Newsletter 71: Research on Meditation, Yoga and Executive Functioning, plus book reviews

 

At the beginning of November, I attended a memorial for my uncle Drum Hadley, cowboy, rancher, and poet. He said:

We are created in the image of the Earth. What we surround ourselves with, we become.

It set me to thinking (which my uncle would love) how much does our environment play into the ways that we feel? My uncle spent a lot of time on a ranch in Guadalupe Canyon in South Eastern New Mexico. The land is beautiful and the sky is endless and breath taking. Being there for the memorial, standing at his gravesite, I could not help but feel calm, connected, and at peace. In those moments, there was nothing to do but be present. What a joy to not be able to pick up a phone, or answer an email, or even watch TV. We talked, we hiked, we ate, we sat by a bonfire and sang songs.

drum-hadley-panorama

As wonderful as that experience was, I write to you from the concrete-electronic jungle, in which so many of us live. I am lucky, I have a yard with a garden and a park just blocks away. So many people do not have that. But even as I walk to the park I am surrounded the hum of civilization – cars, planes, cell phones, radios, etc. If we become a product of our environments, is it any wonder that anxiety is on the rise? A morning yoga practice is a beautiful way to reconnect to our deeper selves, but that connection becomes obstructed as we move out of our practice spaces into the concrete-electronic jungle.

On my drive home from the memorial I pondered what I wanted to add to my surroundings. I added nature pictures of places that I love to my practice space and to my work space. When I work, I play music that inspires a sense of peace, calm, happiness, or joy, depending on what I need. I put my favorite essential oils into a diffuser for motivation, clarity, peace, or balance. I even bring flowers into my office. In the middle of the day, after sitting at the computer for a couple of hours, I take a walk in the neighborhood and take in a little nature. Most important are the little yoga breaks – a yoga nidra, a couple of rounds of Breath of Joy or alternate nostril, 10 minutes on the yoga mat, or a mantra – all it takes is a 10 – 20 minutes to reconnect to a deeper sense of wholeness.

We would love to hear the ways that you bring lightness and peace into your surroundings.

Namaste and thank you,
Rose
Director, LifeForce Yoga

Research: Comparing Meditation Techniques on Mental Function

This recent study published in Conscious Cognition compared the two main meditation techniques. Researchers looked at “open monitoring” meditation (OM, not to be confused with the mantra OM), which is the practice of becoming aware of our thoughts and feelings and observing them without judgment—the basis of Mindfulness Meditation.  They compared OM to “focused attention” meditation (FA), an example of which is silent mantra repetition practice. Backing up previous studies, the researchers found that while both techniques enhanced executive functioning, “open monitoring” meditation may have a slight edge in enhancing attention orienting. Attention orienting is the term scientists use to indicate the mind’s ability to shift attention and refocus on the new object.

Comment: In our experience, a beginning meditator with a mood disorder accompanied by rumination and negative self-talk may find it easier to anchor the mind with a focus attention technique, like the LifeForce Yoga Chakra Clearing Meditation. After a period of practice with FA, OM may be used with a diminished risk of rumination.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27710818

Research: Yoga compared to stretching is better for the brain.

In a study to be published in December, researchers investigated what effects yoga has on the stress response, measured by changes in executive function. Executive function are cognitive processes that govern focus, inhibitory control, planning, reasoning, and problem solving. A group of 118 sedentary adults with an average age of 62 were randomized into an 8-week yoga group or a stretching control group. Self-reported stress, executive function, and salivary cortisol (stress hormones) levels were assessed at baseline and upon completion of the 8 weeks. The yoga group showed an improvement in executive function and a decrease in cortisol response. The stretching group showed poor cognitive functioning and increased cortisol levels.

Comments: The importance of this study, as mentioned by the researchers, demonstrates yoga’s ability to prevent cognitive decline in aging populations. Researchers used Hatha Yoga as the method of practice in the study, but we do not know what practices were included. To increase your cognitive functioning and executive function, go to a yoga class in your area, try one of the LifeForce Yoga DVDs, or the LifeForce Yoga Class with Rose.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27794449

Retreat Opportunities

The election season might be over, but the post election stress is eating away at relationships and sanity. Now, more than ever we need to focus on self-care, self-compassion, and compassion for others. Our retreat and trainings are a way to increase clarity, focus, and balance when we need it most. Take a weekend workshop, a 5-day, or a 7-day program to regain your center. The techniques you learn help you to ground and center on a daily basis. When you are grounded you can help others to regain their center.

