September 2023 Newsletter

Words of Welcome

Dear All, 

As the weather changes and the heat begins to subside, we usually notice an increase of energy and optimism that fuels the programs and activities that are reactivated at this time. The burnout and crises pervading the last few years can also be channeled into a renewed affirmation and love of life by an enthusiastic return to our pre-Covid yoga practice and the great source of creativity it inspired.

It is important to our health and growth to be in a position to help ourselves handle the insidious fear buried within and the lack of confidence that follows. Our yoga practice offers us timeless insights and solutions to establish our own empowering pathways to well-being.

The YTA has planned the perfect presentation of practical programs for the fall season and the new year to guide, support, and strengthen us as we gain autonomy to deal effectively with the lingering fear, to be replaced with abundant courage.

See for yourself by joining us each second Saturday of the month from 1:30 to 4:30 pm. See and experience how strong you really are and how you can navigate toward the life and light you deserve! 

Yours in yoga,
Paula Renuka Heitzner

YTA Workshops 

Saturday, September 9
1:30–4:30 p.m.

Via Zoom

The Art of Yoga with Weights: Baptiste Method

with Sherri Baptiste

Are you looking for a safe, innovative, accessible, and powerful way to enhance your personal and/or professional fitness, confidence, and well-being while building endurance, core strength, and stamina? If the answer is yes, join Sherri from the comfort of your own home or office as she gently guides you through this introduction to integrating weights into your yogic practice and teaching.

Yoga with Weights, while not watering down the yogic system, is supportive to postural alignment, healthy metabolism, bone density, core strength, improved balance, breath awareness, balanced body weight, reduction of muscle tension, and toning muscles. It is a mainstream approach to yoga and all that yoga has to offer, yielding quick and safe results to optimize how you and/or your students look and feel.

During this session you will learn the basics of adding light free weights to your personal mind-body program and/or your teaching platform. 

Workshop schedule:

  • Introduction: 15 min
  • Practice Period—Yoga with Weights exercises on the yoga mat: 45 min
  • Break: 10 min
  • Techniques—Yoga with Weights breath work, deep relaxation techniques: 45 min
  • Break: 10 min
  • Practice Period—Yoga with Weights on physio ball or chair: 45 min
  • Q and A—Participants' questions: 15 min

Required props:

  • Yoga mat
  • A firm chair or large physio ball to sit on
  • Yoga block if you have one
  • Handheld and ankle weights (1–3 pounds for women, 3–8 pounds for men) OR bags of beans or pasta securely tied on or taped to ankles. Filled water bottles or canned food of equal weight, one for each hand, will also work. In India, where the first original weights were used in personal training, stones of equal weight, one in each hand, were the weights of choice.

Recommended Reading:
Yoga with Weights for Dummies by Sherri Baptiste.

A recording link will be shared with all registrants and will be available for two weeks following the workshop.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sherri Baptiste is an inspirational yoga teacher at the forefront of training in America. Founder of Baptiste Power of Yoga™, she is a certified yoga therapist and instructor whose classes, workshops, retreats, and teacher trainings provide an empowering, peaceful oasis in a hurried world. Sherri offers an environment in which students can find within themselves the tools and knowledge to support and maintain a happier, healthier, and more spiritual lifestyle. Sherri is the daughter of two of America’s yoga, health, fitness, and dance pioneers, Magaña and Walt Baptiste, and sister of Baron Baptiste. The author of Yoga with Weights and Yoga All in One (Wiley Publishers), Sherri has raised four children and currently lives with her husband in Marin County, CA.

Note: Sherri is a continuing education provider for Yoga Alliance, as well as the following organizations: IAYT, ACE, NASM, ASFA, IDEA, AFAA, Health Care Provider HPS.

    Register Now

    Members: Bring friends and family to this workshop at the member price. Choose "Add Guest" at bottom left of the registration page.

    The Zoom meeting link will be sent to registrants automatically in the registration confirmation upon receipt of payment.

    Please ensure you have the link well before the start of the workshop—check your junk/spam folder. We cannot guarantee technical help the day of the workshop.

