I was deeply touched when I read the letter below from Dr. Lena Young, which she sent after the LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training at Kripalu this summer and her three mentoring sessions with yoga therapist Joy Bennett, LFYP-2 and Mentor.
As the founding director of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many fine yoga and mental health professionals, as well as many students with mood disorders. In the course of this work, the LifeForce Yoga Faculty and I continue to make changes to the LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training. We modify practices and even the language around the ways we teach those practices based on current research and what we observe in the field–what works with our clients and students. LifeForce Yoga Practitioners share their experience with each other, for example–what might trigger fear instead of joy in someone with a history of trauma, or what might bring a sense of ease and release to someone who feels angry. Each year, we revise the training manual and tweak the training itself. The LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training has developed over the years, from a 35 hour training, begun at Kripalu 10 years ago, to a 65 hour level one training with certification after mentoring sessions are complete.
What hasn’t changed is that LifeForce Yoga Practitioners are trained to empower their clients & students. LFYPs offer those whom they serve yoga practices to help them clear the effects of stress, loss, trauma and negative mood, awakening the student’s own healing capacity. LFYP’s learn to co-create “take home” practices with their clients that their clients enthusiastically embrace. Yes, there are simple LifeForce Yoga practices, some of which are now evidence-based, but our approach is always to meet the student where she is. The person will always be more important than the protocol.
When I read a thank you like the one Dr. Lena Young wrote to us after attending the LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training at Kripalu and her mentoring sessions, I feel gratified. I know that the training faculty is making a difference in the world. Funny, but I wish I had had a LifeForce Yoga Practitioner on my team all those years ago, when I suffered with a depression that therapy and medication barely managed.
“No words can express my sincere appreciation and deepest gratitude to Amy Weintraub and her wonderful staff of LifeForce Yoga mentors and teachers for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn a set of powerful tools that can be used to begin unraveling the deeper underlying complexes driving depression and anxiety. Amy and her faculty have managed to create the safe space that she hopes her trainees will extend to their clientele, facilitating a training program that offers ample permission to listen to the body and mind. We as trainees are able to learn out of complete interest and passion for the subject uninhibited by outside pressures to advance, excel, or nervously memorize all the information that was being taught. There was an abundance of educational support for those who needed clarification on the material along with mental, psychological, and emotional support for individuals who experienced deep releases during the powerful practices. The acknowledgement of every single individual as unique, perfect, and whole just as we are without judgment but instead with loving and compassionate encouragement created this safe container for learning.
“Having experienced the debilitating pain of depression and anxiety, Amy has created sequences, kriyas, and practices that interweave movement and breath with mantras and mudras based on her own experiences and her own healing journey. These practices bring immediate relief for the body-mind which are often immersed in the negativities that arise with mental and emotional imbalances. Instead of focusing solely on the theoretical philosophies of what may work according to different traditions or from a therapist’s point of view, Amy cuts right to the core with a hands-on program that is simple and practical. The practices are able to slice through the ruminations that plague the mind during anxiety and dissolve the lethargy and freeze often experienced by the body-mind during depression. Amy’s program was built upon experiential knowledge and wisdom, not necessarily only from a therapist’s perspective but more importantly from the client’s standpoint. This is what makes it different. This is what makes it unique in this blossoming field of yoga for mental health and wellbeing. As a practitioner of LifeForce Yoga who has incorporated the techniques into my own daily practice as well as into my teachings, I have experienced the beneficial effects and know that they really do work.
In addition to the efficacy of the practices themselves, Amy’s voice as well as her graceful and eloquent manner of conduct have a gentle way of soothing the soul, lifting you up when depression sets in and grounding you when anxiety seems to have shaken your core. There was not a moment in the class when I did not feel held by the radiant energies of the space. Attending the training gave me a deep sense of coming home—coming home to the soul in its pure and primordial state of simply just being. As Amy says in Yoga for Depression, “the first step toward transformation is to accept where you are now, without judgment… Everything you need to reach that destination is already inside you.” Her trainings and workshops remind us of the wholeness that lies within. Can we surrender and simply realize all that we already have and all that we already are!”
Lena Young, PhD, LFYP-1
Attended the LFYP Training at Kripalu July 2014
To find out more information about the LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training click here.