January 2019 Newsletter 

The Yoga Teachers Association Proudly Presents

Shake Your Soul:

The Yoga of Dance
with Dan Leven

January 12, 2019

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

We were born to dance. Human beings have used dance to celebrate, build 

community, and feel a sense of well-being from our earliest days on this earth. 

It is time for you to reclaim this birthright. Bring new inspiration and freedom to 

your body and mind with Shake Your Soul, an integrative dance, meditative 

movement, and mindfulness-based practice. Dan invites you to a safe and 

supportive space where you can: 

  • Move with the rhythm, aliveness, and passion of your heart.
  • Learn “organic” exercises that massage and mobilize the energy in your organs.
  • Connect with the natural dancer inside you through guided movement explorations set to inspirational music. 
  • Commune with your spirit as you are supported in heartfelt community.
Dan Leven is founder and director of Leven Institute for Expressive Movement and creator of Shake Your Soul and SomaSoul, somatic therapy and integrative approaches to body-mind healing and wellness. Dan is currently the program director at Kripalu, where he cofounded Kripalu Danskinetics (now Kripalu YogaDance). He has led many workshops and certifications and also trains psychotherapists and healers in this work.

To attend Dan’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.



Let’s "Shake Your Soul"!

by Dan Leven

I just read a column for a newsletter that I wrote nine years ago entitled, “Healing Through Dance.” I had written it after my 53rd birthday...yes, that makes me 62 years old now. And the essence of what I wrote in that article still holds true for me today—that dance is healing.

In the article, I shared how some painful feelings were opening up for me in celebrating my birthday. Any of you know that experience, where celebrating your birthday brings up issues?

A few days after that birthday I was teaching at my studio and, because of my struggles around my birthday, I had no inspiration to teach, nothing to give. Yet the music spoke to my spirit, and the pain I felt around my birthday transformed into the joy of dance.

So even now in my 60s, I still have the same joy through dance as I had in my teens. I would have never imagined when I was in my late teens and discovering dance as a career path that I would be dancing like this at 62.

Not only that, but I still feel as connected to the grace, power, and aliveness in my body—maybe even more so than that which I had over 40 years ago. As I've cultivated more mindfulness and connection to energy within the body, it actually feels as if I have more joy and life force moving within me as I dance now. What a blessing! 

What's the secret to healing through dance? My sense is what makes dance healing is that it keeps our spirit young. When rockin' music is playing, what do kids do? Yes, they dance. Put the same music on in a room full of adults and what do they do? They usually talk. Something has happened to the spontaneity of our spirit that we had as children and how our spirit was intimately connected to our body.

We can recover this lost connection of body and spirit. That's why I call “Shake Your Soul” the yoga of dance. When our body and spirit return to each other—that is yoga! The key to recovering our spirit's youthfulness through dance can be as simple as putting on a piece of music that moves you and then let it move you! 

Honestly, that is a big part of it—trusting our movement instinct. Yet, there is something even more wonderful when we have this kind of communion experience of our bodies and souls in a community of other bodies and souls. Dance, indigenously, was a community experience for the most part. 

For me, the art of teaching a dance class that invites people's spirits and bodies to unite is in the linking of meditative movement disciplines such as yoga and Qigong into the dance experience. This provides participants with a direct connection to embodied spirit that can then find its way into the dance. Alongside this, I build in creative dance exercises into my classes—what many of us did as kids, such as Follow the Leader.

We all need permission and support to reconnect to our creative spirits. We get the encouragement to exercise, become more flexible, and increase muscular strength and cardiovascular health—all so very important. Yet what about the health of our being that is about reconnecting our bodies and movement with our life force or spirit? How can we be both disciplined in terms of building movement back into our lives, and at the same time connected to the freedom of our spirits that dance can bring us? 

I invite you to answer these questions experientially by dancing with me at my Shake Your Soul workshop on January 12. It would be a joy and privilege for me to support you in uniting your body with your spirit through dance. 

Learn more about Dan at leveninstitute.com.


2019 Workshops

Dan Leven
Shake Your Soul: The Yoga of Dance
January 12
Details and registration info in this newsletter and at ytayoga.com

Jason Ray Brown: The Karma of Your Verbal Cues
February 9
What is the karma of the verbal cues that you offer in class? While they may be appropriate for them today, will they continue to be healthy cues over time, or will they eventually lead to an imbalance and/or injury? Leading students into healthy postural alignment has as much to do with what NOT to say as it does with what to say. In this workshop we’ll examine several common verbal cues about the pelvis and shoulder girdle that may eventually lead to joint pathology in the hips and shoulders, along with alternative strategies and verbal cues that can help preserve the health of these joints over time.

