April 2019 Newslette

The Yoga Teachers Association Proudly Presents

Yoga and the Luminous Body


 Ray Crist 


April 13, 2019

1:30–4:30 pm
The Yoga Studio at Club Fit
584 North State Road
Briarcliff Manor, NY

This experiential workshop offers a direct understanding of yoga and its healing power, as well as an introduction to shamanic energy healing. 

According to both yoga philosophy and shamanism, our physical bodies are surrounded by the luminous body (or Koshas), which informs and organizes the physical body. It is the channel through which we send and receive messages from the rest of the world and it determines our experience of life. Through yoga practice and shamanic techniques, we’ll learn how to release traumatic experiences that are stored in the body, thus clearing out old stories and allowing ourselves to step up into a new place of awareness and a deeper level of healing. This workshop addresses the healing and evolution of all three perceptual states: lecture for the mind, yoga asana for the body, and shamanic journeys for the soul. Participants will leave with tools to heal themselves and others. 

Ray Crist
is the founder of the Jaguar Path. He has traveled through Mexico and Peru in search of indigenous healers and is an apprentice of three shamans. With a background in Chinese medicine, martial arts, and Reiki, Ray currently presents workshops and teaches at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and throughout the world, sharing methods of using shamanic tools and yoga to live a balanced and empowered life.

To attend Ray’s workshop, register now!

Workshops are $45 members / $65 nonmembers in advance ($55 / $75 at the door).
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.



Jaguar Yoga:
A Study on Meridians and Emotions

by Ray Crist

Our vital organs and glands are the warehouses of our emotions. When we are balanced emotionally, our life unfolds in a healthy way. We are able to respond to everyday life problems calmly, and we interact with others from a place of confidence and ease. But what happens when we get flustered by events or interactions with others and lose our emotional balance? 

Emotions such as anger, sadness, anxiety, and jealousy can be debilitating. We may find our selves frozen on the spot, at a loss for words, and unable to react. We may find ourselves in a place of wanting to run away because we feel threatened or maybe compelled to react in an irritated way toward the person or situation.

While we process our thoughts and emotions in our mind, that does not mean that our emotions are actually created there. We look for the cause of our emotion,which many times leads us to focus on the person or situation that originally triggered us to feel this way by doing or saying something that felt hurtful or wrong to us. Sometimes we feel hurt by someone for not doing or saying something we expected or perhaps hoped for.

As we churn our thoughts around a subject, most emotions tend to escalate giving food to more thought and then again to more emotion going round in a viscious circle… the more the story is embellished, the more the fire of the emotion spreads. 

Thought and feeling stimulate each other and grow in intensity and depth and we end up being a hostage of these emotions. While it is easy to blame others for having created an emotion in us (sometimes rightfully and sometimes not), it does not change the fact that the emotions are inside our body and have a hold of our being. 

Where do emotions live? Where are they born? How do they become so physical in sensation? Notice how physical the sensations of emotions are. When we live in emotions in excess of intensity and span of time, they will create repercussions to our health. 

But how do we feel these emotions so viscerally? When we get angry we may get to a place of shaking; when we are sad we may find ourselves sobbing and losing our physical strength. Anger can produce high blood pressure and even an ulcer. 

At each emotion’s place of origin is a chemical that is secreted in our body. There are different chemicals for each emotion. Some are straight-up hormones produced by our glands, and some are fluids produce by our vital organs. 

Chinese medicine looks closely at the organs and what each one of them secretes. They identify and name the place of birth of each emotion. Anger, for example, lives in the liver. When the bile of the liver is produced in excess, it overflows into the blood and creates that sensation through the whole body. If the bile was not there, we would perhaps disagree with someone’s actions but we would not be able to feel angry in a visceral way. 

Anger lives in the liver; sadness lives in the lungs; fear lives in the kidneys; frustration is born in the spleen. What does all this mean? Perhaps someone did trigger an emotion in us but the emotion is ours to begin with. When one of our organs or meridians is out of balance, we have a tendency toward a specific emotion. 

Changing others and their behavior toward us is anywhere from difficult to impossible. Think of a time you tried to change someone. How did that work? 

