Newsletter 75: Staying Centered, Accessible Yoga, Alternate Nostril, Free Webinar, and more

As I write this, #metoo, is trending on social media. This is a movement of women speaking up about the sexual abuse that they have suffered and ultimately stepping out from behind the veil of shame. A movement like this can help someone who has never shared their story to know that they are not alone in suffering.

A movement like this can also bring up experiences that have been hidden or lain dormant for many years. This can be so frightening. This can be so freeing. I have read the details of sexual abuse perpetrated against numerous friends. Some of these stories I know, some are shocking, and all of them are heartbreaking. There are other #metoo posts, like the one from a childhood friend who says he will do more to stop the culture of objectification and violence and to hold other men responsible for perpetuating that culture. Or the post from my brother who is angered over a society in which women feel shame for being abused and can’t expose their abusers.

A discussion like this is important as it moves society forward. It also triggers people. It may even be triggering you to read this right now. So, I take this space not to tell you my story, not to fix the situation, nor to offer my own solutions. Rather, I offer tools for practice self-care so that we can continue to hold space for others and ourselves while remaining centered.

  1. Fixing is not listening. Sometimes we try to fix how another person is feeling (we might offer solutions, tell them how they should feel, or play devil’s advocate) because their suffering makes us feel uncomfortable.
  2. Listen to your own feelings. How does this all make you feel? Where in the body do you feel it? Your feelings are a barometer for how much we can listen to and how much we can help.
  3. It is okay to take a timeout. If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a step back. There is no shame in taking care of yourself.
  4. Fill your own cup. We cannot fill another’s cup from an empty cup. This means that self-care is paramount. When you take your break use practices that allow you to feel your feelings. Go for a walk, sit outside in nature, go to a yoga class, do some breathing exercises, meditate, get a hug – these are some examples of self-care strategies that help to fortify your energy and the emotional body.
  5. Ask for help. Knowing when to ask for help is an important practice. You are not alone in your struggles!

Use the resources found below and on the website. We have free practices, CDs, DVDs, books, workshops, and a list of practitioners.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and need immediate help, support from qualified professionals at RAINN is a phone call or online chat away 800.656.4673,


Research: Injuries Associated with Yoga Practice

This research study was a review of observational studies on the adverse events occurring during yoga practice and compared to adverse events of non-yoga practitioners. The conclusions of this study were that a considerable amount of yoga practitioners experience an adverse event in yoga but most were mild and transient. The researchers conclude that this should not stop healthy individuals from practicing yoga.

This study was included in this newsletter for several reasons. First, it is important that we acknowledge that yoga postures are difficult and come with a certain amount of risk. Second, at LifeForce Yoga, we work to make the practice safe and accessible to ALL bodies, not just those that are fit. While every practice has an inherent risk, we work to teach breathing, hand gestures, sound, relaxation, etc. in such a way that the risk of injury or adverse events is limited.

Research: Effect of yoga and aerobic exercise on sleep quality in women with Type 2 diabetes

In this randomized study the effects of 12 weeks of yoga, 12 weeks running on a treadmill, versus 12 weeks of no intervention (the control group) were studied in women with Type 2 diabetes. The overall score of sleep quality in the yoga group improved at six weeks and at 12 weeks. Those in the exercise group (running on the treadmill) also saw an improvement at week six, but that improvement was diminished at 12 weeks. The researchers concluded that yoga is more effective at improving the sleep quality in women with Type 2 diabetes.

The yoga practice in this study included supine poses, standing poses, heart openers, forward bends, an inversion, as well as sun salutations. The breathing practices in the protocol included 15 minutes of sitkari (like pursed-lip breathing, but on the inhale) and bee breath. 10 minutes for Alternate Nostril Breath, kapalabhati (a vigorous breath), and relaxation pose. This was followed by a yoga nidra.

The yoga practice given is a well-balanced yoga class. Just think, if these women saw a benefit from the yoga on their sleep, maybe yoga class would help you!

