Research Newsletter Issue 67: Yoga and Schizophrenia, Yoga Book Reviews, and 2016 Training Opportunities

As we dive into another LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training here in Tucson, welcoming all that arises, I am reminded of Rumi’s poem The Guest House, that so clearly reflects the foundation of a truth in all spiritual traditions. In the fear of the other that current global issues, like the immigration crisis in Syria and the state of American politics, are fostering, this 13th century Sufi Mystic’s poem is a balm:

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jellaludin Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks

In this issue, we review three new books, one which is destined to be a classic on pranayama practice and yoga philosophy, another lovely treatise on Yoga and Grief, written from the perspective of a yoga therapist who has walked through the shadow of the loss of her child, and a new book, with plenty of practices and guidelines on using Yoga Nidra. We also report on two studies that show that yoga may be useful in the treatment of serious mental illness.

Research: More Studies Indicate Yoga May Benefit Schizophrenia

brain-744207_1280In issue 65, we reported on a study from the prestigious Cochrane Review that, although more research is needed because the yoga studies were not on par with the rigor of better-funded pharmaceutical studies, found yoga may be as good or in perhaps some ways better than standard care for those suffering from schizophrenia.

Although the review is inconclusive, the authors found that “some positive evidence in favour (sic) of yoga over standard-care control,” which, they say, “should be interpreted cautiously.”  This preliminary study helps lay the foundation for scientific validation of what we have been practicing and teaching. As the validation gets stronger, this means that more precious beings diagnosed with serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia will be seeking out and being referred to yoga classes, yoga ashrams and yoga centers.

Now another study strengthens these findings. A larger review of the literature on physical exercise that also includes yoga found that exercise is a robust add-on treatment for improving clinical symptoms, quality of life, global functioning, and depressive symptoms in patients with schizophrenia. The effect on cognition is not demonstrated, but, report the authors, “may be present for yoga.”

This makes it vital that yoga and mental health professionals take trainings like the LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training and others designed to incorporate appropriate (often chair-based) yoga practices into mental health treatment. As people diagnosed with serious mental health conditions turn to yoga, it becomes vital that yoga and mental health professionals learn to collaborate with each other. It also means that spiritual centers need to be prepared for a population that may require more professional care than the traditional precautions and protocols regarding Kundalini awakening experiences.

Review: Pranayama: A Path to Healing and Freedom by Allison Gemmel LaFramboise

41aeiUEwQJL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_In this readable memoir-like, so-much-more-than-breathing practice manual, Allison LaFramboise tells the story of her own yoga journey that helped her clear away many life-long constrictions, especially after she began her studies with Yoganand Michael Carroll. Yoganand lived as a monk at Kripalu for fifteen years before becoming a married householder, and so brings the fire of intense sadhana practice into the secular world in which most of us live. The book is a collaboration and a weaving of the teachings and practices that LaFramboise learned from Yoganand, as seen and experienced and now taught by his student Allison. The story is both universal and unique. It includes Allison’s experience on retreat with Yoganand, where, along with other advanced practices and processes, participants spent hours practicing many of the pranayama offered in this book.

LaFramboise’s anecdotal approach engages the reader from the start. We want to know how Yoganand has translated these ancient practices for practitioners today. We want to know the practices that helped LaFramboise understand and transform the pain of rejection and early abuse. We want to know for ourselves the simple practice Swami Kripalu learned from his Guru and how Swami Kripalu and then Yoganand expanded those practices through textural study. Early on, we learn of Swami Kripalu’s mystical nature, and we are eager to follow the legend of his spontaneous discovery of both classic and self-realized pranayama practices to the practices Yoganand has adapted for practitioners today.

This thorough book covers the depth of yoga philosophy that will initiate the novice without overwhelming her or him, and yet will appeal to the life-long practitioner. Along with the many preparation practices and yoga breathing exercises, LaFramboise integrates mudras (hand gestures), cleansing practices, and postures, making recommendations in the Appendix about developing your daily practice and fully integrating yoga into your life.The photos of Yoganand are clear and, actually, pretty amazing, as they visually confirm the depth of his practice.