While it is important to examine others' behaviors and make sure that our choice is healthy and we are not in actual physical danger, it is equally important to look inward and notice if these emotions are regular visitors. We may not be able to control the behavior of other people, but once we realize that there is an emotion that keeps coming back, then we should look at our endocrine system and meridians.  

Internal organs and glands are the warehouses in which emotions are created and from there distributed. Hormones are secreted and are dropped in the blood like an IV and as the emotions flow through the body, they take over our nervous system and whole perception of reality. 

When any of these strong emotions come up, our nervous system perceives an immediate danger. When danger is up, an ancient mechanism of protection arises. Our amygdala is activated and sends signals to the adrenals to produce cortisol and adrenaline. We immediately find ourselves in as state of fight, flight, or freeze. The electricity moves away from our prefrontal cortex where love, compassion, empathy, and intuition live and is trapped in the amygdala where the mammalian self lives (fight or flight). 

In the state of toxic emotions in our body and in fight or flight, we are unable to react in healthy and logical ways. It is interesting that one of the synonyms of “being angry” is being “mad.” Not informed by empathy, love, or intuition, we are highjacked by the chemistry and unable to react in a rational way. We are reacting toward the person or situation as if it is life-threatening, and we are unable to make the right decision and many times we are unable to say the right things.       

When our internal organs are healthy and vibrant, when our meridians are open and our endocrine system is steady, we are well-balanced, strong, and in a place of equanimity. 

Yoga is a system that balances out the whole body. In each posture we are opening one, two, or a set of meridians clearing them out of triggers and old patterns. Through breath work we steady our endocrine system, and through meditation we steady the mind.  

From Jaguar Yoga, Ray Crist, August 10, 2018.

Learn more at jaguarpath.com


2018-2019 Workshops

Ray Crist: Yoga and the Luminous Body
April 13
Details and registration info in this newsletter and at ytayoga.com

Paula Heitzner: Beyond the Triangle—Esoteric Poses to Spice Up Your Teaching
May 11
Do you like to be surprised, delighted, and enlightened? Our workshop presenter this month is equipped to offer you these experiences. Be prepared to learn the obscure postures that were gleaned over the years from esoteric studies, ancient lore, and Eastern art and philosophy. Be inspired to spice up your own practice and teaching methodology. Note taking and question asking is encouraged and expected! 

Tao Porchon-Lynch: Eternal Youth Through Yoga
June 8
Experience 100-years-young Tao Porchon-Lynch’s unique and accessible teachings firsthand. Use the four pillars of yoga—pranayama (breath work), mudras (gestures), bandhas (energetic locks), and chakras (energy centers)—to explore the rich potential of the body to renew, heal, and revitalize. Practice Tao’s special “yoga tango” and learn subtle techniques that are not taught anywhere else. Walk away inspired, strengthened, renewed, and ready to energize your practice and life.

Our 2019-2020 season will open with Ravi Singh (Kundalini) on September 14 and continue with Alison West (Scoliosis), Daniel Orlansky (Vinyasa and Qi Gong), Lee Albert (Positional Therapy), and more! 


Words of Wisdom

from Paula Renuka Heitzner

Dear All, 

The Cruelest Month is the title of a book by the award winning author, Louise Penny, whose works were introduced to me by a dear friend, a yoga student of over 32 years and a sincere yogini. Ms. Penny was referring to the month of April. I've always loved April and was taken aback by her opinion, which she clarifies as the novel progresses. I think of April as the month of new growth and tender greening, heralding the resurgence of the foliage announcing Spring. Reality shows us that "April Showers" have quite often washed out and drowned these young shoots. They are also at the mercy of frosts that suddenly appear in this month of seasonal transition—winter sometimes won't let go to the detriment of early spring growth. However, they'll get another chance to emerge next year.

This reminded me of what our yoga practice teaches us about paradoxes and transitions. We welcome the sweet, soft light of April, but “she” also presents torrential rains that bring the May flowers, drowning out the forerunners of the garden. “Her” warmth lures the young growth to breakthrough the earth's seal of safety, making them vulnerable to the killing frosts that suddenly appear.

Our practice encourages us to be more conscious and aware because we know life challenges us, but we can adapt, adjust, and bring balance to any of the jeopardous situations that may befall us. These are the tests that teach us courage and determination and, because we can't always win, we learn the lesson of compassion for the self and others.