Accessible Yoga Conference

Accessible Yoga Conference

This month I presented at the Accessible Yoga Conference in San Francisco! Accessible Yoga, founded and directed by Jivana Heyman, is an international grassroots organization dedicated to sharing yoga with everyone. This conference brings together a wide assortment of teachers and practitioners, all of whom have a shared goal of bringing yoga to all, “if you have a body and you have a mind, you can practice yoga.” This conference is run by a team of volunteers, yet you wouldn’t know it. The conference was laid back, friendly, and all events began and ended on time.

There were two prominent themes that ran through the conference. The first was connection, to self and to others. The opening session began with the connection to self through a meditation led by Swami Ramananda of Integral Yoga. After remarks from Jivana Heyman, we were asked to meet and connect with people around us. This experience of connecting with others was repeated throughout the conference, at meals, and outside of the conference. It was one of the friendliest environments I have been in!

Read full story…

Practice: Alternate Nostril

At an event, September 7th, Hillary Clinton shared some of the tools she used to overcome her disappointment at losing the election to Donald Trump. She said, “I did some yoga. I tried alternate nostril breathing. I highly recommend it. It kind of calms you down.” She also used prayer, friendship, readings, and a “fair share of chardonnay.” Through her process of self-care, Clinton discovered something that yogis have known for thousands of years: that yoga breathing gives the practitioner the power to calm themselves down.

But what is Alternate Nostril Breathing and why would it work?

Alternate Nostril, known as Nādī Shodhana in yoga, is the process of alternating the breath in the nostrils as an act of clearing the energy channels, or nādīs, in the body. The beauty of this practice is that you don’t have to believe in energy channels for it to work. Research has shown that the practice lowers the blood pressure (Telles, et. al., 2014 & Telles,, 2013), calms the mind better than quiet sitting (Telles, et. al., 2017), tones the parasympathetic nervous system known as the relaxation response (Sinha, et. al., 2013), changes the heart rate variability (Subramanian, et. al., 2016; Ghiya, et. al., 2012)as well as a number of other benefits (research on alternate nostril breathing).

Read on, including a led practice of Alternate Nostril…

Announcing our FREE Webinar Series!

We are pleased to announce a free webinar series on LifeForce Yoga starting next month. Every two months, LifeForce Yoga Director Rose Kress will have a new guest in a free one-hour webinar open to the public. These webinars discuss LifeForce Yoga tools, techniques, and their application in different settings. Our very first webinar is LifeForce Yoga & Emotional Regulation in a Trauma Setting with Alyce Wellons, LCSW, LFYP.

Register today to reserve your spot, space is limited! Once registered, the recording will be available to watch for one-week. After that week, the webinar will be available for purchase and download in our store.

NEW! Complete Mudra Webinar Now Available for Download

LifeForce Yoga Mudras – Hand Gestures to Manage Your Mood:
Cultivating Peace with Breath, Hand Gesture, Sound, Imagery, and Scent
Led by Rose Kress, Director of LifeForce Yoga

5 Sessions, 6 Hours of Content
Also Included Bonus Session: Incorporating Essential Oils into Your Mudra Practice
6 Yoga Alliance CEUs, 6 IAYT CEUs
Cost: $129

Hand gestures, called mudras, can change the breath and energy states. They are a yoga practice that is portable and mudras can be practiced anywhere, anytime. With 2500 nerve receptors per square inch, our sensitive hands are an opportunity to bring the mind to a focal point. Every individual receives the effect of the mudra in a similar way, while subtle differences may be present. These hand gestures have a long tradition of practice within yoga and Buddhism. Mudras exist within Western culture, too, such as the peace sign, the OK sign, and even that hand gesture that we use when driving to signal anger and aggression.

In this powerful online program, experience the influence of mudras on your mood state. Each session has a different theme with 4 – 5 different mudras. These mudras are categorized for ease of teaching. However, you may find a mudra to be profound when you do not expect it.

This webinar was recorded over the summer and loved by all participants! Includes a manual with history, philosophy, and resources.

Order your course here.

LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Retreat and Level 1 Training
Tucson, Arizona
January 21 – 28, 2018

Registration for our Annual Tucson Winter Training Retreat is now open!
LifeForce Yoga Practitioner (LFYP) Training is open to all and offers certification for Health and Yoga Professionals. Our practice blends ancient disciplines with currentresearch in psycho-neurobiology to provide evidence-based support that helps to clear obstructions (chronic tensions, constricting beliefs, limiting emotions) that may be keeping you, and those you serve, from knowing and expressing your fullest potential. We have trainings throughout the year, but this one is an opportunity to dive into LifeForce Yoga like never before. You will learn how to integrate evidence-based yoga techniques, other than posture, into yoga classes, clinical settings, groups, etc. Our home-turf desert setting offers you the opportunity to retreat & renew through LifeForce Yoga techniques while learning how to bring these tools to those that you serve. You will feel lighter, brighter, and filled with enthusiasm for your home practice of self-care.

Join Rose Kress, Director of LifeForce Yoga; Amy Weintraub, LifeForce Yoga founder and author of Yoga for Depression and Yoga Skills for Therapists; and Senior LFYP Mentor Randy Todd, LICSW, RYT, for a training immersion like no other.  Faculty info

Days begin with an early morning guided yoga, meditation, and chanting practice, followed by a silent breakfast. Daily sessions include evidence-based experiential techniques, demonstrations, and practicing in partners. Afternoons are for self-care: we walk, hike, study, and relax with a daily yoga nidra. Evenings can include guest lectures and moonlit labyrinth walks. A 160-page manual with pictures, explanations, and scripts is included.

Winter in Tucson includes highs in the 70s and plenty of sunshine. Days include a two and a half hour break for lunch so you can enjoy the sunshine with hiking and outdoor breathing practices. Stay a couple of days later and enjoy the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show; stock up on crystals, singing bowls, gems, trinkets, gifts and other fun stuff. Private and shared accommodations, all include a private bathroom. We only have a few single rooms left, sign up today to make sure you get one!!

CEUs for mental health professionals, yoga therapists, and yoga teachers.
Contact us about payment plans.

Register Now!

Review: Pathways to a Centered Body: Gentle Yoga Therapy for Core Stability, Healing Back Pain, and Moving with Ease by Donna Farhi and Leila Stuart

Reviewed by Rose Kress

Have you ever had the experience of trying to center yourself but your mind feels scattered, or you keep remembering things you need to do? Maybe you go to sit and you become so distracted that you end up doing something different. Or maybe “being centered” seems so far off, it’s not even worth trying for. Perhaps it is the body that feels disconnected and scattered. In Pathways to a Centered Body, Donna Farhi and Leila Stuart provide gentle opportunities for working with the body, specifically the psoas muscle, to help you feel more grounded, centered, and even secure.

“Core” fitness has become a buzzword that often alludes to flat and strong abdominal muscles. As the authors point out, the practices have “limited efficacy because they neglect to address the deeper foundation muscles that form the scaffolding for a truly centered pelvis and upright spine” (1). The authors are speaking about the iliopsoas muscle. Farhi and Stuart do an amazing job walking the lay person through the structure of these deep core muscles in Chapter Two.
Read full review…

About the Author

Rose Kress

Rose Kress ERYT-500, C-IAYT, YACEP, Owner/Director of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute, and author of Awakening Your Inner Radiance with LifeForce Yoga. She directs retreats and training programs on using LifeForce Yoga to manage your mood.

2 thoughts on “Newsletter 75: Staying Centered, Accessible Yoga, Alternate Nostril, Free Webinar, and more”

  1. Ginny Beal says:

    As always, thank you Rose for useful, interesting and comforting information. I appreciate your essay on the #metoo movement. Support for all individuals affected by abuse is critical.

    1. Rose Kress says:

      You’re welcome, and thank you Ginny!

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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
“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
“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 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
“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
“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 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 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.
“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 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
“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 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
“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 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 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 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
“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.
“I gained tools for working with my own depression and with my clients’ depressions.” — Robert Sgona, LCSW, RYT, psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, Camden, ME.
“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
“Words do not do justice to all that I learned. This workshop changed my life!” — Jen Nolan, Teacher, Cortland, NY
“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 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
“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
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