    2023–24 Season

    October 14

    Empowered Embodiment

    from the Earth and Ether
    with Paula Heitzner
        In Person AND Via Zoom   
    Join our beloved master teacher  for a workshop that will provide consciousness and awareness to the parts of the body used in any given asana (As the Anatomy Allows). We'll explore the range of motion with this focus, leading to alignment and  integration and communication and collaboration of the Brain, Bones, and Breath. Learn more and register now!

    November 11
    Align with the Divine: Yoga

    for Body, Mind, and Heart
    with Todd Norian
        In Person at Club Fit    
    Take a deep dive into the life-affirming philosophy and practices of Ashaya Yoga! Align your body, mind, and heart with the five elements using Ashaya Yoga's four essentials—Open, Engage, Align, and Expand.
    Build inner strength, balance, and flexibility with alignment-based, therapeutic asana and quiet the mind and cultivate inner peace through Yoga Nidra.
    Learn more and register now!

    December 9

    Self-Regulation and the Bhagavad Gita: Dissecting Detachment with Cristal and Pooja Sharma 

        Via Zoom    

    Lean into the wisdom from the Bhagavad Gita to implement emotional, physical, and cognitive self-regulation tools to improve your daily life both as a teacher and student. Learn the meaning of detachment and how you can apply this concept in your daily life. Learn more and register now!

    January 13

    So Much More Than Stretching: Teaching

    Chair Yoga Stretch
    with Beatrice Mattaway

    February 10

    Subtle Yoga: The Science Behind Slow, Mindful

    Yoga Practice
    with Kristine Kaoverii Weber

    March 9
    A Spiritual Approach to Your Livelihood and Client Attraction
    with Laura Cornell

    April 13
    Starting Off on the Right Foot—New Perspectives on the Feet, and Why They Matter with Doug Keller   

    May 11

    Radiate & Return: Relating to Your Core with 

    Jennifer Brilliant 

    June 8
    Quiet Channels: Creating a Steady Postural Base for Tranquil Asana with Aasia Lewis

    Unless otherwise stated, workshops are $45 members / $65 nonmembers in advance ($55 / $75 day of) and count toward Yoga Alliance certification requirements. Preregistration is highly recommended in order to guarantee a space in the workshop. Cancellation within 24 hours of a workshop may result in forfeiture of the registration fee.

    From YTA's June Workshop
    Daniel Orlansky



    Yoga with Weights*

    by Sherri Baptiste

    A Standalone System

    Yoga with weights is neither yoga nor weight training, but a synthesis of the two forms of exercise. It’s a higher level of conditioning. Holding the weights in your hands and bearing the weights on your ankles fires and develops your muscles. The weights sculpt and tone your body. Meanwhile, as you strike the yoga postures, you develop flexibility and a conscious awareness of your body.

    Yoga with weights adds another dimension to yoga. Because you’re supporting weights, the challenges that normally accompany yoga exercise @@md of knowing which muscles to flex and which to relax during an exercise @@md are made even more demanding. The weights stabilize the body and encourage you to feel the action of the yoga practice itself. The weight helps the muscles understand where they’re supposed to be and what they’re supposed to do in an exercise. The result is a more intense, more exact exercise discipline. 

    Yoga with weights also builds body self-awareness. You can think of yoga with weights as a dialogue between your mind and your body. As you exercise, your brain sends a stimulus to a part of your body telling it to move in a certain direction. Then a signal comes back to the brain saying that the body part either can move or can’t move any further, and the brain sends out another signal asking the part of the body to flex or relax a little more. This ongoing dialogue amounts to a self-exploration of your body. In a very profound way, it makes you more aware of your body and enables you to extend the physical limits that your body is capable of reaching.

    For the past several years, Sherri has worked with an elderly man who had polio in his youth. Her experiences with this man showed very clearly just how beneficial yoga can be to body awareness. Yoga was able to help the man so-to-speak reconnect the muscles and nerves in his body. He can now bend over, sit up, and walk with more ease, confidence, and coordination. His muscle strength, range of motion, and overall sense of well-being have improved physically and mentally. Yoga helped him rebuild the lines of connection in his body. It helped him restore and rewire what we call the nerve highways and pathways that had been damaged by polio.

    Remember: Like traditional yoga, yoga with weight emphasizes correct breathing and an awareness of how you breath. This attention to breathing gives you a sense of calm relief, a feeling of grace, a feeling of steadiness similar to what you get from a traditional yoga workout. The addition of the weights brings the very physical feeling you get from weight training. You feel your individual muscles and you get the solid feeling that weightlifters get. 