Just Added! Yoga for Mood Management Retreat & Training: Module A
Feb 24 – 28, 2017 Mt. Eden Retreat Center, Washington, NJamy-weintraub-leading-flying-cow
with Rose Kress, Debbie Lubetkin, and Kathleen Williams
More information here
Registration is ongoing, early bird rate expires 11/18

LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training – Level 1
Jan 15 – 22, 2017 Desert Renewal Center, Tucson, AZ
with Amy Weintraub, Rose Kress, and Randy Todd
More information here
Registration is ongoing

LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood
Dec 11, 2016 Yoga Connection, Tucson, AZ
with Amy Weintraub
More information here – counts as the prerequisite for the Level 1 Training
Registration

Review: Sleep Suite: A Collection of Breath and Meditation Practices for Deep Rest

Reviewed by Amy Weintraub

sleep-suites-300x300Co-founder of Warriors at Ease and senior iRest Trainer, Robin Carnes has offered us a generous compilation of meditation and iRest practices designed for a good night’s sleep. It’s only in download format, because it would likely fill three or four CDs, so it’s a real bargain at $14.99.

I travel across multiple time zones to teach LifeForce Yoga and am often recovering from jetlag. The many practices encompassed on this compilation have been a Godsend for middle of the night awakenings.

Track One offers a nearly one hour iRest Meditation that is long on the body scan portion (Anamaya kosha). For a mind troubled by too many thoughts at bedtime, the emphasis here on body sensation can anchor the busy mind.  Other tracks offer portions of a good iRest Yoga Nidra that include finding your inner resource, body sensing, breath awareness and what Robin calls, “Expanded Attention Meditation” (Anandamaya Kosha). There is also a 61 Point Meditation, popular in the Himalayan Institute yoga tradition, but used in many other traditions as well. The final track, which I have never actually reached before falling asleep, is a Coherent Breath Meditation with chimes, popularized and taught by Drs. Richard Brown and Patricia Gerbarg in their Breath-Body-Mind workshops and trainings.

If you travel a lot or suffer from insomnia, I would not hesitate to download these tracks to your listening device and keep it and your earbuds on your bedside table.  I have Robin’s earlier CDs, Richard Miller’s, Jennifer Reis’s, Swami Satyananda Saraswati’s, and many others along with my own LifeForce Yoga Nidra for Mood Manage CD , and Robin’s new compilation is my current favorite.

Link to Robin’s site where you can purchase the recordings

Review: Classroom Yoga Breaks, Brief Exercises to Create Calm by Louise Goldberg

Reviewed by Ellen Campbell

classroom-yoga-breaksSeveral years ago, I reviewed Louise Goldberg’s highly informative book, Yoga Therapy for Children with Autism and Special Needs [See review in Newsletter Issue 53]. I found it to be an excellent resource for teachers, parents, and therapists, as well as a go-to guide for anyone looking to create a “curriculum of calm” for children with special needs in a home or school environment.

Ms. Goldberg has published a new book, Classroom Yoga Breaks, Brief Exercises to Create Calm; a work I believe deserves a spot on the bookshelves of educators and school administrators at every grade level. Louise Goldberg’s writing draws on over thirty years of Yoga Therapy experience. She is attuned to the stresses and demands that our current educational system places on children and teens, and offers a well-researched guide to help adults teach young people specific techniques for managing the emotions (anxiety, lack of focus, anger or low self-esteem, to name a few) that may arise in institutional academic settings.

