help us do that. No matter how gray the sky in Houston or Atlanta or Pittsburgh, the sky is blue from your airplane window when you are flying thirty thousand feet above the ground. In the same way, to sustain positive mental health through a bleak season, we must expand our horizons. Remember the feel of the sun on your face as you practice a Sun Salutation. Consider a chanting practice like the “Gayatri” mantra that invites the sun into your heart. And remember one of the many lessons that Yoga practice teaches— everything changes.

Welcome to the 6th issue of LifeForce Yoga® for Depression News!

In this newsletter, we’ll look at two books that help celebrate and embrace the wholeness we are. Rose Kress reviews the long awaited Kripalu Yoga by Richard Faulds and the Senior Kripalu Yoga teachers. This is a book that inspires compassionate practice on and off the mat.

Rose also reviews Richard Miller’s Yoga Nidra: The Meditative Heart of Yoga. In this new book and CD from Sounds True, Miller gives us a step-by-step guide to a Yoga Nidra practice (Yogic sleep or deep relaxation) that embraces all that life presents with equanimity and awareness. In the practice of Yoga Nidra, “whatever you are willing to be with,” says Miller, “you go beyond. Sensory impressions and habit patterns that you neither resist nor get involved in expand and pop, dissolve and disappear, like bubbles rising to the surface of a lake.”

Included in this newsletter are practice suggestions for Seasonal Affective Disorder, new research reports related to mental health and Yoga, current news items, and my schedule through 2006. If you are unable to read the schedule, please visit the calendar on my web site at: workshop s.htm.

Also, you’ll find a new way to learn. For the first time, I’ll be teaching LifeForce Yoga®: The Breath and Depression, as a three-part Tele-class, on Monday evenings in January. You can take the live class right from home by calling an 800 number. Let’s meet on the phone. For more information and to enroll, please visit http://www.yog

In this Issue:





Schedule of Workshops & Trainings


PRACTICE: Seasonal Affective Disorder & Winter Blues

Several studies have shown that it is not the holiday season that brings on the blues, but the lack of sunlight, especially for the 2% of the poplulation that suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and the 20% of the population who suffer from the Winter Blues.

SAD is a recurrent depressive disorder, that is a variant of bipolar disorder, during which a person predictably becomes depressed in months with short days. It often begins in September, October and November as the winter solstice gets closer. The Winter Blues occur in January and February. People with winter blues have good days when the weather clears, whereas seasonal affective disorder doesn’t correlate with the temperature.

A Yogic prescription for both Winter Blues and SAD is to practice! Often we feel sluggish because of lack of exercise. Try an inversion every day. Even if you haven’t mastered headstand, you may benefit from the pineal gland stimulation of placing the crown of your head on the mat, below your heart. Ask a qualified Yoga instructor to teach you seated Yoga Mudra or rabbit pose (sarvangasana).

Include breathing exercises (pranayama and kriya) in your posture (asana) practice. The increased flow of oxygen to your brain will make you feel better.

RESEARCH: Mantra Chanting for Stress Reduction

Efficacy of frequent mantram repetition on stress, quality of life, and spiritual well-being in veterans: a pilot study.

Authors: Bormann, J.E., Smith, T.L., Becker, S., Gershwin, M., Pada, L., Grudzinski, A.H., & Nurmi, E.A. Source: Journal of Holistic Nursing, 23 (4), 395-414. December 2005. Contact:

Researchers at San Diego State University’s Veterans’ Healthcare System examined the benefits of a mantram meditation on perceived stress, anxiety, anger, symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), quality of life, and spiritual well- being.

A central goal of this study was to consider an intervention that specifically addresses spirituality and spiritual coping. The authors note that many stress-reduction interventions offer strategies for relaxation, emotional coping, and cognitive change, but fail to address spiritual concerns.

62 outpatient veterans (90% men, with a mean age of 62) participated in the full study, which consisted of a 5-week, 90-min per week intervention, with pre-intervention and post-intervention self- report measures of stress, anxiety, anger, quality of life, and spiritual well-being.

