March 2019 Newslette

The Yoga Teachers Association Proudly Presents

LifeForce Yoga to Meet the Anxious Mood


Deborah Lubetkin 

March 9

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

With the significant increase in stress-related disorders in the Western world, teachers need to be even more aware of the many expressions of anxiety that show up in our yoga studios and in our lives.

This workshop will help the teacher understand anxiety from a yogic framework to better observe and respond to students who show up in anxious states. We will discuss the stress response and how it relates to anxiety, address the myths in the yoga world related to what students with anxiety really need in their practice, and then learn how to modify classes to meet students’ needs. Participants will also be guided through a LifeForce Yoga practice to meet the anxious mood. This will be an interactive, experiential workshop that will allow you to truly feel in your own body what it really means to “meet the mood on the mat.” 

Deborah Lubetkin is a licensed psychologist with a private practice in New Jersey. A certified yoga therapist (C-IAYT), Deb completed her LifeForce Yoga certification in 2011 and her Kripalu training in 2013. She is director of the Lifeforce Yoga mentoring program and is also on the faculty of the LifeForce Yoga training programs at Kripalu. Deb’s practice incorporates Eastern philosophy with the challenges of Western living to create a forum for her clients to develop an integrative plan to address a wide variety of mood-related imbalances. 

To attend Deborah’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.



LifeForce Yoga …
My Journey Home

by Deborah Lubetkin

It’s not fear that gets in the way of showing up—it’s armor. It’s the behaviors we use to self-protect. We can be afraid and brave at the same time.

~Brene Brown, Instagram

Over the 23 years of my career as a psychologist, I have been searching for a way to bring the mind and body together in a deeper way. Initially, I was under the illusion that I was searching for answers for my patients. But, of course, I discovered that this seeking had been a part of me over the course of my entire lifetime. And maybe even a few before that! Yoga came to me in snippets throughout my life, with the first influence being my yogini grandmother, Lillian, who practiced yoga in her Florida apartment in the 1970s long before it became hip. She meditated every day and lived to be 104 years old. Yoga emerged as a steady force in my life during a postpartum period that left me feeling disconnected from my mind, my body, and my life as I had known it. My earliest teachers spoke to me in a language I had always longed for but had never known. I felt the yoga healing me. For me, the practice of yoga became the practice of healing from a lifelong feeling of Avidya, the Sanskrit word that refers to a sense of separateness and not belonging. Ancient yogic philosophy understands Avidya as the root cause of depression. LifeForce Yoga taught me self-compassion and helped me to feel that I could pilot my own thoughts, emotions, and sensations.

I was “recruited” to LifeForce Yoga by a team of yoga teachers who founded Kula for Karma, a nonprofit group providing free yoga to at-risk populations in New Jersey. They were looking to work with mental health professionals to co-lead yoga classes for anxiety, depression, and trauma. And this is where LifeForce Yoga first came into my life. 

Based on the work of Amy Weintraub, author of Yoga for Depression and Yoga Skills for Therapists, I finally felt that I had found my true home. I began studying with Amy in 2009, and the rest, as they say, is history. I am now the mentoring director of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute; I am a presenter for professional LifeForce Yoga Trainings at Kripalu Center; and I also lead my own LifeForce Yoga classes, workshops, and trainings. In addition, I lead trainings in trauma and addiction for yoga teachers. In my private practice, I integrate LifeForce Yoga with psychotherapy on and off the mat. Perhaps the greatest gift of this journey has been the way that this practice allows me to live in connection with my most authentic, true self. I have learned to “meet the mood” as it arises and to find my way to a place of balance, or sattva in Sanskrit ... my true home. Amy has been an inspirational teacher, mentor, and friend, and I am very grateful for the numerous ways that she and LifeForce Yoga have influenced my life.

Philosophically, when we learn to meet the mood as it arises, we move out of states of imbalance (rajas or tamas) and into balance (sattva). LifeForce Yoga teaches us how to meet our mood with deep compassion and without judgment. In addition, when we integrate practices that move through all of the koshas, the result is a very integrated sense of self and wholeness. LifeForce Yoga classes generally integrate pranayama, asana, mantra, mudra, meditation, and yoga nidra. This is an intentional practice designed to very individually meet and balance the mood of the practitioner. In addition to a personal LifeForce Yoga practice, there are many clinical applications for this work. In the last five years, I have been volunteering for a program in Israel that brings yoga to a community very close to the Gaza border. This work, more than anything else, has shown me how truly accessible LifeForce Yoga practices are. With an extremely high incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder in this community, I have been able to offer immediate and effective resources to a community of people under the constant threat of war. This is the “off the mat” yoga that is extremely effective in helping people learn how to immediately reset their nervous system when fear and threat are imminent and chronic. I also provided LifeForce Yoga classes in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas community in Parkland, Florida, after the horrific shootings that occurred last February.

I hope to see you on March 9 for a journey into the philosophy and practice of LifeForce Yoga. Learn to meet the anxiety, wherever you are! 

Learn more about Deborah at and follow her on Twitter (@deblubetkin).