    Finally, the addition of the weights makes you feel the effect of the yoga training sooner. The weights train the muscles where to be and where to go. In a beginning yoga practice, it sometimes takes a year for students to “get it.” It doesn’t take students practicing yoga with weights that long.

    Should I Have Had Some Weight Training?

    You don’t need to have lifted weights before to study yoga with weights. The weights are only three to five pounds and are not difficult to get the hang of.

    If you’re an avid weight trainer, you may have to unlearn one or two things before you attempt yoga with weights. Sherri can’t count the number of times weight trainers and big-time body builders have told her, “I want to come to your yoga class.” But they never show up. They’re intimidated by the yoga room and they never make it over the threshold because they’re not flexible and because they’re used to being the fittest, best athletes in the gym. Stepping out of your element and comfort zone is a challenge for everybody, body builders included. But the beauty of yoga with weights is that it benefits classic body builders in new and balanced ways, allowing them to reclaim full range of motion and flexibility while maintaining their strength. This is just the thing they often need.

    One of the biggest attractions of yoga with weights is being able to lift weights and still maintain your flexibility. You can get the same muscular tone you get from weight training and work on your flexibility as well. You won’t get “bulked up” or muscle-bound, but your muscles will be toned, defined, and strengthened.

    Matching Yoga-with-Weights Workouts to Your Health Goals

    Whatever your health goals are, you can probably find a yoga-with-weights workout in this book to help you on the road to good health. Here are some common health goals and directions where to turn in this book to meet those goals:

    • Lose weight. Who doesn’t want to lose a few pounds? See Chapter 11, the endurance workout, and Chapter 12, the belly burner workout.
    • Get stronger. To increase your body strength, try the exercises in Chapter 10, the strengthening workout, and Chapter 11, the endurance workout.
    • Reduce stress. Stress is the silent, slow-acting culprit behind many ailments. To reduce stress, do the exercises in Chapter 7, the balanced workout, and Chapter 9, the restorative workout.
    • Stay young. Yoga has a well-deserved reputation for making people look and feel younger. See Chapter 7, the balanced workout; Chapter 9, the restorative workout; and Chapter 11, the endurance workout.
    • Increase stamina. To give yourself more staying power, see Chapter 11, the endurance workout.
    • Sleep better. To become a sounder sleeper, check out Chapter 7, the balanced workout, and Chapter 9, the restorative workout.

    Exploring the Breath-Mind Connection

    You hear people say that when you get frustrated or angry you should “take a deep breath and count to ten.” We can’t vouch for the counting to ten part, but taking a deep breath is an excellent piece of folk wisdom. Deep breathing really can calm your nerves. It can relax and center you. Some people can even control the amount of pain they feel with breathing techniques. This ability is one of the reasons why, in prenatal clinics, expectant mothers study breathing techniques to control and help ease the pain of childbirth.

    Breathing affects your state of mind, and for that reason, you can use breathing techniques that are supportive in cultivating a different state of mind. After you’ve tried these techniques, you may be delighted to find that you can change the mood you’re in by breathing consciously and by paying attention to how you breathe. Your brain requires more oxygen than most other parts of your body. Supply it with the oxygen it needs and you have more clarity of thought. You’re able to concentrate for longer periods of time. Better breathing affects your overall well-being. You get a greater sense of control over your own happiness. In short, you feel more grounded and happier. You’re more awake to the world around you and keener to enjoy that world.

    Yoga-with-Weights Breathing

    If you’re new to yoga with weights, you may wonder why you have to pay so much attention to breathing. In every exercise, we tell you when to inhale and exhale and how long to inhale and exhale. In between exercises, we instruct you to pause for three deep and steady breaths. We have you focus on breathing because breathing correctly helps you to feel emotionally centered, physically stronger, and mentally alert. In the full-body workout, you use the complete breath (Chapter 4 explains what that is). Breathing complete breaths is a mindful practice that will harmonize body, mind, and spirit. It’s important to remember never to force a breath into your lungs; simply welcome a full breath to move in and out naturally. Breathing consciously helps you move safely as you exercise and connect to undiscovered areas of your body. The deep rhythmic breathing you do in these exercises also improves your circulation and de-stresses your mind.