Our physical practice mirrors the garden's growth—we need to root ourselves and ground securely in order to unfold and reach toward the light. Paradoxically, the light is within us and the more we expand and extend externally, the deeper we can go within and connect with everything that supports and sustains us.

YTA’s monthly workshop can support and sustain us and our practice. Join us and see for yourself the amount of light that is generated by those sharing the same ideas and the warmth that radiates from the open hearts in attendance.

Yours In yoga, 
Paula Renuka Heitzner

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February’s WOW Reader Question: 
Dear Paula

I liked your thoughts in the [February] newsletter on waking up. I'm wondering what ending you have for Goldilocks and The 3 Bears. The best I can remember is that she woke up and ran away. Please tell me your version. 
MaryLou Minard

Thank you for writing. I think Goldilocks completed her resting in the most comfortable bed (for her), awoke to realize she was not alone, and rose up to meet the rightful owners of the beautiful cottage that offered her refuge. She repaired her transgressions and moved forward, refreshed, on her journey. What do you think? PH


Your Thoughts

What poses can increase strength and body awareness?

All yoga poses have the potential to increase strength. You have to define what strength means to you and what you want to strengthen, personally. Is it physical, mental/emotional, or spiritual strength you seek to balance? What is your perception of weakness? 

When you practice organically, incorporating awareness of breath and focus on physical alignment, you can feel the challenges offered by the standing poses. The opportunity to ground and to integrate the muscular system with breath to achieve the asana, to hold the position, and to deepen the pose creates strength. Sometimes balancing in a pose is another opening to strengthening. Seated poses are expedient in allowing the body to delve deeper into stretching and flexibility through the process of "surrender," using the support of the earth to let go of your defenses to be able to explore the "edges," definitely increasing body awareness. 

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

Paula Heitzner, ERYT– 500, is a Master Yoga Teacher. She has taught yoga for over 50 years and has trained many others to teach the time-honored principles, practices, and philosophy of yoga. The “teacher of teachers,” as she is called by her students, teaches at the New Age Center in Nyack. 

Learn more about Paula at nyackyogacenter.com.


From the March YTA workshop with Deborah Lubetkin


Member Events 

YTA members (individuals & studios) are invited to include their events here. Send details to ytaeditor@gmail.com by the 15th of the month to be included in the following month’s newsletter. Member events are also posted in YTA's online directorythe source for information about yoga teachers, studios, and yoga teacher trainings throughout the Hudson Valley. To be included, individual and studio members may send their information to ytadirectory@gmail.com.

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Dragonfly Yoga
Kendra Valentine
109 Croton Avenue, suite 205
Ossining, NY

Woman’s Circle with Elisha Simpson & Solange LaBonne
Apr 14 (Sun, 4-6 pm)
Empower yourself with the support of women through breath, words, and being listened to. Sharing circle and refreshments. $20

mily Dog Yoga
(hosting studio)
Elisha Simpson
12 N Division St, 2nd Floor
Peekskill, NY

Teen Mindfulness for Peekskill YouthOngoing (Tues, 3:15-4 pm)
Elisha Simpson of Crossover Yoga Project and Pat Taylor offer free mindfulness sessions to help teens learn how to control impulsive behavior, focus better in school, and develop empathy toward themselves and others. Free for Peekskill youth

Iyengar Yoga Scarsdale/Greenwich
Nancy Kardon
74 Brewster Road
Scarsdale, NY 10583
99 Greenwich Avenue, 3rd Fl
Greenwich, CT

Iyengar Yoga Fundamentals with Nancy Kardon
If you are new to the Iyengar method of teaching yoga, come for an hour of basic fundamentals to teach you basic actions we learn to bring our mind and body to attention. This is a practice of being here now in the present. Class limit is 8. $25; free for students new to Iyengar Yoga Scarsdale 

Scoliosis and Back Care with Nancy Kardon 
April 6 (Sat, 2:15-3:45 pm)
We learn to identify and work with habitual patterns using the rope wall and traction actions to make space and extension. Through basic Iyengar yoga we learn to lengthen and strengthen. Class limit is 8. $25

Sutra Tea with Nancy Kardon 
April 6 (Sat, 4:15-5:30 pm)
Yoga is a disciplined practice, not a pill, A long-time disciplined practice with enthusiasm has the potential to transform your life.Share a cup of tea and conversation. RSVP. free

