LFYP News Issue 18

Note from Amy

Dear Ones,

Happy Thanksgiving, dear LifeForce Yoga Family.  I am grateful for each of your contributions to the practice of LifeForce Yoga.  I have always said, learn the basics, then make it your own, and in following our Facebook page, I know that many of you are doing just that.  Here’s something else we can all be grateful for:  I was surprised and happy to learn that LifeForce Yoga is on the map!  There’s a beautiful new poster that includes the basics of yoga philosophy as well as a yoga lineage tree.  LifeForce Yoga has its own branch! theyogaposter.com

Many of you requested that we move a Level 2 LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training east of the Mississippi.  Yogaville is that beautiful location!  It’s in the Shenandoah foothills, outside Charlottesville, VA,  We will have our own house overlooking the valley and opportunities to meditate and chant with the Satchidananda community.  There’s more information on level 2 below.  But if you think you might want to take the training in April, you need to begin your mentoring process now.  Our wonderful mentors, Rose, Joy, Ann, Sue, Joe and Felicity are ready to support you in this empowering process.  See the details below.

We are offering our first Level 1 Training in three separate modules.  This might be the refresher you’re hungry for, plus Module A can offer you a yoga vacation in the Bahamas in February, where we are holding our experiential. Module A is open to all, so friends or family can come with you. The rest of the training (Modules B & C) will be online.  Please read the details below.

Many thanks to all who have pitched in as assisting faculty in recent months!  I’m especially grateful to Liz Brenner and Laura Orth who filled in last minute at the Cape Cod Institute when dear Sherry Rubin was ill.  I’m happy to say that Sherry is much better.  I offer a deep bow of appreciation to Wendy Chabot who assisted again on Cape Cod, Marcia Siegel & Sarah Telles at Esalen, Penni Feiner & Debbie Lubetkin in Princeton, NJ, Joy Bennett, Kat Larsen, & Laura Orth at Kripalu, Barbara Sherman in Tucson, Bita Bitajian in Montreal, Anita Lemon, and Jen Hughey in Austin, TX, and of course, Rose Kress who assists behind the scenes everywhere!

Ashley Lynn Caputo did a great job interviewing LFYP-1 Alena Gerst. I found this interview so inspiring that if I didn’t already practice yoga, I would begin immediately! There’s a brief article by LFYP-1 Kat Larsen about the importance of sankalpa (intention) when working with women in recovery.  LFYP-1 John-James Ford of Quebec has been exploring shamanism in his on-going recovery work, and he shares an article about how he combines that with LifeForce Yoga.  Finally, mentor Joy Bennett taught her first on-the-road LifeForce Yoga for Depression and Anxiety weekend in Maryland, and she talks about that experience.  Yay Joy!  If you were as touched as I was by these contributions, you might want to let the contributors know that.  Their emails are below.

We are proud to announce that the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute will be offering a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, led by master Kripalu Yoga Teacher Trainer, Rudy Peirce and me, with an excellent supporting faculty of amazing yogins. We were all set to begin Nov 30, 2013, in Tucson, but a glitch came up in dealing with the state of Arizona.  We will be re-locating but will try to keep the same or similar dates. Rudy and I are exploring other retreat centers in CA, TX, RI, VA & MA.
If you would like to be on a list for current information please let Rose know, rose@yogafordepression.com.

A loving namaste,


Note from Rose

One of the habits that I have worked to cultivate in my life is a practice of gratitude. Part of that practice is expressing thanks as often as possible. I want to acknowledge all of you for your work with clients and students. As you have moved out into the world with LifeForce Yoga, you have helped to further the work that Amy does and that I do. I am so often reminded that everyone and everything is connected, so when you do your work, we all benefit. Thank you for that! I encourage all of you to connect with us and each other, often. Feel free to send us emails or messages on Facebook. We even have a LifeForce Yoga Practitioners Group on Facebook. This is a great way to network, get feedback, share your classes/workshops/newsletters/writings/pictures/etc. If you have not already, please join us: www.facebook.com/groups/lfyps/

I would also like to take this time to share my latest personal project with you. I have been moved, for many years, by mantra. I LOVE chanting – the way the sound moves through me and transports me instantly to deep states of relaxation. So, I created a CD of chants that I enjoy. You will recognize a number of them from the training, and elsewhere. It is an instructional CD of 6 chants. Each mantra is taught in a call and response manner; the following track is the mantra repeated 27 times to use as a doorway to meditation. yoginirose.com/audio

As always, PLEASE make sure that your information is correct on the website – current email address, phone number and website. If any changes need to be made, please email me, rose@yogafordepression.com

We are currently at work updating the manual. It will be available on the LFYP portion of the website the first week of January. There will be a reminder in the next newsletter.