Deborah Lubetkin: LifeForce Yoga to Meet the Anxious Mood
March 9
LifeForce Yoga interweaves ancient disciplines with current scientific findings to help you release what no longer serves you and become the agent of your own healing. Learn yoga tools not taught in regular classes to support the healing journey for yourself or others. Develop a practice that includes breathing exercises, easy postures, and guided meditations. This program covers evidence-based yogic tools designed to relax and calm anxiety and bring balance to the emotional body.

Ray Crist: Yoga and the Luminous Body
April 13
This is an experiential workshop that offers a direct understanding of yoga and its healing power, as well as an introduction to Shamanic energy healing. Ray has a unique way of making deep knowledge accessible to all. You will understand what shamanic work is all about and you will acquire tools that you can use to heal yourself and others. This workshop tends to the healing and evolution of all three perceptual states: lecture for the mind, yoga asana for the body, and shamanic journeys for the soul.

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: Celebrating Life!
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.


Words of Wisdom

from Paula Renuka Heitzner

Dear All, 

The new year starts with a clean slate and the opportunity to manifest our desires. Perhaps we can inaugurate the new year in a way that will utilize the benefits of our yoga practice—with a renewed awareness of mindfulness, concentrating on the positive with focus on the now. Karma Yoga, specifically, can help to change our yearnings into right action. This provides a better way to function, instead of starting off with a staggering list of resolutions that usually create anxiety and frustration. This is not new, but an archaic pattern of behavior that we continue to succumb to—the runaway zeal to start the new year on the right path! 

With the MAP of yoga practice—Mindfulness, Authenticity, Purposefulness—we can perhaps travel a different route. Seneca, of historic fame, is remembered for this quote that might prove to be helpful, “We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.” If we can be more rational each day and more aware of our fear-based negativity, we’ll have fewer challenges looming over us to threaten our peace of mind and our state of being. This will enable us to act in ways that won’t have to be undone or redone the following year.

Yoga teaches us that we are not our feelings and that we have to adapt and adjust. Remember this during times of stress and duress, we’ve been there before and we’re still here now. Nothing that worried or pained us yesterday interfered with today turning out to be fine.

Our yoga practice can help us find our inner wisdom and the courage to surrender and trust in ourselves and in life to bring us what we can handle along with the lessons that we need to learn. Start this new year with a positive sense of self-empowerment instead of a laundry list of faults and shortcomings. 

One positive resolution to help our unfolding plan of action, however, could be to mark our calendar on the second Saturday of each month and attend the YTA workshop on that day—for fun and focus on what helps us to continue to grow with a like-minded group of serious students and teachers.

Yours In yoga, 
Paula Renuka Heitzner


Your Thoughts

What are the best techniques for breath and body awareness?

This question poses a range of possible answers from the simple to the complex.

Simply, I think the best technique for breath is to breathe as fully and completely as possible using the diaphragm as dynamically as you can. With practice, the breathing strengthens, deepens, and brings with it the relaxation response that enables us to become more in touch physically. Full, calm breathing activates the nervous system by bringing greater integration of the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of our being, which creates greater clarity and awareness. 

The practice of pranayama, with focus on breath control and exercises for greater mental stimulation to tap into the currents of Kundalini energy, is the complex end of this spectrum and should be undertaken with supervision. 

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 December workshop with Robert Rivest


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

Teen Mindfulness for Peekskill Youth
Ongoing (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
Nancy Kardon
74 Brewster Road
Scarsdale, NY 10583
299 Greenwich Avenue, 3rd Fl.
Greenwich, CT

The Big Picture & Practice with Nancy Kardon 
Jan 5 (Sat, 4-5:30 pm)
Come for tea and let’s take a look at the big practice of yoga. Bring your copy of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, if you have one. All welcome. Preregister; no charge

Iyengar Yoga Fundamentals with Nancy Kardon 
Jan 19 (Sat, 11:45 am-12:45 pm)
Learn the building blocks of asana through Iyengar yoga fundamentals. Good for those new to yoga and those new to this method, which builds methodically step by step. $25; 1st class free for new students 

Scoliosis and Back Care with Nancy Kardon 
Jan 19 (Sat, 2:15-3:45 pm)
Learn how to identify your asymmetries and gain space and strength as needed to come to more balance and freedom in your asana and pranayama practice. Wall ropes and other tractions will help us. $25

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

MELT for Neck Pain with Joy Jacobson 
Jan 12 (Sat, 5-6:15 pm)
Normalize your head position and decrease accumulated stress in your upper body, relieving neck, shoulder, and upper back pain. This issue is becoming more prominent due to increased hours sitting at a desk or computer and frequent texting. $35 early bird