Riverstone Yoga
Contact: Jeanette
2 Hudson View Way
Tarrytown, NY 10591
914-332-YOGA (9642)

Yamas & Niyamas: On & Off the Mat with Lyn Kehoe 
Apr 7 (Sat, 12 noon-3 pm)
Learn the meaning of each Yama and Niyama, how to apply each principle on the mat, and how to carry the practice with you off the mat. An in-depth discussion followed by a master class. 3 CEUs. $75

MELT Swinging Sports with Joy 
Apr 13 (Sat, 12 noon-1:30 pm)From golf to baseball to tennis, whatever you swing, rotating your torso is key. This class will help restore mobility and stability to your torso and hips and take your swing to the next level.$30

Yoga Nidra & Sound Healing with Stephanie Gould & Karin Reetz 
Apr 27 (Sat, 4-6 pm)
Guided meditation, yoga asana, restorative yoga, yoga nidra, and sound therapy round out this healing session to awaken your Spring energy and bring balance to the body, spirit, and mind this Kapha season.Early bird rate until 04/20, $50; $60 thereafter

Beginner’s Series with Shannon 
Apr 28 (Sun, 11:30 am-1 pm)
4-week series. Learn the foundations of your yoga practice, how to use props in your practice, and how best to come into a pose in your own body. Questions are encouraged, students guide the pace of class.$95 for all 4 classes

Yoga Culture
Contact: Kristine Habersang
105 Mill Plain Road
Danbury, CT 06811

Yoga Nidra Guided Meditation & Relaxation with Allison Ray Jeraci
Apr 5 (Fri, 7:30-8:30 pm)
In a relaxed but aware state you'll delve into the layers of consciousness, tap into what's important and release what’s not, creating a state of peace and bliss. $30

Releasing Tension in the Neck & Shoulders, Semi-Private Lesson with Janette Petrovich
Apr 11 (Thurs, 6-7 pm)
Is your tension becoming a “pain in the neck” when you practice yoga? Explore the muscles and motions of the neck and shoulders and practice both active and restorative poses with proper alignment to help find some relief of tension in those areas. $40

Live Music Charity Class for Parkinson’s with Beth Perlman
Apr 12 (Fri, 7:30 am-8:30 pm)
Join your fellow yogi's to raise money for Parkinson's research. Celebrate community, breath, and movement. Fellow Yoga Culture teacher, Jason Boada, will be playing the violin for this special event. Not to be missed! Suggested donation $20

Summer 200-Hour Teacher Training 
Apr 13-Aug 17 (Sat)Appropriate for those who want to teach and for those who solely want to deepen their practice. For more info, go to www.WeAreYogaCulture.com/teacher-training


~ Final Thoughts ~

Quantum healing is healing the bodymind from a quantum level. That means from a level which is not manifest at a sensory level. Our bodies ultimately are fields of information, intelligence and energy. Quantum healing involves a shift in the fields of energy information, so as to bring about a correction in an idea that has gone wrong. So quantum healing involves healing one mode of consciousness, mind, to bring about changes in another mode of consciousness, body.

~Deepak Chopra


APRIL 2019

Newsletter design and layout: Lisa Sloane 

Editorial team: Terry Fiore Lavery, Paula Heitzner, Audrey Brooks

Yoga Teachers Association was created by a small group of pioneering yoga teachers in 1979 who saw the need for affordable and continuing education. Today, YTA continues as a 5013c nonprofit dedicated to expanding learning opportunities for teachers and committed students.


$50 annual dues for individual YTA membership
$75 for studio membership

Workshop Fees 

$45 members / $65 nonmembers in advance
($55 and $75 at the door)

Find out about and register for upcoming workshops at ytayoga.com/Events.

Like YTA on Facebook!


Audrey Brooks

Vice President 
Lorraine Burton

Steven Cownie

Susan Edwards Colson

Board Member-At-Large
Paula Heitzner, ERYT

Program Coordinator
Robin Laufer, MS Ed, RYT 500

Special Events
Gina Callender

Terry Fiore Lavery, RYT

Newsletter Design & Layout
Lisa Sloane, MA, ERYT

President Emeritus
Tao Porchon-Lynch, ERYT, IAYT