The intervention included 5 classes:1) How to Choose a Mantram, 2) How to Use and Track Mantram Practice, 3) Developing One-Pointed Attention, 4) Slowing Down, and 5) Putting It All Together. Participants choose a mantram from a recommended list that included several major spiritual traditions. Below are a few examples from that list:

Buddhist: Om Mani Padme Hum (Ohm Mah-nee Pod-may Hume), an invocation to the jewel (Self) in the lotus of the heart Christian: Kyrie Eleison (Kir-ee-ay Ee-lay-ee-sone), Lord have mercy, or the Lord is risen. Hindu: Rama (Rah-mah), eternal joy within. Jewish: Shalom, Peace Muslim: Bismallah Ir-rahman Ir-rahim (Beesemah-lah ir- rah-mun ir-rah-heem), in the name of Allah, the merciful, the compassionate Native American: O Wakan Tanka Oh, Great Spirit

Participants were taught how to use their mantram in everyday life and activities, rather than as practice limited to seated meditation. Participants reported an average of 8.7 (SD=7.32) daily mantram sessions. Results: Participants reported significant improvements in all outcomes: stress, anxiety, anger, quality of life, and spiritual well-being. The largest improvements were in anxiety and spiritual well-being. Additional analyses suggest that greater frequency of mantram practice is associated with greater improvements. The authors recommend continued study and application of mantram in health care settings.

[Excerpted from the International Association of Yoga Therapists Newsletter]

RESEARCH: Combining Meditation and Massage

A randomized controlled trial of meditation and massage effects on quality of life in people with late-stage disease: a pilot study.

Authors: Williams, A.L., Selwyn, P.A., Liberti, L., Molde, S., Njike, V.Y., McCorkle, R., Zelterman, D., & Katz, D.L. Source: Journal of Palliative Medicine, 5, 939-52. October 2005. Contact: Send reprint requests to David L. Katz, MD, MPH,

The combination of meditation and massage was shown to be an effective way to improve the physical and spiritual well-being of AIDS patients in longterm care. Researchers at the Yale Prevention Research Center conducted a randomized, controlled pilot study of Metta meditation (lovingkindness), with and without massage, to investigate the independent and synergistic effects on quality of life among patients with AIDS.

Both the meditation-only and massage-only groups maintained or improved function, while the standard-care control group showed a decline. Only the combined intervention group (meditation plus massage) showed significant improvements in well-being at the 8-week follow-up. In particular, the combined intervention group showed improvement in function, interpersonal well- being, and spiritual well-being. These benefits seemed to persist at the longest follow-up (68 weeks). Both the meditation-only and massage-only groups maintained or improved function, while the standard-care control group showed a decline.

These results suggest that meditation and touch therapy complement each other in end-of-life and advanced-illness care. This is an important idea for both individual yoga therapists, who may be able to supplement instruction with manual/touch therapies or collaborate with other therapists, and for program development at hospitals, hospice centers, and other healing centers.

[Excerpted from the International Association of Yoga Therapists Newsletter]


Evidence for Yoga as a Treatment for Depression

The Journal of Affective Disorders has published a review of five studies that measured the effect of Yoga practice on depression between January and June of 2004. For the first time, this review looked only at Yoga interventions that included pranayama breathing and relaxation. Three of the studies included breathing practices and relaxation only. Neither meditation-only nor the well- known mindfulness-based stress reduction program, which includes many practice components in addition to Yoga, were included. All five randomized control trials reported positive outcomes for populations with mild to severe depression. No adverse effects were reported with the exception of fatigue and breathlessness in participants in one study.

Authors: Pilkington, K., Kirkwood, G., Rampes, H., & Richardson, J. Research Council for Complementary Medicine, London, UK

NEWS: Teenage Major Depression on the Rise

According to Government statistics, nearly one in ten American teenagers experienced major depression last year. The results also show that depressed youths are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol or abuse drugs. The survey showed that fewer than half received treatment for depression.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration says the survey reveals 9 percent of teens were depressed and older teens are more at risk.

About 12 percent of youth aged 16 or 17 faced severe depression in 2004, compared with about 5 percent of those 12 or 13 years old. Among those age 14 or 15, 9 percent experienced a major episode.

Excerpted from All Headline News, Andrea Moore, reporter Washington, D.C. (AHN) – According to Government statistics, nearly one in ten American teenagers experienced major depression last year. The results also show that depressed youths are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol or abuse drugs. The survey showed that fewer than half received treatment for depression. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration says the survey reveals 9 percent of teens were depressed and older teens are more at risk. About 12 percent of youth aged 16 or 17 faced severe depression in 2004, compared with about 5 percent of those 12 or 13 years old. Among those age 14 or 15, 9 percent experienced a major episode.