My only reservation in fully recommending this book is that I would advise caution to those with bi-polar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and high levels of anxiety. The preparatory practices, known as shatkriyas, along with many of the energizing pranayama and Kriya breathing practices, could exacerbate your condition. Most Western books about yoga, especially those written for yoga therapy, do not even include practices like Nauli and Bhasti. In the Kripalu tradition, as in many traditional yoga practices taught in India, the cleansing practices are most often done early in the morning to prepare the body for pranayama, so it is natural that the authors would put the section that includes these practices near the beginning of the book, before teaching pranayama. However, readers new to yoga, please be warned that this is not necessarily the way for you to begin. For some new students, such practices are fine, but they are not for everyone. The authors state this, but do not give it much emphasis. Do consult a well-trained yoga therapist if you have emotional imbalances that you think might be triggered by what many yogins consider advanced practices. Aside from this safety concern, this book will become, in my opinion, a modern classic. I was sent the PDF for review, and I can’t wait to get the hard copy in my hands!

Purchase a copy

Review: Yoga Nidra for Complete Relaxation and Stress Relief by Julie Lusk

Rose-newThis book was reviewed by Rose Kress, ERYT-500, LFYP-2, LFY Educator.  Rose began practicing yoga in 1994 and teaching since 2004. In that time she has focused on the therapeutic aspects of yoga – for the body, mind and soul. Rose teaches classes and workshops throughout the Tucson area. Rose integrates LifeForce Yoga techniques into therapeutic yoga for back pain, cancer, pulmonary disease, structural wellness, and yoga therapy. Rose is the Program Manager of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute and travels with Amy to assist her in LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Trainings.

51y1KdM4PwL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_Julie Lusk, a leader of relaxation retreats and guided imagery, pours her wisdom into Yoga Nidra for Complete Relaxation and Stress Relief. Yoga nidra, a key practice of LifeForce Yoga, combines the best of stress management, relaxation training, guided imagery and meditation (Lusk, 2). In her new book, Lusk shares an accessible review of the practice of yoga nidra, complete with research, anecdotes, scripts and downloadable audio.

Chapter one provides readers with an understanding of stress and the stress response. Lusk details the body’s physiological responses during the fight-flight-freeze and how these are counteracted by the relaxation response. We all experience stress, which Lusk defines as when an individual person perceives that the demand placed upon them is greater than personal coping skills and resources. Through assessing personal stress patterns by completing the questionnaire in Chapter 1, readers may discover that they are under more stress than they previously believed. The stress response is an automatic and unconscious pattern for which we are hardwired, so we need to learn ways to intervene as well as use skills to break the cycle of stress (35). Yoga Nidra is the perfect practice for training the mind to cope with stress.

In Chapter two, Lusk gives a deeper understanding of yoga nidra. As a practice, it is done lying down, while listening to a CD or a teacher. But this practice is more than simple relaxation. It offers a doorway into meditation through the practice of pratyahara (withdrawal, or turning in, of the senses), which, as Lusk says, is missing in many yoga and meditation practices. Our senses are becoming overloaded with electronics, loud noises, flashing colors, and scents leading to less awareness of our bodies, boundaries, and limitations. Controlling the senses, by focusing inwards, creates a greater awareness of our inner landscapes, giving insight to patterns of behavior, reaction, and stress. As this awareness grows, we become less reactive to stressors and sensory experiences…[and] to becoming increasingly more responsive (52).

We will always experience stress, that is until we identify with our true Self, the unchanging, witness consciousness that allows for an attitude of responding. In Chapter three, Lusk goes into greater detail of how to practice yoga nidra. There are many different styles of yoga nidra, but they have components in common. Sankalpa, the sacred vow that you make to yourself, is set at the beginning and end of yoga nidra, defined as the heart’s desire in LifeForce Yoga. It is set at the beginning and end of yoga nidra because the brain is most receptive to the positive affirmation that is sankalpa due to the change in brain waves during yoga nidra (66). This helps us to understand that yoga nidra is more than relaxation, or an invitation to meditation. It leads to growing the seeds of the heart’s desire. This is why Lusk encourages the establishment of a regular practice. She offers suggestions for deepening your practice, tips for handling distractions, and support of designing the practice that is right for you.