Primal Movement Masterclass with Anton Mackey
Jan 18 (Fri, 6:30-8 pm)
Release the primal self energy in a profoundly deep way through yoga that incorporates primal and tribal movement. Create space for you to let go and feel. $40 members & $45 nonmembers; 3 classes: $95 members & $105 nonmembers

Finding the Calm Within Masterclass with Anton Mackey 
Jan 19 (Sat, 10-11:30 am)
Move and flow into a place of calm and peace. Ground into the supportive Mother Earth energy through asana and pranayama. $40 members & $45 nonmembers; 3 classes: $95 members & $105 nonmembers

Anatomy Module 1: Structural & Energetic Anatomy with Anton Mackey 
Jan 19 (Sat, 12 noon-4 pm)
Learn more about muscles, bones, major joints, and chakras. Modules 1 & 2: $55 per day; per day: $100; all 3 modules: $165

Anatomy Module 2: Anatomical Movement in Asana with Anton Mackey 
Jan 19 (Sat, 5-9 pm)
Learn more about biomechanics and joint actions. Modules 1 & 2: $55 per day; per day: $100; all 3 modules: $165

Anatomy Module 3: Applied Anatomy in Asana with Anton Mackey 
Jan 20 (Sun, 12 noon-6 pm)
Learn more about anatomical alignment, breaking down asana and smart sequencing. Modules 1 & 2: $55 per day; per day cost: $100; all 3 modules: $165

Soulful Sunday Masterclass with Anton Mackey 
Jan 20 (Sun, 9:30-11 am)
Connect body, breath, and spirit. Flow through an uplifting practice that creates space for divine union. $40 members & $45 nonmembers; 3 classes: $95 members & $105 nonmembers

Deep Winter’s Rest(orative) with Shawna Emerick 
Jan 27 (Sun, 1-3 pm)
Practice gentle movements, soft breath work, and long-held luxurious restorative postures. All will allow us to sink into a deep winter's rest. Shawna will complement this with the essence of healing sounds, aromatherapy, and a healing Reiki touch. $35 (by Jan 6); $40 thereafter

Sacred Spirit Yoga and Healing Arts Center  
(Located on the Campus of South Presbyterian Church)
343 Broadway
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522

Mindfulness Meditation with Dr. Celine Daly
Jan 17 (Thurs, 7-8 pm)
Using a range of Buddhist meditation techniques, learn how to stay centered and open-hearted amidst the ups and downs of daily life. Group practice is a helpful support for developing and maintaining a daily meditation practice at home. Practitioners of all levels are welcome. By donation 

Healing Sound Bath with Dr. Celine Daly & Julie Harris
Jan 26 (Sat, 4-5:30 pm)
Experience the healing and energizing sounds of Himalayan bowls, crystal bowls, gong, flutes, and other healing instruments to harmonize body, mind, and spirit and restore your natural energy balance. The deep listening experience of a sound bath drops us into a place of stillness that allows optimal energy flow. The pure frequencies and complex overtones of the vibrational instruments affect all the cells of the body to reduce stress, align and balance the chakras, and promote healing by calming and recalibrating the nervous system. $30 early bird to Jan 25; $35 drop in

Yoga Culture
105 Mill Plain Road
Danbury, CT 06811

New Year’s Day Special Class with Jenny Schuck
Jan 1 (Tues, 10 am-12 noon)
Ring in the new year with a special 2-hour class. We'll awaken the spine and the soul as we enter 2019. Given at Level 2 with modifications given for Levels 1 and 3. $45 

Yoga Nidra: Guided Relaxation & Meditation with Allison Ray Jeraci
Jan 4 (Fri, 7:30-8:30 pm)
Experience relief from stress and gain a restful sleep and a greater sense of harmony and balance throughout your daily life. When practiced on a regular basis, Yoga Nidra can also help to balance emotions, resolve trauma, and solve interpersonal problems through self-inquiry and deep reflection. Explore a receptive state of relaxation through setting an intention, becoming aware of the sensations lingering in the body, feeling the breath and the energetic body around us, and coming to a place of detachment, a time for self-reflection and deep relaxation. $20 by Jan 3; $30 thereafter

Yoga for Pelvic Floor Health with Beth Perlman
Jan 17 (Thurs, 7:30-8:30 pm)
Calling all women! A strong and supple web of muscles form a base to help maintain and support the internal organs of the pelvis. Increase your knowledge of this powerful system of muscles and learn how to keep them strong yet flexible. This will help prevent lumbar spine issues, hip and sciatic issues, bladder issues, and so much more! After a brief discussion, learn an asana practice to keep these muscles working and apply this to all your yoga practices. $35 


~ Final Thoughts ~

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever. 

~Neil Gaiman, 2012 blog, "New Year"



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