Newsletter 80: Happy Holidays! Gifts for Spiritual Growth

Happy Holidays? The holiday season can be a happy one, a time for rejoicing, and connecting with family. Even in the most joyful moments, it is also a stressful period. Have you ever noticed that people get more frantic this time of year? We put so much on our lists to make things perfect that we sometimes forget why we started in the first place! Parking, lines, jostling for position…I find myself reluctant to go holiday shopping out of a desire to avoid people at their worst.

Then there are those for whom the holiday season is not blissful. I count myself in this group. I don’t suffer from the Holiday Blues. I just find that the rampant materialism and commercialism is out of control. Advertisements, internet, TV, radio, etc, tell us that we need to buy other people the best gifts ever to show them that we love them. We are told to give to charity and volunteer to make someone’s holiday special. All I can think is, “What about the rest of the year?!” Yes, statistics show that people are more prone to feeling down during the holidays than any other time of year. But knowing what I know about the brain, practicing consistent charity and altruistic behavior year-round can make a bigger difference in a person’s life. Let’s all plant a seed for daily kindness and compassion in 2019.

Enjoy our newsletter of gifts for spiritual growth. These offerings are intended to support you on your journey to wholeness and optimum mental health. Some gifts are discounted, some are even free! We have a blog post on 3 Tips for Managing the Holiday Blues. We also have a brand-new Facebook Group, launched today, called Yoga for Mental Health. This group is a meeting place for sharing your progress towards ease. Collect and share tips, ask questions, and connect with like-mindeds on your journey. We hope that you will join us!

Many thanks for your continued support of LifeForce Yoga. I wish you a stress-free holiday season.

Rose Kress
Owner/Director, LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute

Study & Practice

Holiday Balance Tips

Tis the season…for depression, loneliness, and anxiety. This is supposed to be the happiest time of the year, right? So why don’t I feel that way? If you find yourself asking that question, you are not alone. The Holiday Blues are a real thing! But it may only be temporary. Read on for 3 tips to help manage the holiday blues.

A survey from the National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that 64% of people diagnosed with a mental illness experience a worsening in their condition during the holidays (2014). Whether your experience is temporary or an exacerbation, know that you are not alone. Millions of people suffer during the holidays.

There are many reasons that people suffer during the holiday season: mental illness, loss, isolation, lack of family, homelessness, trauma, seasonal affective disorder, illness, poverty, etc. Rather than focus on the whys, let’s turn our attention to what helps free us. This is not about curing the holiday blues, rather it is creating space between who you really are and the suffering and constriction of the holiday blues. Visit NAMI’s website for more tips.


The Holiday Blues can disrupt relationships and connection with others is an important part of mental wellness. If you want to stay mentally and physically healthy, community is key. For those of us that are introverts, this does not mean you have to start going to parties (whew!). Connection with others, one-on-one or in a group, releases the hormone oxytocin in the brain. Oxytocin, the feel-good hormone, is released during things like appropriate touch, intimacy, bonding (like breastfeeding an infant), laughter, AND yoga. While we don’t know the full effects of oxytocin, there is a relationship between its presence/release and a decrease in anxiety and depression. There are ways to release this feel-good hormone on your own, laughter and loving visualization, it’s better with others. Plus, being among people helps alleviate feelings of isolation.

Developing your community:

  • Who is your tribe?
  • What is one simple thing you can do to spend time with like-minded individuals?
  • Have you thought about volunteering during the holidays? Compassion can help release oxytocin.
  • How about connecting with a friend?

Find your tribe and support on your journey in the Yoga for Mental Health Facebook group. Here you will find people on the journey to mental wellness, tips, inspirational quotes and pictures, research, and new friends. We hope you will join us!


I know that for me, having a normal routine helps me feel stable. Without one, I can get a little aimless and overwhelmed with what I must do. Finding and developing a schedule helps give purpose and structure to the day. From a goals oriented standpoint, having a schedule will help you get where you envision yourself in the future.