The final three chapters contain three different yoga nidra practices. The chapter begins with information about the practice and includes the script for that yoga nidra. The first is a yoga nidra for relaxation. The second is a yoga nidra for reflection, scanning the body and awareness of the chakras. The third is a yoga nidra for revitalization, exploring the opposites. All three yoga nidras are available as downloads through the publisher. Lusk concludes with an appendix of yoga mudras, hand gestures, to support the practice of yoga nidra. Through clear and easy language, Lusk provides insight to yoga nidra. If you don’t already have a daily yoga nidra practice, Lusk’s book is likely to inspire one!

Purchase a copy!

Review: Yoga for Grief and Loss by Karla Helbert

Professional PictureThis book was reviewed by Rickie Simpson PhD PMHCNS-BC, BCPCC, LFYP-2/Mentor, E-RYT.  Ricky is a Board Certified Psychiatric-Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist specializing in individual, couples, group and family therapy. She integrates complementary methodologies and techniques to offer a highly personalized faith-consistent approach tailored to each client. She belongs to the International Association of Practitioners of Encounter-centered Couples Therapy and maintains a board certification as a Professional Christian Counselor. She maintains a private practice in Manassas, Virginia and is on the faculty of Stratford University teaching Nursing Research and Psychiatric Nursing.


“Micah’s dead” in disbelief I listened to these anguished words over the phone as my distraught husband notified me that Pediatric Sudden Death Syndrome had snatched our healthy two-year old grandchild from us. He had been to the doctor just that morning and we were told that he was fit and fine. Four hours later he was dead. From that moment, our family fell headlong into the experience of being “in grief”. Nothing could have prepared us for the intensity of this life journey as we have mourned not only our grandchild but also our vivacious, joyous daughter as she claws her way back to the living.

41opx2wbzmL._SX350_BO1,204,203,200_Reading Yoga for Grief and Loss by Karla Helbert felt like reading the diary of someone who has shared in the enormity of childhood death. Ms. Helbert, herself having experienced the death of her young son from cancer, sensitively captured the grief experience and the gift of yoga in multiple ways. One of the practices mentioned in her book on page 96 that is gentle and extremely effective in early grief is the use of Padma mudra over the heart center. Placing this simple mudra over the heart center helps to calm the mind from the stress of racing thoughts and stimulates the body’s ability to heal itself by balancing the immune system. Through these months, I too have found yoga a skiff in stormy seas and racing thoughts. Simple, effective mudras and breathing patterns that can be learned quickly and used often can be a life-line to the bereaved especially in those early, confusing months when the abilities to manage long meditations seem a lifetime ago.

Helbert’s discussion regarding the yama (observance) of satya (truth) particularly resonated as my daughter and I have begun to develop a list of what NOT to say to people starting with “how are you’ followed closely by “what can I get you”or “how many children/grand children do you have?” These simple questions offered by well-meaning individuals require the mourner to live a dual-life. At the very moment I am least able to think clearly, do I speak my truth? In speaking my truth could I possibly cause you pain violating the yamas of Ahimsa or do I violate the yamas of Satya and say, “I have three grandchildren” and leave out the gritty truth which is “and one of them is dead.” Her recognition of the tension between the yamas and her suggestions for managing the duality of these tensions were extremely helpful and practical.

Ms. Helbert notes, “From tapas [will] to svadhyaya [self-study] to ishvara pranidhana [surrender], the process is a continuum. The pain and spiritual crisis of grief is ultimately about surrender.” This view seemed strikingly similar to the view of Kubler-Ross that grief is a continuum from denial to acceptance. A person on this path knows intimately and completely that our beloved and our past knowings are lost forever to this plane of existence. We must build anew without grasping. If I have learned anything this year it is that I will always be afraid as long as I hang on to anything this life has to offer. Letting go leads to fearless living.