Classroom Yoga Breaks is divided into five sections. Section I describes the origins of yoga and provides a valuable reminder that the postures and movements we are familiar with today are new additions to the centuries-old teachings of yoga. Louise Goldberg reminds us that the primary purpose of a yoga practice is “to prepare the body to sit in stillness, move with ease, and experience inner calm” (p.5)

Section II focuses on yoga in schools. Much of this information resonates with professional educators, as Goldberg draws parallels between her Yoga Break curriculum and such strategies as SEL (social and emotional learning) that are being implemented in many schools. Goldberg reminds us that even very short 1-5 minute yoga breaks–breathing exercises, postural movements and mindfulness activities–can effect positive change in the classroom. She addresses the various times of day when yoga breaks can be useful, including before tests, after lunch, and during transitions. She also discusses yoga as a compliment to physical education classes, anti-bullying strategies and programs for children with special needs. The final chapter of this section should not be overlooked as it discusses how to implement a yoga program within a school environment. Goldberg lays out three primary strategies and includes an important discussion regarding the education of administrators and parents as to what yoga is and is not. She also emphasizes developing the appropriate type of program for a given setting, as well as the importance of keeping lines of communication open with parents and teachers.

Section III offers an absorbing look into the intersection of neuroscience and yoga. We learn how simple movements and breath techniques can have a profound effect on our neurological state of being. Goldberg discusses current research findings that relate to yoga and the adolescent brain, as well as case studies that illuminate yoga’s ability to help with emotional regulation, mental flexibility, memory and so much more. The author provides a comprehensive overview of what is often labeled the “mind body connection” and helps us to understand the biochemical changes that occur when we are exposed to extended periods of stress.

In section IV, Goldberg lays out her Principles of Creative Relaxation; a program first implemented in 1983 that adapts yoga exercises for use in public schools and various therapeutic settings. The four principles of Creative Relaxation—to create a peaceful space, to engage the student, to provide tools for success and to foster independence—are thoroughly explored in chapters 14-17. The author gives examples of how yogic movement and breathing can support the implementation of these principles in the classroom. She also discusses how specific yoga exercises, i.e. yoga breaks, can change the mood of an individual, or the dynamic of an entire class. Examples include volcano pose as an outlet for frustration, tree pose for focus and balance, and partner poses for trust and social engagement. Instructions are provided for each of the yoga break exercises and photographs of students underscore how yoga can be enjoyed in a classroom setting without the need for yoga mats, props or fancy yoga attire!

While there is a great deal of information to absorb in Classroom Yoga Breaks, teachers and other busy adults will be pleased that Goldberg provides a complete Yoga and Mindfulness Curriculum in the fifth and final section of her book. She calls this program “Breathe First” and reminds us that it adheres to the Principles of Creative Relaxation covered in section IV. Goldberg’s Breathe First Yoga and Mindfulness Curriculum is divided into twelve units with over 200 postures and practices that can be done individually or as a series. It is a wonderful resource for teachers who may want to follow the curriculum in its entirety or for those who would rather select particular units, or even specific postures, to incorporate into the school day. LifeForce Yoga Practitioners will appreciate Goldberg’s ability to translate many familiar yoga techniques into classroom-friendly exercises. “Yoga Singing”, for example, incorporates the soothing sounds of O, Oo, Ah, A, E, M, N [used in LifeForce Yoga practices] to balance the body and open the throat area (p. 225). Goldberg’s instructions are concise and the accompanying photographs provide an additional layer of information for teachers interested in bringing yoga breaks into an academic setting.  Readers will also find several useful appendixes in Classroom Yoga Breaks, Brief Exercises to Create Calm, as well as an in-depth list of references and resources.

There is much to appreciate in Louise Goldberg’s book and it is my hope that it will find its way into the hands of teachers, parents and school administrators throughout the country. With the availability of this resource, I believe we can transform the classroom experience for our youth, one breath at a time!

Review: A Year of Living with More Compassion, Second Edition, by Richard Fields, PhD (editor, co-author)

Reveiwed by Liz Payne Merideth

more-compassionWho needs more compassion? I do, and maybe you do too. So treat yourself to a copy of Richard Fields’ A Year of Living with More Compassion, second edition. It’s a lovely read, and a practical resource for anyone interested in cultivating a deeper sense of kindness, understanding, and authenticity.