NEWS: Update on the VNS Stimulator

As reported in previous newsletters, several months ago, the US Food and Drug Administration, finally approved the implantation of the Vagus Nerve Stimulator developed and sold by Cyberonics as a treatment for depression. There has been a cautious response to this device among the psychiatric establishment. Insurance companies are slowly coming on-board. According to Cyberonics, sixty-two are agreeing to reimburse patients for their costs, and 250 surgeons and 2,000 psychiatrists have been trained in its use.

It has been shown that certain yogic breathing— kriyas, Sudharshan Kriya in particular–likely stimulate the vagus nerve. Before opting for the expensive implantation ($15,000 for the device; $25,000 for the surgery), try learning and practicing one of these kriyas. To find out about learning Sudharshan Kriya, contact the Art of Living Foundation.

News: LifeForce Yoga® Tele-Class in January

LifeForce Yoga® Breathing for Depression

Tele-classes are a live 60-minute telephone lecture that includes a question period. They are a convenient way to receive knowledge from the comfort of your home, office or studio. All you need is a phone. Register and you also receive a recorded version of the class.

Dates: Mondays, January 16, 23, 30

Cost: $24.95 CDN for one class

$44.95 CDN for two classes

$67.00 CDN for all three classes

Times: 9:00 pm EST / 6:00 pm PST

We will discuss

•the current research on depression

•Yogic Breathing: Pranayama and Kriya and their use and precautions in working with mood

•the effect of alternate nostril and single nostril techniques on mood, their application and their contraindications

•practice alternate nostril and single nostril techniques for elevating mood


Live Radio Call-in Show on Yoga for Depression

I’ll be talking to Jennifer Louden, host of LOUDENCLEAR, on Martha Stewart Living Radio, Sirius Channel 112, on Sunday, January 22nd at 8:10 Pacific/12:10 pm EST time. You can join the conversation by calling 1- 866-675-6675.


Kripalu Yoga: A Guide to Practice on and Off the Mat. Richard Faulds & Senior Teachers of Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health

This highly anticipated release holds the spirit of Kripalu within its 418 pages. Written by Faulds and the Senior Teachers, the book aims to give the reader an in depth look at all of the practices of Kripalu yoga – not just postures and breath work – and it succeeds. Despite the amount of contributors, the work flows beautifully while Faulds manages to keep the tone and feel of Kripalu contained within the text. Readers will be pleasantly surprised to find the words of their favorite teachers quoted throughout the pages. Another wonderful addition is the testimonials of teachers and practitioners, which give the book a very personal feel. A large section of the work is devoted to Yoga & Health where the authors discuss adapting poses to deal with physical limitations as well as using certain postures to heal those “problem areas,” making this section more therapeutic in nature. More than just testimonials and postures, the work contains information on the classical and philosophical roots of yoga. There are also many exercise inserts where the reader can begin to experience and participate in what they are reading. As a special treat for those of you that have visited Kripalu, you will find the pages filled with many familiar faces.

Rose Kress, RYT, President, Arizona Yoga Association

To Order: www.k


Yoga Nidra: The Meditative Heart of Yoga. Richard Miller, Ph.D. – CD & Book

This is a book you’ll enjoy holding in your hands. It’s a beautiful book to hold and to read. In it, Richard Miller shares his personal experience of Yoga Nidra. He describes a meditative practice that not only leads to profound relaxation, but to the resolution of trauma, the release of chronic stress and the neutralization and overcoming of anxiety, fears, anger and depression. As he instructs it, the practice works to train the mind. “Yoga Nidra,” he says, “invites your innate intelligence and intrinsic clarity to rise to the surface of your conscious mind, allowing you to uncover and access the wisdom resources of your higher levels of consciousness.” While experiencing Yoga Nidra, we are guided into an approximation of sleep yet asked to remain aware thus training ourselves to “live consciously as witnessing Presence that is always awake and full of equanimity.” This is not just a practice to gain deeper relaxation; rather it is an experience in finding a state of higher consciousness in our everyday lives so that we can lead a more peaceful and balanced existence. The book, designed to extend your understanding of the experience of the practice on the CD, gives a history, contains many lovely quotes, and also includes worksheets to aid your practice. The CD provides the experience in 2 separate practices, broken into sections, followed by a full practice, coming in at just over 35 minutes of blissful relaxation guided by Richard’s soft, caring and very present voice.

Rose Kress, RYT, President, Arizona Yoga Association

To order:






Tucson, AZ

January 7 – 12th, 2006 NEW! First LifeForce Yoga® Healing Intensive (CE credits available) in Tucson. [click here to go to the brochure.] Info: Rose Kress – 520 349-2644.

