November 2018 Newsletter

The Yoga Teachers Association Proudly Presents

The Practical Wisdom 

of the Yogic Scriptures

with Jeff Migdow

Saturday, November 10, 2018
1:30–4:30 pm
The Yoga Studio at Club Fit
584 North State Road
Briarcliff Manor, NY

The yogic scriptures come from millennia of human experience and knowledge and embody basic teachings for all aspects of our daily practice and spiritual life. 

The Bhagavad Gita teaches us how to maximize our effectiveness and presence in work, relationships, and knowledge; the Yoga Sutras give us the pathway through right action and yogic practice to deepen our connection to our inner self; and the Shiva Sutras give us a picture of the experience of pure presence and reality. Through discussion, asana, pranayama, and meditation, you’ll discover how these insights into reaching your optimal health, well-being, and spiritual consciousness can be integrated into your yoga practice and classes to heal, rejuvenate, and reinspire. 

Jeff Migdow, MD, a holistic physician and Reiki master/practitioner for over 25 years, directed Kripalu Yoga teacher training from 1991–1997 and has been the director of the Prana Yoga Teacher Training program since 1997. He is coauthor of the books Breathe In, Breathe Out and Goddess to the Core. With his profound With his profound expertise in yoga practice and scriptures and his knowledge of anatomy and physiology, you will experience a truly complete approach to this ancient and profound discipline.

To attend Jeff'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.



My Inspiration Through
the Yogic Scriptures and Philosophy

Jeff Migdow, MD

One night while I was in college, some friends and I began discussing philosophy, reaction to the Viet Nam war and the military presence at our college, and if there was a common point between spirituality or activism. Our feeling was that spiritual practice is an internal process where we see external reality as an illusion, and activism is believing that only focused political action can create change. That night, we spoke into the wee hours. In the morning, my friend needed to stop at the library to work on a paper. I accompanied him and was drawn to the philosophy section. My body drew me to the yoga section—right to the Bhagavad Gita. I spent the next 2 hours totally enthralled in the Gita and felt as if I had read it many times before. What Krishna was teaching Arjuna was the conversation we were having the night before! 

Arjuna cannot see a place for connection of spiritual practice and political action. Krishna teaches him that people can only be in spiritual practice if they act in the world in the moment from their truth and bring their spiritual knowledge into the human condition. This was so powerful for me; it showed me how I could deepen my spiritual practice by following my activist feelings against that war. This was the beginning of my true spiritual path and exploration. As I demonstrated against the war and the injustice and hypocrisy, I also began practicing yoga and meditation. I felt rather than demonstrating in anger that I was coming more from conviction and true wanting to shift my consciousness and that of the people I was close to.

The next semester I walked into a class on Eastern philosophy with my best friend. The teacher taught the basics of yoga philosophy eloquently, and I felt as if I was back in India learning outside in a field with a breeze, flowers, and birds. We could almost hear the birds chirping. The course turned out to be life-changing for me—studying the full realm of yoga philosophy from the Rig Vedas up to the words of Shankara. The depth of the discussions and their relevance in our day-to-day life was transforming as we explored the Gita, Yoga Sutras, Narada and Shiva Sutras, Vedas, and other ways to look at reality. The key here was that they all involved some type of physical or mental regimen that allowed me to experiment with various practices, from pranayama to chanting, asana, and meditation.

I continued to explore yoga and philosophy in college, making philosophy a minor in my program. I took yoga classes, taught yoga, deepened my outdoor pranayama and meditation practice, and chanted on the quad with some friends. I felt my consciousness opening and inner clarity deepening. 

My medical education was tedious and often boring as most of the materialistic philosophy that was applied to healing made no sense to me. I was firm in believing in prana and an energy body by then and craved to learn about natural methods. My education was supported by my yoga practice. The postures kept my body healthy, as what meditation did for my mind. The lessons of the Gita and Yoga Sutras kept me feeling centered and in myself. When on call two nights a week, I used pranayama rather than coffee to stay awake all night, and I found it to keep me clearer and more relaxed than were the other students and interns. I was able to relax the patients and doctors around me. The practice had a profound effect on my belief in yoga practice and the philosophy of the existence of subtle bodies. I encouraged patients to relax, stretch, and breathe, resulting in my patients being released much more quickly from the hospital than patients not encouraged to do this.