Revised and updated, this guide, at 151 pages, is a compendium of insightful quotes, personal stories, and exercises that challenge the reader to reflect, week by week, on one’s own compassion. The redesigned second edition brings together 28 master teachers in the fields of mindfulness, psychology, and awareness (including Joan Halifax, Tara Brach, Daniel Siegel and LifeForce Yoga founder Amy Weintraub). Each contributor shares a much loved quote coupled with a discussion and a gentle “compassion practice” exercise to cultivate self-exploration and empathy.

Fields’ mission is to help you develop more self-compassion and compassion by shifting away from self-limiting habits. Utilize the book as you like, but it’s organized, ostensibly weekly, with 52 lessons in all. Fields has also divided the book into seven sections, each dedicated to a specific theme. The second edition has been sequenced more effectively and the new sections include, Self-Compassion; Compassion Readiness; Opening Your Compassionate Heart; Compassion & Connection; A Better Way to Deal with Reactive Emotions: Anger, Hate, Criticism, Fear; Opening Your Heart: Kindness, Generosity & Forgiveness; and Compassion & Suffering. Each lesson builds upon the last, and the collection becomes a path that walks you through an easy-to-follow program of empathy enhancement.

A Year of Living with More Compassion is an amenable handbook to help you lighten up on quiet judgment or inner criticism. The message is especially poignant, and in light of today’s social and political milieu, it goes almost without saying that this book is a timely read indeed.

Contributors

Rose Kress, ERYT-500, LFYP-2, YACEP, Director of LifeForce Yoga, author of Mantra Chanting with Rose and Pathways to Relaxation.

Amy Weintraub, MFA, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT, YACEP, founder of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute, the author of Yoga for Depression (Broadway Books, 2004) and Yoga Skills for Therapists: Effective Practices for Mood Management (W.W. Norton, 2012)

Ellen Campbell is a LifeForceYoga Level 1 Practitioner; she teaches yoga to children and adults in Tucson, Arizona   http://www.yogawithellen.com/

Liz Payne Merideth is a soon to be RYT-200 in Tucson, AZ. She plans to teach yoga classes intended to manage moods and ease stress, and eagerly awaits LFYP Level I training in January 2017.