Your Home

Mondays Jan.16, 23, 30, 2006 &n bsp; < /span>

9:00 PM EST

6:00 PM PST LifeForce Yoga® Breathing for Depression, 3-Part Tele-class Series. For description and registration, visit</ font>

Your Home

Sunday, Jan. 22, 2006

11:00 AM EST

8:00 AM PST Live Interview with call-in questions, “Louden Clear” on Martha Stewart Living Radio, Sirius Channel 112. CALL IN 1-866-675- 6675

Lenox, MA

February 24 – 26, 2006 Yoga to Beat the Blues, Kripalu Center, 800-741- 7353

Austin, TX

March 3-5, 2006 LifeForce Yoga® to Beat the Blues, The Crossings, 877 944-3003

Washington, DC

March 16 – 20th, 2006 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium – Amy will lead a Pre-Conference Day-Long Workshop, Clinical presentation: Yoga as Complementary Treatment for Mood Disorders, Morning Yoga & Afternoon Integration practice.

Washington, DC

March 19th, 2006 1:30 – 5:30 PM LifeForce Yoga® to Beat the Blues, Spiral FLIGHT, 1826 Wisconsin Avenue, NW 202.965.1645, m

Tucson, AZ

April 7 – 9th, 2006 LifeFor ce Yoga morning session, Triangle of Empowerment Conference, www.thein 520 322- 7689.

Columbus, Ohio

April 28, 2006 7:30–9:30PM LifeForce Yoga® for Depression and Anxiety—Intro, Yoga on High, 1081 North High St.,< /font>, 614 291-4444.

Columbus, Ohio

April 28 – 30th, 2006

Fri: 7:30– 9:30PM;

Sat: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM;

2:00 – 5:00 PM; Sun: 9:30AM – 1:00 PM

LifeForce Yoga® for Depression and Anxiety, Yoga on High, 1081 North High St.,< /font>, 614 291-4444.

Austin, TX

May 21 – 26, 2006 LifeForce Healing & Retreat Training, The Crossings, 877 944-3003 CEU’s available

Watsonville, CA

June 2 – 4th, 2006.

June 2 – 6th, 2006 LifeForce Yoga® to Beat the Blues! Mount Madonna Center

(408) 847-0406 6-2.html

Lenox, MA

July 2 – 7, 2006 LifeForce Yoga® Training for Depression & Anxiety, Kripalu Center, 800-741- 7353

Rhinebeck, NY

July 7 — 9th, 2006 Breathe to Beat the Blues, Omega Institute, 800-944- 1001

Rhinebeck, NY

July 10 — 14th, 2006 LifeForce Yoga® to Beat the Blues, Omega Institute, 800-944- 1001

Lenox, MA

September 8–10, 2006 Breathe to Beat the Blues, Kripalu Center, 800-741- 7353

Lenox, MA

September 10–15, 2006 LifeForce Yoga® to Beat the Blues, Kripalu Center, 800-741- 7353

New York, NY

September 15–17, 2006 Presenter, Omega Institute Yoga Conference, 800-944- 1001

Austin, TX

November 3-5, 2006 Yoga to Beat the Blues, The Crossings,</ u> 877-944-3003


McMan’s Depression and Bipolar Weekly

In his excellent on-line newsletter, editor/writer John McManamy reports on current research, particularly related to pharmaceuticals. However, he also keeps readers in the know about complementary treatments, new books and other resources. John is working on a book about bipolar disorder. You can subscribe by emailing and put “Subscribe” in the heading and your email address in the body.


International Association of Yoga Therapists

This organization maintains a vast database of Yoga research, a library, publishes a yearly journal, and a tri-annual newsletter with current research and articles. In addition, IAYT maintains a searchable online member database, which folks can use to locate a Yoga therapist/teacher in their local area. (They currently do not do any verification of training and experience.) If you are a health professional, a Yoga teacher or therapist or have an interest in Yoga therapeutics, I highly encourage you to become a member.


Yoga for Depression

To learn move about Yoga for Depression (Broadway Books)

To listen to Amy’s audio practice CD, Breathe to Beat the Blues

Blessings on recovering and maintaining your positive mental health!


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

“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
“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
“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 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 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 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 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 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 gained tools for working with my own depression and with my clients’ depressions.” — Robert Sgona, LCSW, RYT, psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, Camden, ME.
“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.
“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
“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 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
“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
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
“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 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 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.
“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 gained perspective of who I am in the world and this will change my life significantly.” — Mary Ford, artist, Southport, CT
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