Level 2 Information

Level 2 continues training in the Yogic strategies for balancing mood. You will actively lead, with script in hand, what you may only have experienced in Level 1. There will be many opportunities to practice, in small groups and one-on-one, the many yogic strategies covered in both the Level 1 and 2 Trainings.

Each day begins with a deep LifeForce Yoga Practice led by Amy or Rose. We will have two daytime sessions, where each practitioner will share her or his use of LifeForce Yoga strategies in their work. You will dive more deeply into the techniques from Level 1 with a new manual that includes scripts for practices and processes – including Yoga Nidra, Therapeutic Long Holding and Say Yes to Yourself. Practitioners will experience one-on-one coaching from Amy and Rose. LFYP-2s will leave feeling empowered in their work with others and a many more tools at their disposal.

Your own personal practice will deepen. Each practitioner will walk away with a greater sense of connection, to Self, as well as to the sangha of LifeForce Yoga Practitioners. We hope that you will join us in April!


LFYP – 2 Forms for Mentoring

To take the Level 2 training, you will need to have completed 2 of your 3 mentoring sessions, however it is strongly recommended that you have completed all 3. Forms for mentoring sessions can be found here:
Please note, you will need login and password information:

  • Login: Shiva
  • Password: K=6[)svA4&QK

Refresh and Renew!

Two of the new LFYP modules are great refreshers for all LFYPs.

Module A: Experiential (5 Days, 36 hours) $450

Offered at Sivananda Ashram, Paradise Island, Bahamas. February 7 – 11, 2013 (5 full days; 6 nights required as we start on the morning of the 7th and end on the evening of the 11th)
Registration information.
26 CEs for NASW, NAADAC, Nurses; 36 CEUs – Yoga Alliance.
This program is a great way to refresh yourself on the tools, but also to take a LifeForce Yoga Retreat. Mornings begin with Satsang in the temple followed by a LifeForce Yoga class. We will have a session in the middle of the day and you will have an opportunity to take a yoga class at the Ashram, spend some time on the beach, followed by evening Satsang. Full schedule details are available on the registration information page (above).

Module B: Online Learning (13 Hours, April 19 – May 1) $295

Prerequisite: Completion of Module A or LFYP Training
Your Participation is required:

  • 8 hours of interactive on-line webcast sessions (or recorded version within the same week)
  • Two hours of live Q & A and Practices via Teleconference
  • Complete assigned reading
  • Complete homework
  • One teleconference with your practice pod
  • Two teleconferences with your study/practice partner
  • On-line sessions will include lecture, discussion, slides and opportunities to practice.


LFYP Interview with Alena Gerst, LMSW, RYT, LFYP-1, yogalena@ymail.com
by Ashley Lynn Caputo, RYT, LFYP-2, acaputo10@tampabay.rr.com

1) Describe your background, and when you became a LFYP.
I grew up in Arizona and that’s where I started dancing. I got my Bachelor’s degree in psychology at Northern Arizona University, but I spent most of my time in the theater department studying acting, voice, and of course dance! So when I graduated, I made the move to NYC to pursue my career singing and dancing in musical theater, which I did professionally for 10 years. I practiced yoga regularly, and was always interested in a mind/body approach to health. I became aware of Amy Weintraub’s LifeForce Yoga years before I thought I would become trained in it. It wasn’t until I encountered a major illness in 2005, which took almost a year to recover from, that I actually accessed mind/body and complimentary modalities for my own healing.

2) What brought you from the world of performing arts to yoga and counseling?
Once I recovered from that illness, I signed a three-show contract at New York City Center with the NY Gilbert and Sullivan Players straight away. But something had changed in me. While performing had been my passion and fire for most of my life, I learned during that time at City Center that my passion, and my life’s work, had taken a new direction into mind/body health and wellness. I knew firsthand that mind/body work, along with western medicine, of course, because it too has its place, can be incredibly powerful, and I became committed to learning as much as I could about it. So I enrolled in a Master’s program in clinical social work at Columbia University and got my yoga teacher certification while I was in graduate school. I knew with certainty that mind/body was the way for me.