One cautionary note: Early in the book, the practices offered might overwhelm those individuals who are new in their grief processes. An example of this is the practice called meditation: Grief in the now. The waves of grief she accurately describes in her book would benefit from the empathetic presence of another human being. It is enormously painful to be in grief but it is unbearable to be in grief alone. In later practices, she advises that those in deep grief to consider whether a trusted counselor or friend should accompany the person while practicing the offered meditation. Given the intensity of early grief, this option would have been useful to mention for all the practices.

Secondly, since the book is clearly in the tradition of Sri Swami Satchidananda from the Integral Yoga tradition, the handling of the subject matter regarding deities may be difficult for those individuals who carry a strong monotheistic viewpoint. Given these concerns, this book is an excellent book for yoga teachers and psychotherapist but should be given cautiously to someone who is early in their traumatic grief process or has a firm monotheistic worldview.

As a LifeForce Yoga® practitioner, the practices offered in this book greatly augment those taught by Amy Weintraub and could be seamlessly added during a LifeForce Yoga practice. Helbert presents the subtler yogic concepts such as the mudras, koshas, the different yogic paths, the yamas and niyamas in such a clear way that this book has great application as a yoga text for those new to yoga. It should be a “must read” for yoga teacher trainees from any tradition and a useful book for both yoga therapists and psychotherapist walking alongside the grief path with their clients.

Purchase a copy

News: 2016 Professional Training Opportunities

Breathe of JoyWe are currently in Tucson, AZ holding the first LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training of 2016!  We have several additional professional training opportunities this spring and summer.  These trainings are a once in a lifetime opportunity to train and learn directly from Amy Weintraub, LifeForce Yoga’s Founding Director and author of Yoga for Depression and Yoga Skills for Therapists and a pioneer for yoga and mental health.  Each training is assisted by a faculty LifeForce Yoga Mentors who are trained as mental health and yoga professionals.

LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training

Location: Yogaville – Buckingham, VA
Dates: April 3-10, 2016
Assisting Faculty: Rose Kress ERYT-500, LFYP-2, LFY Educator, Rickie Simpson, RYT, LFP-2, Ph.D.
Learn More

What are “Module A” Trainings?

We have created a 3-Part Practitioner Training Course to provide our certification for those who can not commit to the financial and time commitment of our traditional retreat style training.  Module A is completed in person, Module B is completed online, and Module C is mentoring conducting by phone or Skype. To learn more about our Modular Training option click here.

LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training  Module A

Location: Sivananda Ashram – Paradise Island, Bahamas
Dates: March 28 – April 1, 2016
Assisting Faculty: Rose Kress, RYT-500, a LifeForce Yoga Educator and Mentor and a Functional Yoga Therapist; and Kathy Shafer PhD, LCSW, E-500RYT, a psychotherapist, educator and LifeForce Yoga Practitioner, nationally known for her work in addictions.

Learn More

LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training Module A

Location: Kripalu – Stockbridge, MA
Dates: July 3-8, 2016
Assisting Faculty: Rose Kress ERYT-500, LFYP-2, LFY Educator, Laura Orth, LICSW, LFYP-2, Kat Larsen, RYT-200, LFYP-2, Reiki Certified
Registration will open in February 
Learn More

Yoga Skills for Therapists

Cape Cod Institute – Eastham, MA
Dates: July 25-29, 2015
Assisting Faculty: Sherry Rubin, LCSW, ERYT-200, LFYP-2
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.

2 thoughts on “Research Newsletter Issue 67: Yoga and Schizophrenia, Yoga Book Reviews, and 2016 Training Opportunities”

  1. Colleen Hughes says:

    Thanks for all the great information and keeping current on the resources and research. So helpful! Namaste.

    1. Amy Weintraub says:

      Thank you, Colleen! I’m glad you find the newsletter of use. Amy

Comments are closed.

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What People Say

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