2019 Workshops

Deborah Lubetkin: LifeForce Yoga to Meet the Anxious Mood
March 9
Details and registration info in this newsletter and at

Ray Crist: Yoga and the Luminous Body
April 1
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 promise of spring should remind us of the need to regenerate by reaching toward the light. The shroud of darkness surrounding us is just not seasonal, but is mentally and emotionally charged. The 21st century has taxed the fight, flight, or freeze response to a degree that was only imagined in old movies—science fiction or horror tales. However, the present-day reality is taking its toll on our national health with instability and uncertainty creating depression, fear, anxiety, and anger.

Our yoga practice offers us the opportunity to rise above this soul-scarring epidemic. We must deal with the negativity and threatening aspects of life by going inward to find the light that exists within, and to release the inherent joy that abides there as well. Joy is the antidote that turns hate and darkness into love and light.

We can't change the world, but our yoga practice has given us the format to self-soothe, adapt, and adjust and to appreciate and be grateful for our blessings, insuring that our physical being will not be damaged by raging negative emotions. Thus, we add to the light and affirm positive change in our own minute sphere of existence. Understanding that is all anyone can do.

Perhaps we can find solace recalling the Holy Triad—Brahma (creation), Vishnu (maintenance), and Shiva (destruction)—showing us, historically, times of intense uncertainty are not new in the picture of humanity; creation engendered by destruction. Nature always abhors a vacuum, and we are never empty if we remember we are filled with joy and light capable of supporting us until our storms subside. 

Yoga teaches us that there is no punishment or revenge and reminds us to be aware of Maya, the states of illusion, confusion, and delusion. Understanding these truths and principles help us maintain balance and stability, basic necessities needed to function effectively and efficiently to insure health, wellness, and joy.

Avail yourself of the monthly antidote to help you stay strong by aligning with YTA and the yoga community. Our workshops inspire and heal. Help us spread light by being one of the "candle flames" dispelling the darkness, personally, locally, and globally.            

Yours In yoga, 
Paula Renuka Heitzner


Your Thoughts

What is the proper placement of the shoulders when lifting the arms?

Lifting and then dropping the shoulders, consciously, along with breath, is fine to loosen up. It is a purposeful practice. However, raising your shoulders when going into Mountain Pose is not advantageous. It tightens the neck and trapezius muscle, disrupts the valuable placement offered by the clavicles (collar bones), and interferes with the extension of the side body and the arms. The action may also stress the shoulder joint and the rotator cuff, forcing a reach that is not organic for the practitioner.

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. 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


From the February Workshop
Jason Ray Brown


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 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

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

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

Iyengar Yoga Fundamentals with Nancy Kardon 
Mar 16 (Sat, 11:45 am-12:45 pm)
Learn the basics of Iyengar Yoga, the first steps of this method using alignment as a tool to quiet the mind. Good for anyone who is new to Iyengar Yoga. Class limit is 8. $25; free for students new to Iyengar Yoga Scarsdale 

Scoliosis and Back Care with Nancy Kardon 
Mar 16 (Sat, 2:15-3:45 pm)
Working with a rope wall and traction actions, learn to give length and strength as we seek balance in asana. Learn to understand what is going on in your spine and to adapt and adjust as needed. $25

Sutra Tea with Nancy Kardon 
Mar 16 (Sat, 4:15-5:30 pm)
Share a cup of tea and converstion about the Yamas and Niyamas that can guide our practice and lives. RSVP. Free

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

Boston Buddha: Intro to Meditation with Andy Kelly 
Mar 23 (Sat, 2-3:30 pm)
Perfect for beginners or anyone who wants to get back on track with meditation. Learn to incorporate mindfulness into your lifestyle. No experience or prerequisites necessary. $45

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

Yoga for Healthy Knees (Semi-Private Lesson) with Janette Petrovich
Mar 14 (Thurs, 6-7 pm)
Whether you have tender knees, knee pain, injured knees, challenged knees, hyperextended knees, or if you’re weak in the knees, this semi-private can help. Learn key actions of the feet and lower legs to help stabilize and align your knees in a variety of common poses. Troubleshoot some common postures that exacerbate hyperextension in the knees such as triangle and pyramid poses, standing forward bends, and seated forward bends. This is also a great practice for people without hyperextension who want to improve alignment and strength of their legs. $30

Leap into Spring Yoga with Kait Ferguson
Mar 16 (Sat, 10-11:30 am)
Celebrate the Spring Equinox. Declutter the mind and body and get ready for this fresh new season through pranayama and a sequence comprised of side bends, twists, balancing poses, forward bends, and a sprinkle of restorative. Brush off winter and stimulate the lively energy of Spring. $25 by 3/7, $35 thereafter

Spring Studio Open House with the Yoga Culture Teaching Staff
Mar 23 (Sat, 8:30 am-12:30 pm)
Check out our studio and take a free class or two. Offering level 2, Level 1, Basics, and Restorative. We will hold our Teacher Training Information Session and class at 10 am. Whether you have never practiced before or are a seasoned yogi thinking about a 200-hour Yoga Alliance Certified Training, head on over! Experience Yoga Culture's alignment-focused style in our laid-back community atmosphere. If you plan on attending, please sign up in advance on our website.


~ Final Thoughts ~

The Guest House

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.

~ Jelaluddin Rumi

From Rumi: Selected Poems. trans, Coleman Barks with John Moynce, AJ Arberry, Reynold Nicholson, London: Penguin Books, 1995.


MARCH 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

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