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What People Say

“Words do not do justice to all that I learned. This workshop changed my life!” — Jen Nolan, Teacher, Cortland, NY
“The pieces I wrote in Amy’s workshop are the best I’ve done. She brought out my confidence in myself and the best in my writing.” — Amy Wray, Iowa City, Iowa
“I’ve worked with Amy’s Yogic sets for the last two years and they have literally transformed my emotional state. Amy takes me, step-by-step, through postures and breathing exercises that straighten out my emotional tangles. Practicing Yoga has positively affected my whole world.” — S.S., retired computer engineer, Cambridge, 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 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 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 experience in Amy’s classes for the past four years has been uplifting and powerful. I have found that the techniques she shares are powerfully effective for dispelling the dark clouds of negativity and hopelessness. But more than that, Amy brings us the ability to easily access the inner world where healing and self-understanding reside.” — Cynthia Athina Kemp Scherer, author, The Alchemy of the Desert and The Art and Technique of Using Flower Essences, Tucson, AZ
“Amy is a treasure. Through her gentle and affirming teaching style, she helped me establish a yoga practice that has become a most satisfying and grounding aspect of my life. I was surprised by the depth of the experience and the enduring nature of the changes I enjoy through this practice.” — CA, journalist, videographer, Tucson, AZ
“This is a book about integrating the mind and the body, about using movement to mend oneself; in a world obsessed with psychopharmacology, reading it was a refreshing reminder that, in some cases, the tools we have to cure depression reside not in a pill, but in our own bodies, if we are willing to try.” — Lauren Slater, author of Prozac Diary and Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir
“I had the pleasure of experiencing several private yoga sessions with Amy Weintraub, which were for me the most profoundly healing yoga experiences I’ve had.  Amy has the gift of not only being very skillful in helping me feel supported and "held" in yoga postures physically, but, also, the ability to use words to bring me more deeply into my own inner experience. I found myself releasing emotions that had been held in my body for a long time.  After the sessions, I had the experience of being much more at home within myself and much more present to my own inner experience. This was particularly important for me since I am a body-centered therapist who specializes in helping people get in touch with emotions held in the unconscious. Amy’s work is very important in a world where so little attention is given to one’s own inner experience. I’m grateful for having had the opportunity to experience the power of yoga with Amy.” — L.F. 44, Rosen Method Bodyworker Practitioner, Florence, MA
“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
“As a musician living with multiple spinal deformities, I have participated in many yoga classes lead by Amy Weintraub. I see Amy’s classes as very fluid, well-structured arrangements of poses, breathing exercises and vocalizations. Amy manages to pace her sessions and her voice at just the right tempo as to add focus and confidence to the students’ efforts. The systematic progression of movements in Amy’s classes naturally engages the student to go further and further within, tapping into the wellspring of their potential.” — Léo Gosseli, musician, Prescott, AZ
“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
“Amy Weintraub's talent as a yoga instructor is surpassed only by her ability to inspire compassion and depth in each of her student's practice.” — LuAnn Haley, attorney, 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
“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
“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.
“Suffering from depression and chronic fatigue syndrome, I've tried medications, supplements, and many forms of traditional and nontraditional therapies without beneficial effects. While taking yoga classes with Amy at Kripalu, I noticed a definite shift in my consciousness, a reduction in stress, and an improvement in my well-being. Amy's classes have helped me to love and appreciate myself. Amy is an outstanding yoga teacher and in dealing with the fatigue and depression I experience, participation in her classes has been a real gift to my yoga practice and me.” — E. M., teacher, Lenox, MA
“I have realized how to go deeper into myself and find what is blocking me. I now can focus and clear my mind. Keep Amy! She is fantastic. She enabled me to release and find where I need to go.” — Kathy Myers, homemaker, State College, PA.
“In the compassionate voice of someone who definitely knows the territory of depression, Amy Weintraub presents Yoga science and personal stories, research results and poetry, and practice instructions that are genuinely interesting in this very readable book that is both comprehensive and totally inspiring.” — Sylvia Boorstein, author of That’s Funny You Don’t Look Like a Buddhist and It’s Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness
“With a specific emphasis on managing mood, Amy’s book delivers dynamic insights and yoga-based practices that she has refined over decades of first-hand experience working with clients, students, and therapists, that relax, focus, and reduce the symptoms and causes of anxiety, depression, and stress, as well as prepare the mind and body for the integrative work of psychotherapy.” — Richard Miller, Ph.D., author, Yoga Nidra: The Meditative Heart of Yoga, President, Integrative Restoration Institute.