  1. Make a list of your daily tasks. What are you already doing every day? Is there something you need more of? What is something you don’t need on this list? You can be as detailed as you want. Perhaps you wish to schedule wake up and bed times.
  2. Self-care. Go back to your list and make sure that you have physical and spiritual self-care as a part of your daily tasks. Physical self-care includes bathing, pampering, mindful eating, walking, exercise, grounding, earthing, outside time, yoga, dance, movement, massage, etc. Spiritual self-care includes affirmation, meditation, yoga, chanting, sacred text reading, outside time, attending services, etc. Hint: schedule your self-care three times a day, it doesn’t have to be more than five minutes if you are crunched for time.
  3. Create a schedule. Organize your list into morning, midday, and evening. Start putting your tasks in the appropriate areas for where you know you have the energy to complete those tasks. Morning people are most productive earlier in the day. Night owls reach peak creativity at 9/10pm. Honor your energy flow for getting things done.
  4. Add in flexibility. Schedules are wonderful, but if you can’t stick to it, you won’t feel good about yourself. Make sure you have ample time to complete tasks. If you are creating a schedule for the first time, it will need refinement in action. If something takes you 15 minutes to complete, schedule 30 minutes.The way you start your day informs your day
  5. Find an accountability partner. Who is available that can help keep you on track? Invite a friend to join you in this process. Once you both have schedules, check-in with each other. If you feel like you don’t want to stick to the plan, reach out, your partner is there to help you.

Yoga Practice

Of course, I am partial to Yoga. It is what saved me from suffering and what continues to keep me balanced and at ease. Yoga is a physical and spiritual practice. It moves the body and helps you reconnect to who you really are. How you move the body in your yoga practice is up to you. The benefits of a daily yoga practice on the body, heart, mind, mental health, and soul, are numerous and the evidence for the advantages of yoga grows daily.

What can you do to build a daily yoga practice:

  • Start small. Pick an easy practice and do it every day. You can find many simple practices in our Free Mood Management Practice section of the website.
  • Set up a yoga space in your house for your daily practice.
  • Commit to going to a class once a week. Getting a friend to go with you makes it even easier.
  • Practice at home with a yoga DVDCD, or learn how to do the practices on your own.

New LFY Community

New Community Forming on Facebook

Join us and deepen your commitment to your own yoga and mental health journey!

Hosted by LifeForce Yoga, this global group aims to support and educate, with tools, tips, and research for optimum mental health. We share resources, experiences, and worldwide community. Whether you live with a chronic mental health disorder, experience temporary mood disturbances, or serve those who do, you’ll connect with professionals and practitioners who utilize proven accessible yoga tools that can change your energy and your mood.

Join us on Facebook, here and dive in!

Media Review

Practice You for Daily Awakening Deck “54 Portals to
Explore, Illuminate, and Nurture Your True Self”

The Practice You: Daily Awakening Deck, from author and yogi Elena Brower, is a spectacular aid to your personal practice. The deck is a compliment to the Practice You: A Journal, which was released Fall 2017. This 54-card deck includes an extra four cards on which to explore your personal practice affirmations or statements. The cards are simple and elegant, color coordinated to match the chakras, known as energy centers. Each card has a question or an accessible practice on it, guiding you to an essence of a chakra.

The cards, and the journal follow the journey through the chakras. Most are familiar with seven major chakras, however, there are many in the body including above the head. The questions and statements reflect the essence of these nine chakras through which we connect to our true self. These essences are:

  • Chakra essencesI am
  • I feel
  • I do
  • I love
  • I speak
  • I trust
  • I see
  • I understand
  • I serve

This deck is a journey of self-inquiry questions guiding you down a path of connection with your highest and truest self. Use the deck to answer a question, gain clarity, or as inspiration for your day and your spiritual journey. Use in your yoga class to… more here.

Gifts for You and Yours

LifeForce Yoga Chakra Banner with Tones
Made in USA by Diane Steele
A thoughtful gift of art, a special gift for practice, this banner is a portable portal! Lightweight and reversible; easy fold for travel. Lovely to look at, hang in your room, office, yoga studio or meditation space; colors of each chakra mandala (representing the energy center) help you focus, balance, align and energize.

6 ft long from top of 7th chakra to bottom of 1st chakra. Top of banner has a ribbon loop and hidden re-purposed hanger. Swivel hook and ring for easy reverse. Felt is heat & stain resistant, and a permanent ink process that penetrates the surface produces vibrant, high-quality images that won’t fade. Hand printed and sewn with love on 100% recycled Eco-Fi felt.

Energizing and calming tones included for each chakra. To order and more info here.

Seven Sisters Chakra Blends
Made in USA by Rose Kress
A unique gift for you and yours. When our chakras are unbalanced, we can lose parts of our emotional essence; subtle changes occur, we get stuck. Oil blends and chakra tones to the rescue!

Created through meditation and a beautiful cosmic download, Rose’s sublime proprietary blends support reclamation! Each blend is named after the Tori Amos song that embodies an aspect of that chakra, and all are made with only the finest therapeutic grade, responsibly sourced essential oils.