3) What made you choose LifeForce Yoga, and how did you hear about it?
While I was in graduate school, a psychiatrist and leader in the field of mind/body interventions for mental health, Dr. Richard Brown, came to guest lecture in one of my classes. I’d known for years about how important breath work is for mental health and how that’s one of the ways yoga can be such an important component in wellness, but for the first time for me, Dr. Brown was presenting the science behind it. Now there was something I could really grab on to! I was totally riveted. I bought his book, How to Use Herbs, Nutrients, and Yoga in Mental Health Care, and I devoured it. I noticed the Yoga section of his book referred to much of the work Amy Weintraub was doing with LifeForce Yoga for mood management. So I bought her book, Yoga for Depression. By this time I had been working at the Initiative for Women with Disabilities, an outpatient mind/body wellness center at NYU Langone Medical Center, and I was teaching therapeutic yoga at another hospital inpatient unit to patients confined to hospital beds. I highlighted or underlined almost everything in Amy’s book! It was all so relevant to the work I was doing. I felt certain my next step was to study with Amy.

4) How do you personally incorporate LifeForce Yoga in your life?
I use the breathing techniques I learned from Amy pretty much every day. My LifeForce Yoga training has also helped me to cultivate awareness of my own mood, so I can observe and determine whether I’m feeling like I’m on overdrive (my tendency) or sluggish, and then decide how my practice will go from there. It’s a great way to look at how I’m feeling objectively.

5) What are the most common LifeForce Yoga techniques you use in yoga and therapy? Would you please share any transformational moments you have had using these techniques with clients in both teaching and therapy?
I use LifeForce Yoga techniques mostly in therapy settings, in the hospital, and my private practice. One of my areas of specialization in my private practice is working with performing artists. For many performers, the demands on how they need to appear and behave can be quite overwhelming, and this is often our starting point. One of the key take-home messages I learned from Amy goes like this: Permission permission permission! I remember when I finally decided to retire from performing professionally; I cut off my hair and pierced my nose in an act of rebellion! The nose ring is long gone and my hair is long again, but it sure felt good to give myself that permission. I find bee-breath and stair-stepping breath to be invaluable for myself and my clients. I work with one client who has many personality and attention issues. I gave him bee-breath as well as mantras and a mudra. It worked like a charm. Giving him something to “do” while focusing his attention, and using his voice with mantra, but not saying anything brought a real sense of calm and peace that he so desired, but was unable to tap into.

6) What is your best advice to teachers and therapists just beginning their LFYP journey?
Definitely less is more. When I came back from training, I wanted to use it ALL! Amy teaches so many tools and they are all very inspiring, but people can be quickly overwhelmed. When I introduce just one or two LFYP tools in a session, it can make more of a difference than using too many. Just like in Yoga…not to overdo.

7) Is there anything you would like to add?
If anyone wants to receive my monthly Yogalena Therapeutics newsletter, they can sign up through my website, www.alenagerst.com. I also want to encourage people to check out the wonderful work we’re doing at the Initiative for Women with Disabilities (www.iwdwellness.org) at NYU Medical Center. As far as I know, we’re the only game in town (and anywhere, I think!) providing the array of medical and wellness services that we do, and it’s totally accessible for people who can walk, are blind, or are in wheelchairs or scooters, no matter what their physical disability is. I’m actually going to be teaching a winter breathing series for mood there based on LifeForce Yoga! I’m really proud of it all.

From John-James Ford, MA, RYT, LFYP-1, johnjamesford@gmail.com

There’s a saying in addiction recovery circles that refers to sobriety and serenity: “The only way we can keep what we have is by freely giving it away.” I’ve heard this saying spouted for years, and have never had any cause to disbelieve it, but believing it and knowing it’s spiritual authenticity are two very different things. I am starting to slowly wake up to the experiential realization of the validity of service in the realm of the sacred.