“Amy Weintraub’s work is some of the most important in our world today for helping humanity understand more deeply the significance of the mind-body connection. Her insights are inspirational for yoga teachers and all readers. Her in-depth understanding of her subject is an important basis for personal, as well as societal transformation.” — Rama Jyoti Vernon, Founder, American Yoga College, co-founder Yoga Journal
“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 patients can now have the same effects as many medications without having to actually take medication!” — Deborah Lubetkin, PSY.D, LFYP, West Caldwell, NJ
“Amy is a wonderful instructor. She is a vital and vibrant person and she kept the program flowing. Her voice was very soothing and nurturing and she created an open, safe and sacred space.” — Mary Lou Tillinger, massage therapist/rural carrier, Plainfield, CT
“Yoga Skills for Therapists brilliantly opens a door to the physical and spiritual layers of a client - one that therapists and counselors have been waiting to walk through. Its chapters unfold a unique and inspiring blend of ancient traditions and contemporary concerns. From a place of genuine respect, integrity and intention, Amy offers easily applied foundational yogic practices to enrich the therapeutic experience for both client and practitioner.” – Elissa Cobb, MA. Director of Programs, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy
“It is not just Amy’s yoga classes that have added richness to my life as both a yoga student and a yoga therapist, it is more importantly how she integrates and exudes yoga into her daily life that is inspirational for me.  While I have been the beneficiary of her thoughtful, well constructed and emotionally well tuned yoga classes, I have also received her wit and wisdom through informal, "off-the-mat" interaction as well.  In both cases, I have been able to tune into myself at a deeper level and feel more successful in my practice as a result of her care-full teaching and living.” — JJ (Jesse) Lee, owner, Body & Soul Fitness Training, Reno, Nevada
“Amy’s teaching is enthusiastic and loving.  She guides me gently, harmoniously and confidently to a mindful state and encourages me to find my own strengths and edges.  With well-chosen language and carefully executed examples, she reminds me of my own inner healing knowledge.” — Penelope Simmons, artist, founder of Odyssey Storytelling, Tucson, AZ
“Amy Weintraub shows how to use yoga as a resource for psychological healing and personal growth. Her methods are grounded in ancient wisdom, informed by modern science, and eminently practical for reducing anxiety, lifting mood, and improving self-regulation. She is a master teacher, and her skills and heart are woven throughout this new classic for therapists, clients, and anyone interested in inner strength and peace.” — Rick Hanson, Ph.D. author of Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom
“I am indebted to Amy's Yoga instruction for teaching the part of me that had trouble letting go. My wife died almost two years ago, and I am now free of grief and other destructive thought-patterns. Since practicing Yoga with Amy, my meditation practice has gone to new dimensions.” — John deCoville, systems analyst, Tucson, AZ
“I gained tools for working with my own depression and with my clients’ depressions.” — Robert Sgona, LCSW, RYT, psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, Camden, ME.
“Amy is a beautiful gift in my life! Her yoga offers a powerful blend of the practical and mystical. She has developed yogic solutions to many chronic health problems, and to many of the ways we habitually get stuck in our bodies and minds. Amy's yoga keeps me grounded and healthy, like the earth under my feet.” — Mary Driscoll, freelance writer and Ph.D., Southwest Institute for Research on Women, University of Arizona
“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 typically live in a state of future hope and past fear, both totally about stress. When I practice yoga, my life begins again. I look out of new eyes that are a lot more about life and self-esteem. Amy is the best yoga teacher I have had.” — Jaqui Gee, massage therapist, Tucson, AZ
“In this well-written and well-researched book Amy Weintraub provides therapists with simple, easy-to-apply but powerful, breathing, meditation, and hand gesture techniques that do not require a mat or body postures. Therapists can easily incorporate these techniques into their practices without otherwise having to change what they do, and clients can use them on their own. Thank you Amy for giving us access to this ancient healing wisdom.” — Richard C. Schwartz, Ph.D., developer, Internal Family Systems Therapy, author, Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model
“Weintraub has written…a sensitive, intelligent, painstaking exploration of the deeper psychospiritual issues that make up the complex experience of depression.” — Phil Catalfo, Yoga Journal
“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
“Amy offers many guidelines and solutions through yoga, to both those who suffer from depression and to yoga teachers working with them.” — Angela Farmer, internationally known master Yoga teacher
“As a Yoga teacher, Amy Weintraub’s most outstanding quality is her kindness. I have seen her work often with very challenging students and always maintain her attitude of patience and compassion. She provides a safe and enriching class.” — Tom Beall, RYT 500, Yoga teacher, Tucson, 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.
“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
“Amy helped me find powerful personal images that fit perfectly into my short stories, and she helped me find a process to release my inner voice.” — Mark Heasley, Troy, Michigan