    *Excerpted from Baptiste, Sherri, and Megan Scott. Yoga with Weights For Dummies. Indianapolis: Wiley Publishing, 2006.

    To learn more about Sherrivisit

    Yoga Q & A

    What are your thoughts about classes that continuously repeat Sun Salutations?

    Is this helpful? Is any yoga better than nothing or should there be a variety? 

    I will address the end of the question first. Yoga is a life-changing practice and should not be reduced to a better than nothing choice. There should be variety because of the many available aspects and approaches to one’s practice, touching every part of the body, mind, and spirit.

    I feel that only doing Surya Namaskar is limiting and adds to the human tendency to habitualize and to the loss of curiosity and conscious concentration to go deeper, leading to complacency.

    This section is dedicated to answering your questions about yoga—as a student or as a teacher. Questions? Comments? Send them to or go to our Facebook page to share your thoughts!

    Paula Heitzner, ERYT500, is a master yoga teacher. She has taught yoga for over 50 years and has trained many others in the time-honored principles, practices, and philosophy of yoga. The “teacher of teachers,” as she is called by her students, can be found at her studio, the Nyack Yoga Center, in its new location at the American Legion Hall. 

    Learn more about Paula at

    Spotlight on

    Summer Yoga

    Looking to bring your practice outside? Check out these local offerings:

    • Monday evening yoga at the Peekskill riverfront, provided by Inner Being, select Monday evenings in July and August. Free.
    • Tuesday evening yoga at Rockwood Hall (part of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve), Tuesdays in June. $6.
    • Sunday morning yoga at the Verplanck Farmers Market, provided by YTA member PranaMoon Yoga. $15 suggested donation.

    A little farther afield, you can take classes in Central Park, on Randall's Island, or on the beach at Robert Moses State Park.

    You can also look for events in honor of International Day of Yoga, which coincides with the summer solstice (like these, in Brooklyn on 6/20 and Times Square on 6/21), or check out the Summer Love Festival on June 17 or the Catskill Mountain Yoga Festival on July 22.

    Let us know about any other summer yoga events on Facebook!

    Every month in this space we will spotlight an individual or studio YTA member, a YTA board member, or an organization that we want to introduce to the YTA community—or something else entirely!

    If you are a YTA member and would like to be featured, complete this survey as fully as you'd like.

    If you would like to nominate an individual or organization to be featured here, please email

    We will continue to share YTA member workshops, special events, and trainings occasionally in eblasts. Whenever you have an event or training to share, please email You can also activate your profile in our directory to post your events on our website.

    If you are in need of a sub, email us at any time and we will get it out to our 800+ mailing list as soon as possible.

    Final Thoughts

    I believe we each hold within us what I call a “coin of God,” a piece of the eternal energy of the universe, the essence of Buddha nature. A coin is a minted piece of value from the greater system to which it belongs, and each living being is a priceless treasure piece, molded from our greater universe. May we each cherish ourselves and extend this kindness to all living beings with whom we share this blessed planet.

    ~Tina Turner

    Yoga Teachers Association was created in 1979  by a small group of pioneering yoga teachers who saw the need for affordable and continuing education. Today, YTA continues as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to expanding learning opportunities for teachers and committed students in the Hudson Valley. We offer monthly workshops presented by the leading yoga teachers of our time for the benefit of the community. All are invited. Membership dues and additional contributions are deductible to the extent allowable by law.

     for individual membership
    $75 for studio membership

     members / $65 nonmembers in advance
    ($55 and $75 day of)

    Board of Directors

    Gina Calendar, ERYT 200, RYT 500, CEP

    Lorraine Burton

    Programming Chair

    Sylvia Samilton-Baker


    Elisha Fernandes


    Terry Fiore Lavery, RYT (Editor)

    Cassie Cartaginese, RYT (Designer) 

    Social Media

    Ayanna Ahmand



    Board Member at Large
    Paula Heitzner, ERYT

    If you or anyone you know might be interested in joining the YTA board, please let us know! All board roles require some degree of tech literacy; an interest in/knowledge of yoga is ideal but not required for many roles. We are in urgent need of a membership coordinator. Please spread the word to your yoga and other circles. We would love to talk to anyone interested in sharing their skills, whatever they are—from finance and design to note taking, organizing, and making connections.


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