Yes, I have read that my salvation from these limiting beliefs of mine, from the illusion of separation and disconnection, lies within. But the path to that insight is often overgrown by the thick jungle of ignorance, denial and judgment. One of the most powerful tools I have when facing this overwhelming delusion, is the persistent coordination of breath, movement and vibration (as sound) in the heart-centered practice that is LifeForce Yoga. More recently, I have explored the consciousness-expanding journeys of the practice that is shamanic yoga, where I can literally, for brief moments, fly above the mundane schemata I normally mistake for reality, and open myself up to receive teachings from my non-physical guides.

Read full article: john-james-ford
John-James webstie: johnjamesford.com

From Joy Bennett, ITY500, LFYP-2, Mentor, joy@joyfulbreath.com

I recently had the unique opportunity of offering a weekend of “LifeForce Yoga for Depression & Anxiety” in Baltimore, MD. I was asked to present Amy’s work to a group of 25 YTT’s at the two locations for Baltimore Yoga Village, and it was a truly rewarding experience.

My biggest challenge was to arrange and provide 15 hours of LFY for a state and a studio that I’d never visited before. The director of the studio, Anjali Sunita, is a dedicated yogi, and much beloved by her yoga community. Amongst her teaching staff, I was blessed to be ably assisted AND hosted by LFY Level I practitioner, Trish Magyari, pictured here. Though I know many LFYP’s, Trish and I had never met, and it didn’t make a bit of difference. . .it felt like we’d done this may times before!

The YTT’s were especially well-versed in chanting, and really took to the energizing sounds and soothing sounds of Nada Yoga. One of the tenets of the Baltimore Village is “to ask for what you want and what you need.” The students really enjoyed dancing with Krishna Das’ joint-freeing exercise on Friday night, and they requested that we dance (and sing!) the joint-freeing exercise again on Saturday morning. Why not??? My weekend of Oct 12-14, 2012 is now over, and I am left with sweet memories, and a grateful heart. I’m so glad that I had this opportunity to travel and bring Amy’s work to such an enthusiastic community.

Joy’s website: joyfulbreath.com

KatFrom Kat Larsen, RYT, LFYP-1, yogakatboston@hotmail.com

I’ve learned many skills and tools as a LifeForce Yoga Practitioner yet I am constantly reminded of the power of Intention/Sankalpa.

I teach a weekly one hour yoga class to women in recovery at Women’s Hope at the Shattuck Hospital in Boston, MA. Recently, the program changed from a residential treatment house to a secure hospital environment. Moving from one location to another midway through their program, along with the daily stresses of recovery and being away from family and friends was very upsetting to the women. During our last class, the ladies were very anxious and stressed.  I asked them to invite intention for today during the one hour of class. They called out their intentions, which varied from peace, health, getting rid of anxiety, wanting calm and serenity. Through breath, we focused, breathing in all the intentions shared. Facial expressions began to soften, and movement throughout the class was smooth and not hurried.

I was reminded that women in recovery often hear the adage, “just one day at a time.”  Using intention in this way, we all felt that change can occur one breath at a time. Sankalpa is an invitation to change and introduce an attainable way to make changes happen-One Breath at a Time.

I am in gratitude for the power of Intention, how the strength of one word can be a catalyst for change and well being.

Kat’s website: katlarsen.com



About the Author

Amy Weintraub

Amy Weintraub E-RYT 500, MFA, YACEP, C-IAYT, founded the LifeForce Yoga® Healing Institute, which trains yoga and health professionals internationally, and is the author of Yoga for Depression and Yoga Skills for Therapists. The LifeForce Yoga protocol is used by health care providers worldwide. She is involved in ongoing research on the effects of yoga on mood.

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What People Say

“I have 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
“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 gained tools for working with my own depression and with my clients’ depressions.” — Robert Sgona, LCSW, RYT, psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, Camden, ME.
“Words do not do justice to all that I learned. This workshop changed my life!” — Jen Nolan, Teacher, Cortland, NY
“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 gained perspective of who I am in the world and this will change my life significantly.” — Mary Ford, artist, Southport, CT
“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 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
“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 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
“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
“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 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
“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 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 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
“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.
“This program changed my life in a significant way. It helped me connect with the spirit which is something you can’t get from psychotherapy and medication.” – G. W., artist, Pittsburgh, PA
“I have 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
“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 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
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