“Amy is extensively trained in many schools of Yoga. This allows her to provide a wide variety of information from which the student can choose. Amy knows that what benefits a student is a unique ‘recipe.’ She is a loving and kind teacher. As a colleague, I love to attend her classes!” — K.H., Yoga Teacher, Tucson, AZ
“Amy’s gentle and caring presence blends beautifully with her skillful Yoga teaching talents.  I have enjoyed attending Amy’s unique class offerings for the past 4 years now.  As a practitioner and teacher of Yoga, I find that her style of teaching creates a safe place for me to deepen my own Yoga practice, free from the competitive "striving" attitudes found all too often in Yoga classes.  I have appreciated Amy’s strong focus on acceptance and presence and always leave her classes feeling happier, lighter and more centered in my true self.” — Janine Walter, Oriental Bodywork Therapist and Teacher, Tucson, AZ
“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
“Research now validates what yoga adepts have claimed for thousands of years: Yoga practices profoundly affect our state of heart and mind! Drawing on her wisdom and notable expertise, Amy Weintraub guides us in bringing this ancient science of healing into clinical settings. Yoga Skills for Therapists is both practical and inspiring; it will allow you to offer the precious gifts of yoga to your clients and deepen the roots of your own practice as well.” — Tara Brach, Ph.D., author of Radical Acceptance (Bantam, 2003.)
“A psychotherapist might spend many years studying yoga and still not achieve anything near this elegant, practical, powerful integration. The instruction — while emerging from a 4000-year-oldtradition some consider esoteric — is immediately useful for treating abroad range of mental health disorders, even for therapists with no other background in yoga. As a bonus, the book seamlessly weaves in indispensable related tools, such as imagery, self-suggestion, and mindfulness meditation. It is a fabulous resource.” — Donna Eden & David Feinstein, Ph.D., Co-authors, Energy Medicine and The Promise of Energy Psychology
“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
“In my private sessions with Amy, I learn, expand and heal, and I leave more vivid in every way. I rely on some of the exercises she teaches, throughout the day, to reenergize and rebalance.” — L.D., writer, Tucson, AZ
“Heal yourself with Yoga For Depression. I absolutely love this book and highly recommend it.” — Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. Author of Meditation as Medicine
“As a ‘regular’ in Amy’s 7 AM Mon/Wed/Fri. yoga class, I felt a strong attachment to Amy and her Yoga practice.  I have been with her for 2 1/2 years and I am 82 years old.  A few months back I had the flu and missed two classes; she came to my house to check on me.  I could not believe she did this with her busy schedule.  This is a testimonial to her caring for the individual.  Amy is very special to me and keeps me going.” — D.W., retired nurse, Tucson, AZ
“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 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
“Amy was just what I needed. Her values & thoughts & way of speaking stirred deep “hidden pockets” that need to be cleaned out. I’m glad I came. I know it will change my life.” — Sue Carlson, seamstress, Ayer, MA
“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
“As a teacher of yoga, Amy Weintraub has continually reinforced my longtime belief in the strong connection of mind-body-spirit. For the past three years, I have benefited, both personally and professionally (I am a clinical social worker), from Amy's supportive and competent guidance in yoga. Because of Amy's influence, I often recommend the practice of yoga to friends and clients.” — Dory Martin, CISW, Tucson, AZ
“I have tried a number of antidepressants and therapy to treat my chronic depression. When I began working privately with Amy, something shifted, and I saw that I could live from a place bigger and brighter than my depression. At first, I just felt better for a few hours after our work together. But after several months, I am feeling that those positive feelings — more energy, more optimistic, more flexible — are taking me through the days in between our sessions.” — KW, technical writer, Tucson, AZ
“I had been on antidepressant medication for three years and had just been diagnosed with fibro myalgia when I began to work with Amy. She designed a sequence of postures and breathing exercises for me that I could practice at home. After four months, I was feeling much better, and after six months, I was able to stop antidepressants entirely. I still have low moods from time to time, but I know they will pass. Yoga has changed my life.” — C.L., 37, massage therapist, Sarasota, FL.
“In this book, Amy Weintraub directly addresses the core of depression: the problem of Being itself, in the finest tradition of Yoga. Yoga for Depression is an astonishingly comprehensive guide to the art and science of Yoga. Herein lies a Yogic blueprint for how to be a human being, written by a compassionate and generous teacher.” — Stephen Cope, author of Yoga and the Quest for the True Self and The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Living. Director of the Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living
“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
“Amy’s 7 AM yoga class was a journey from darkness to light.  On each morning of practice the route is different.  She embodies the compassion that she writes about so well.” — JS, 48, biologist and writer, Tucson, AZ
“Amy has a wonderful, powerful presence. Her energy radiated to the entire group. I feel better able to be who I am and to be compassionate toward myself in a new, loving, way.” — Suzanne Phelps-Weir, editor, Boston, MA
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