A huge fan of Tori Amos, Rose met the singer-songwriter In 2014. Sharing a moment together, Tori spoke about the need to “outcreate” the darkness, the things that hold us back. Rose was particularly struck by these words, and later after a flash of mystic meditation, Seven Sisters Chakra Blends came to be.

As the vision solidified, each blend created itself almost effortlessly. Named Seven Sisters (after another of Tori’s brilliant songs, and reference to the Pleiades star cluster), Rose presented the completed set to Tori in 2017, describing her deeply personal “outcreating” experience. Tori was delighted and gave Rose her blessing to share these oils with the world!

These blends are special and sacred; we hope you enjoy them as much as we do! Find more info here about each blend and corresponding meditation. Available with gemstone or stainless roller balls. Order here.

LifeForce Yoga Posters

We hear you! You asked for our graphics, and here they are, exactly as we use them in sessions, workshops, and trainings. For your studio or office; full color and suitable for framing.  Send to your local office supply store for printing and lamination. Optimum print size: 20″ X 16″.

Both LifeForce Yoga Chakra Clearing and Energy Clearing Posters illustrate the chakras or energy centers, with keywords for each chakra/energy region, as well as the sounds, or mantra, for each chakra or energy region. The LifeForce Yoga Chakra Clearing/Energy Clearing Meditation includes Bellows Breath, Bee Breath, and Mudras and Mantras. This practice is a doorway into meditation. This practice, both the energizing and calming versions, can be found on the LifeForce Yoga Chakra Clearing Meditation CD.

LifeForce Yoga Heart Mantra poster Atma Hridaye is the LifeForce Yoga Heart Mantra. We use it  Use this mantra as a part of your daily yoga practice. Instructions on how to chant this mantra, as well as a chanting practice, can be found on the CD/MP3 Mantra Chanting with Rose.

Learn more and Download our LFY resource posters here: Energy Clearing, Chakra ClearingHeart MantraTones

Energy Boosters
Best Practices for Managing Depression
with Director Rose Kress     >>> SALE   Save $5 through Fri Dec 21st!      
Download this new two-session course and discover the best yoga practices to reduce depression, without even a yoga mat. Experience accessible and portable yoga practices to boost your energy and brighten your outlook. LifeForce Yoga tools for managing depression and low energy include sound, visualization, hand gestures, breathing practices, intention setting, and meditation. Purchase here.

You’ll learn:

  • To clear your mind
  • To deepen your breath
  • To wake your energy up first thing in the morning
  • To stimulate your body & mind
  • To reconnect with your whole self

More info here.

LifeForce Yoga Class with Director Rose Kress   >>> FREE   
Available now! Access a LifeForce Yoga class with Rose Kress, here.

Take time for you! Rose leads a 1-hour LifeForce Yoga practice to support you in balancing your mood. We practice setting intention, breathing, movement, sound, body sensing, and a short relaxation. Ahhhhh!This class ends with the chant Atma Hrdaye (words and translation found here).

Stress Busters: Best Practices for Managing Anxiety
with Director Rose Kress      SALE   Save $5 through Fri Dec 21st!      
Download this two-session is a two-session course and discover the best yoga practices to reduce anxiety. Experience accessible yoga tools to practice anywhere, anytime, without a yoga mat. LifeForce Yoga tools like sound, visualization, hand gestures, breathing practices, intention setting, and meditation that are supported by current research. Download here.

You’ll learn how to:

  • hack your nervous system
  • catch your breath
  • redirect your mind
  • harness your energy
  • reconnect with your peaceful self

More info here.

with Director Rose Kress

Feeling stressed and constricted? Get clarity on your path with a one-on-one consultation with Rose Kress.

Explore potent practice options, include breathing, sound, intention, movement, meditation, and integration. Your consultation consists of an assessment, and two 30-minute private Zoom sessions to co-create a home practice unique to you. During the first session, you will discuss your current concerns and your desires for better health. In the second session, Rose will go over the LifeForce Yoga home practice for well-being and ease. More info here.

Upcoming Events:

JAN 2019: Annual Desert Training Retreat
LifeForce Yoga to Manage Your Mood   Level 1
Led by Director Rose Kress, ERYT-500, C-IAYT & Trainers Randy Todd, LCSW, LFYP2 & Rickie Simpson
Special Guest Teachers: Amy Weintraub and Maria Mendola
January 11 – 18, 2019
Tucson, Arizona

Our annual Desert Training Retreat is now open for Registration. Discover how to treat mood disorders with a yogic protocol while remaining within your scope of practice. This incredible training, the first of its kind, gives you the tools to work with your clients from a holistic perspective. LifeForce Yoga is perfect for clinical settings; no mat is required.

