December 2017 Newsletter

The Yoga Teachers Association Proudly Presents

Dynamic Gentle Yoga:
The Experience

with Rudy Peirce 

Saturday, December 9, 2017
1:30–4:30 pm

The Yoga Studio at Club Fit
584 North State Road
Briarcliff Manor, NY 

Experience a mindful style of yoga movement that opens and stimulates, releases aches and pains, and de-stresses. This accessible, inclusive, stimulating, and empowering gentle yoga practice is noted for smooth, soothing movement to explore pain-free range of motion. Using detailed alignment cues and specific breath cueing, Rudy will discuss innovative methods to safely serve the varied needs of those seeking out gentle yoga. He will also present a new approach to dirgha pranayama that will help you and your students breathe more deeply to enhance relaxation.

Rudy Peirce, MA, ERYT-500, YACEP, has studied and practiced yoga for over 35 years. Certified since 1983, he has been a faculty member, teacher trainer, and mentor with the Kripalu School of Yoga, Stockbridge, MA. He develops Dynamic Gentle Yoga workshops and retreat programs, yoga teacher training curriculum, men’s yoga retreats, and advanced yoga teacher training programs. He offers a 60-hour advanced yoga teacher certification in Dynamic Gentle Yoga teaching, which enables teachers to up-level skills and credentials for leading refined, effective Dynamic Gentle Yoga.

Rudy teaches regularly on the east coast and annually in Tuscany. His popular 4-CD set, The Gentle Series, and 2-CD set, The Invigoration Series, are legendary for supporting a vibrant regular personal practice. 

To register for Rudy’s workshop, click here!



Gentle Is the New Advanced

by Rudy Peirce

A brilliant, not so well-known Kripalu Yoga teacher, Sudhakar Ken McRae, once began his class with this: “If you want to practice advanced yoga, advanced is paying attention.”

Students have come up to me at the end of class and extolled the spiritual component that they experienced even though I never mentioned the word spirit or God. My colleague, the current dean of Kripalu’s School of Yoga, Yoganand Michael Carroll, spelled it out clearly, as he usually does, many years ago in a program entitled “Teaching the Deeper Practices.” “The deeper experiences of yoga become available when prana has been stimulated and the mind becomes calm.”

I have come to believe that what makes our yoga classes profound is the inner connection created by a stimulating practice that channels the mind’s attention inward. 

Millions of Americans are turning to yoga to feel better. They bring an incredibly diverse collection of physical, emotional, and mental conditions. As yoga teachers, we can’t give therapeutic attention to each student, even in some of our relatively small classes. The guided experience class that flows seamlessly for an hour or more helps create the inner entrainment that dissolves stress, worry, and frustration.

These are the hallmarks of the gentle yoga that my students have trained me to lead. Somehow the class has to work for everyone. Somehow they have to breathe much deeper than they ever do. Somehow their attention has to become a steady inward sensation-seeking laser.

Science is beginning to identify some of the profound benefits of this slower, meditative yoga. Kristine Kaoverii Weber, owner and director of Subtle Yoga in Asheville, NC, makes these points in her article, “Why I Don’t Take My Yoga Hot and Sweaty”: 

  • Meditative yoga does something different to your nervous system than exercise—it helps to build proprioception and interoception. It helps to develop brain structures related to pro-social behavior, self-regulation, and positive affect. 
  • Slow yoga trains the respiratory musculature, the vagus nerve, heart rate variability, interoception (which may be correlated with empathy, by the way), and the relaxation response. 
  • And here’s the thing that we are just starting to understand (and why this work is so critically important)—the “rest and digest” part of the nervous system needs to train. It needs active participation or training. It requires your mindful participation.

Proprioception is awareness of the physical body, where the parts are and the effort employed to move them. Interoception is awareness of the internal experience of the body, being able to understand signals from the body. It’s what we are referring to when we encourage students to “listen to your body.”

In Psychology Today, July 6, 2016, Christopher Bergland (“Vagus Nerve Stimulation Dramatically Reduces Inflammation, Stimulating the Vagus Nerve Reduces Inflammation and the Symptoms of Arthritis”) writes about more of the benefits of training the breathing muscles, vagus nerve, heart rate variability, interoception, and relaxation response that Kristine refers to earlier. He says the benefit comes from deep diaphragmatic breathing with a long, slow exhalation.

 … There's growing evidence that another way [besides medication] to combat inflammation is by engaging the vagus nerve and improving “vagal tone.” The vagus nerve is the prime component of the parasympathetic nervous system which regulates the “rest-and-digest” or “tend-and-befriend” responses.… A higher vagal tone index is linked to physical and psychological well-being. Their research suggests that positive emotions, robust social connections, and physical health influence one another in a self-sustaining upward spiral dynamic and feedback loop that scientists are just beginning to understand.

We see all around us emerging evidence that confirms our experience of yoga as establishing a healthy, balanced life that may reduce many of the ill effects of our high stress culture.

Dynamic Gentle Yoga intends just this. With slow, long diaphragmatic breathing it builds a steady inward attention with precise alignment cues and frequent awareness cues.

And, of course, these benefits are available with regular practice. So, whatever it takes, find ways to make your practice a more integral part of your week. Even if that’s just a 15- to 30-minute practice.

You can contact Rudy at or visit his website,


2017–2018 Workshops

Mark your calendar!

Rudy Peirce
Dynamic Gentle Yoga
December 9
Details and registration info in this newsletter and at

Patty Holmes
A Breath-Centered Approach to the Art of Joy and Inspiration
January 13, 2018
Pain is our bodies' best means of getting attention. Once it has our attention, how we respond deeply affects the outcome of our stories. Let's choose joy! Playing with the elements of sthira and sukha (steadiness and ease) during pranayama, asana, and meditation creates space, allowing prana to flow more freely. Spaciousness in our bodies, in our breath, and in our minds allows gratitude in. Gratitude in its expanded state is pure joy! Come be inspired. 

Deirdre Breen
Ayurveda and Yoga: Integrating the Twin Sciences on the Mat and in Our Lives
February 10
As yogis, it is our responsibility to value and express balance as a way of life. In this workshop, ISHTA master teacher Deirdre Breen will explore how pranayama, asana, and meditative practices affect the doshas (kapha, pitta, and vata) and the qualities of sattva (balance), rajas (action), and tamas (inertia). Discover tools to reestablish sattva both on and off the mat. 

Shari Friedrichsen
Yoga and the Heart
March 10
Our heart is like a flower whose petals hide its true fragrance until its time to unfold. Our duty is to strengthen our practice of asana, breath training, pranayama, and meditation to support the heart in revealing its secrets to us in a manner that is organic and rich, tasteful, and profound. Join us for this journey into the sublime regions of the heart.

Vandita Kate Marchesiello
Transform, Relax, & Rejuvenate: A Brief Retreat with Lasting Results
April 14
Be held and soothed in the arms of a safe and sacred space to untangle your body and mind and come to rest in spirit, light, and love. Experience asana, pranayama, and yoga nidra from your deepest place of intuition and knowing. Enhance your passion and joy of doing yoga and touch upon the magical and mystical side of a gentle yet profound practice. For all students and teachers. Time for discussion and Q&A will be included.

Priti Robyn Ross
Magical Mystery Tour of Yoga Through the Koshas
May 12
Join a seasoned guide on this experiential journey into your yoga asana practice through the lens of the ancient koshas, the five layers or bodies that map our whole being. With practical yet profound tools, learn to utilize the map of the koshas to navigate the odyssey of yoga—entering through asana and the physical body and journeying to the realm of ananda (bliss).

Tao Porchon-Lynch
Celebrating Life at Nearly 100
June 30
Experience 99-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. Walk away inspired, strengthened, and renewed—ready to energize your practice and life.


Words of Wisdom

from Paula Renuka Heitzner

Dear All, 

In this last month of the year, I will address the third (and final) aspect of a traditional yoga practice—the spiritual—to complete the overview of how we integrate the body and mind (discussed in October and November) with the spirit. 

December is traditionally a month of great spirituality. With the celebrations of Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanza, we sense a renewal of deep thoughts and feelings of reverence, devotion, and faith in the unseen. The glittering lights and the glowing candles enhance our rituals and help to dispel the shadows and darkness that can be attributed to the lack of external light in the winter season. Our yoga practice offers us the awareness of how beneficial these reflections are and the knowledge to develop these gifts to enhance and compliment every day—not just the holiday season. 

The asanas bring us to the inner awareness of our strength and flexibility, encouraging thankfulness and gratitude. These feelings help us navigate the physical and open us to our mental/emotional stratum. Our spirituality strengthens and grows as we allow the developed courage and the clarity of the inner light of the higher energies to illuminate our paths. To develop reverence for and the ability to accept the unseen is a great gift we give ourselves with our practice. These attributes have a profound effect on our lives as we deal with the vagaries and difficulties that are part and parcel of our existence. Let us not exclude the burst of light and the celebratory spirit of the New Year. 

Let’s use this spirit and energy to light up 2018 by attending the monthly YTA workshops where we can integrate with the group of like-minded practitioners to further reinforce and invigorate our body-mind-spirit journey. Let’s use our yoga teachings to send a message of peace, strength, joy, courage, and faith to all and to every part of the planet. 

Yours in Yoga,

Paula Renuka Heitzner


Your Thoughts:

Is Yoga Advisable During Pregnancy?

Yoga is a perfect partner for a pregnant woman, especially if it's her first child. It can be a tension tamer and a relevant introduction to the power of the breath for pain management.