Our program is accessible, adapted, and informed by current research. Lifeforce Yoga views mood issues as constrictions that keep the individual from experiencing their innate wholeness. During this state-of-the-art training, you will experience practices that dissolve the layers of constrictions to reveal your radiant self. We teach ancient yogic philosophical foundations for mental health in a practical way. Building on the tenets that suffering is temporary, and the true self is immortal, we learn to drop our labels, dive beneath our stories, and develop pathways to wholeness that honor the uniqueness of everyone.

Held in Southern Arizona, our flagship training is exceptional. Not only will you experience the life-changing effects of LifeForce Yoga, you’ll enjoy 70-degree days when most of the country is plunged in the depths of winter darkness! Watch the sunrise as you practice yoga, feel its warmth on your skin as you meditate, and enjoy the light as you take an afternoon hike in the desert. Are we biased? Just a bit. Tucson is a pretty unique place. Reserve Your Spot Today!

Our Winter Retreat offers you training, and the opportunity to release and unwind your mind while filling yourself with ease, self-care, and real methods for optimum mental health. The personal experience of these tools gives you greater insight as well as the ability to share what you have learned with others. Together, we can de-stigmatize mental health issues while inspiring and empowering others to be free from suffering. There is no better time than NOW to start your journey with LifeForce Yoga.

More Information About the LifeForce Yoga Training

MAR: New York. Module A Training

Yoga for Mood Management Module A: Experiential
with Kathleen Williams, Ph.D, LFYP-2 & Merrill Black, LCSW, LFYP-2
March 8 – 10 & 22 – 24 (Training runs over two weekends)

For the first time a Module A that takes place over 2 weekends. This is the perfect training for working professionals that do not want to take time off work. You will experience all of the aspects of the LifeForce Yoga 5-day program over two separate weekends.

Registration NOW OPEN!

MAR: Yogaville. Module A Training

LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training Level 1 (LFYP-1)
Yoga for Depression & Anxiety
with Rose Kress & Rickie Simpson
Buckingham, VA

Learn more

MAY: Bahamas. Module A Training

LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training: Yoga for Mood Management Module A
with Director Rose Kress, ERYT-500, C-IAYT & Alyce Wellons, LCSW, LFYP2
May 20 – 24, 2019
Sivananda Ashram, Bahamas

One of our favorite annual trainings is held in the beautiful Bahamas! Take time for YOU at the Sivananda Ashram — Our 5-day Intensive is tailored for clinical professionals and yoga practitioners; all are welcome and CEU’s are available. You’ll have plenty of self-care time, and you’ll:

  • Discover breathing & meditation practices for anxiety-based depression
  • Take home skills & confidence to increase your clients’ self-awareness, acceptance, esteem, and coping ability
  • Design one-on-one yoga sessions for depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder
  • Experience vibrant LifeForce Yoga techniques for you & your clients
  • Enjoy a self-care immersion: a reset for you, thus a reset for your clients & students
  • Practice bhavanamantraasanamudra, meditation, therapeutic holding, and non-dual self-inquiry kriyapranayamasankalpa

Find out more about LFYP Training and Certification here. To register for Module A Training in the Bahamas, click here.

JUL: Kripalu. Level 1 Training

LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training Level 1 (LFYP-1)
Yoga for Mood Management
with Director Rose Kress, ERYT-500, C-IAYT & Debbie Lubetkin
July 7 -14, 2019
Stockbridge, MA

SEP: Chicago. Module A Training

LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training: Yoga for Mood Management Module A
with Director Rose Kress, ERYT-500, C-IAYT
Sep 6 – 10, 2019
Ganesha Yoga, Chicago, IL
Learn more

SEP: Encinitas, CA. Module A Training

LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training: Module A
Yoga for Mood Management

with LFY Founder, Amy Weintraub & Allie Middleton
Nov 1 – 5, 2019
Soul of Yoga, Encinitas, CA
Learn more

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

“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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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
“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
“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
“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 perspective of who I am in the world and this will change my life significantly.” — Mary Ford, artist, Southport, 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
“Words do not do justice to all that I learned. This workshop changed my life!” — Jen Nolan, Teacher, Cortland, NY
“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 gained tools for working with my own depression and with my clients’ depressions.” — Robert Sgona, LCSW, RYT, psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, Camden, ME.
“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 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
“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 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
“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
“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.
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