Physically, the practice prepares and tones the body for carrying the baby and its delivery. It serves as a reminder and an incentive to create good health habits for the long haul. 
Mentally and emotionally, it prepares the new mom for an important personal interaction with the self to find the strength, stamina, stability, and patience to meet the very new demands of her "boarder." The chemical "go-tos" for relief are not acceptable at this time because we share everything with the fetus. The asanas and breathing practices help balance the hormonal changes constantly taking place during gestation. 

Spiritually, we are guided by our growing awareness of the higher energies that help us to recognize and accept the enormous responsibility for the new life we created. 

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. We would love to hear from you.

Paula Heitzner, ERYT– 500, is a Master Yoga Teacher. She has taught yoga for over 50 years and has trained 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


From the November YTA workshop with Ken Nelson and Lesli Lang





Member Events 

YTA members (individuals & studios) are invited to include their events here. Send details to by the 15th of the month to be included in the following month’s newsletter. Member events are also posted in the 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

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

Iyengar Yoga Scarsdale
Nancy Kardon
74 Brewster Road
Scarsdale, NY 1058
299 Greenwich Avenue, 3rd Fl
Greenwich, CT

Scoliosis Back Care with Nancy Kardon 
Dec 2 (Sat, 2-3:30 pm)
Learn to know and work with imbalances that create pain. Learn to create space, strength, and balance using rope wall traction. Send check to preregister. $25

Sacred Spirit Yoga and Healing Arts Center 
Anne Day
343 Broadway
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522 

Full Moon Kirtan Bliss with Sita’s Light
Dec 2 (Sat, 7-8:30 pm)
No experience necessary; sing, listen, dance, recline, or meditate to call and response chanting of sacred mantras with guitar, harmonium, tabla, and didgeridoo to awaken consciousness. Fully experience the healing power of chanting. Register online. $20 preregistration online; $25 at door

Chair Yoga with Suzanne Cohen
Dec 7, 14, 21, 28 (Thurs, ongoing, 9:30-10:45 am)
Flowing movement and stretching, done seated in a chair and standing; for participants 60 years and older, and those in need of individual modifications due to limited mobility. Single class, $15

All Levels Yoga with Christine Tergis
Dec 10, 17 (Sat, ongoing, 4:30-6 pm)
Kripalu-style yoga, focusing on alignment, sensations, mindfulness, and breath. Students may modify poses according to needs and ability. Beginners welcome. $20 (or purchase class pkg online) 

Deep Restorative Yoga with Patricia Castimore 
Dec 14 (Thurs, 7-8:30 pm)
Guided positioning of props is used to assist in holding poses for extended periods to experience progressive relaxation, reduce stress, and muscle tension, and improve circulation and digestion. For all levels. $20 drop-in (or purchase class pkg online)

New Year Community Yoga with Franklin Shire
Dec 30 (Sat, 4-5:30 pm)
Join this All Levels yoga class with favorite teacher Franklin Shire and set your New Year intentions for personal and planetary transformation. Register online. Early Bird $20 (thru Dec 24, $25 thereafter

Yoga Your Way 
Stephanie Harding

Viniyoga at WESTMED/Purchase with Stephanie Harding 
Dec 5, 12, 19 (Tues, 5:45-6:45 pm)
Yoga for your back. $135 ($120 for seniors) for 10-class card (good for 3 months at all locations), $16 drop-in

Yoga for Everyone at WESTMED/Purchase with Stephanie Harding 
Dec 5, 12, 19 (Tues, 7-8 pm)
$135 ($120 for seniors) for 10-class card (good for 3 months at all locations), $16 drop-in

Viniyoga at WESTMED/Ridge Hill with Stephanie Harding
Dec 4, 11, 18 (Mon, 4:15-5:15 pm)
For beginners. $135 ($120 for seniors) for 10-class card (good for 3 months at all locations), $16 drop-in

Viniyoga at WESTMED/Ridge Hill with Stephanie Harding
Dec 4, 11, 18 (Mon, 5:30-6:30 pm)
For stress reduction. $135 ($120 for seniors) for 10-class card (good for 3 months at all locations), $16 drop-in

Viniyoga at Irvington Presbyterian Church with Stephanie Harding
Dec 7 (Thurs, ongoing, 3:55-4:55 pm)
For everyone. $135 ($120 for seniors) for 10-class card (good for 3 months at all locations), $16 drop-in

Special Event--Yoga and Hiking in Capetown
10-days in Capetown. Yoga every day, 4- or 5- star accommodation includes lodging and all activities (airfare and food additional). Dates not set yet—we could go in March, October, or November of 2018, depending on interest. Check for details. $2750


~ Final Thoughts ~



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)

Pre-registration 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.

Find out about and register for upcoming workshops at

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