While in medical school in 1976 I saw an advertisement about the Kripalu ashram and that the Guru and a few residents would be visiting Chicago. I attended the meeting and fell in love with the idea of living a yogic lifestyle while doing work that was uplifting for people and society. 

I began to lead the Kripalu group in Chicago while in medical school, and later when I was in DC in 1979 during my internship. We spent much time studying the yogic writings and ways to integrate the teachings into our day-to-day life. This led me to meet some people who were being treated with homeopathy. I saw how they were helped medically in a nonviolent way and began an apprenticeship in homeopathy.

I moved into Kripalu in 1980 and spent most of the next 15 years there. It was a great training ground to learn more deeply about yoga practice, to study the yogic scriptures, and to teach them to other residents and students. 

Since 1997, I have led workshops around the world on yoga practice, teachings, and lifestyle and how we can integrate the teachings into our lives and practice for greater health, vitality, and consciousness. I feel that my initial experience of finding and reading the Gita while in college was one of the greatest and best turning points of my life. 


2018–19 Workshops

Jeff Migdow
The Practical Wisdom of the Yoga Scriptures
November 10
Details and registration info in this newsletter and at

Robert Rivest
Laughter, Expression, and Joy!
December 8
Robert will share his unique health and well-being practice that blends mindful breathing, tai-chi, expressive movement, and laughter yoga. In this very playful workshop, you will learn how to use your body and facial expressions to convey with positive energy all of the excitement and joy that laughter yoga has to offer. Robert will show you how to free your body and mind so that laughter will flow freely, joyfully, and spontaneously. His exciting exercises and energizing movement will help you feel more positive, playful, upbeat, and cheerful when practicing and leading Laughter Yoga.

Dan Leven
Shake Your Soul: The Yoga of Dance
January 12
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. In this workshop you will learn organic exercises that will open your heart and awaken your soul, connect with the natural dancer within, and transform stress and tension through Dan's unique blend of body-centered mindfulness practices.

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, 

As we move closer to the year's end, perhaps we can utilize the joyful energies of the holiday season to balance out the overwhelming sense of darkness as we face personal disappointments in disproportionate amounts and unheard of global disasters wreaking horrendous damage to life and limb and to property and the planet. The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday can serve to remind us to count our blessings. 

Our yoga practice supports us as well by engendering the feelings of gratitude and appreciation that are spiritually sustaining and strengthening. Thus, we can create light to begin diminishing the darkness, personally and globally, while we manifest an atmosphere that is healthier and conducive to healing. Our practice urges us to go within to find our personal source of light and life force, enabling us to better handle our challenges. We are then in a better position to find answers and solutions instead of multiplying the problems.

The asanas are so designed in each and every posture to encourage more inner energy flow and to deepen our breathing. "Breath is life," the yogis say, and it is also the fuel that keeps us going and regenerating. Fear, tension, and stress are emotions that are more debilitating than any external threat. Yoga teaches us how to breath deeply and fully, to stretch to open the channels of wellness within, and to surrender to the higher energies so that we can let go of destructive mistrust and distrust.

The content of spirituality and joy in the holiday season is the perfect antidote to face the darkness, and we can use them therapeutically if we stay focused on the higher meanings instead of the commercialism. Avail yourself of the monthly YTA workshops to help the refocusing process, adding gratitude and appreciation to the knowledgeable benefits of your practice.

Yours in yoga, 

Paula Renuka Heitzner


Your Thoughts

How do you work with someone who has persistent pain—one-on-one—in class?

I think the instructor has to be informed, fully, by the student about the pain being experienced. The medical history is very important, the duration of the painful symptoms, and any traumatic episodes that have occurred are all relevant to working successfully with a student in pain.

Yoga offers ways to deal with painful conditions. Breath is an important asset to assist in stretching, opening, and understanding the proper use and function of the affected sites. The instructor must establish an atmosphere of safety leading to the trust needed for the student to let go of defenses erected to deal with pain that may be emotional in origin. Surrender, yogic style, is a wonderful resource for shifting attitudes and bringing positive energy around the negative sensations.

The care, concern, and compassion of the instructor can be taught in any situation. It is up to the involved parties and can be shifted and changed as necessary (one-on-one, in class).

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


Feeling Spontaneous?

Join us for Paths to Renewal, our first retreat at Himalayan Institute—this weekend!

Register with us now, then book your room!


From the October YTA workshop with Christa Rypins


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

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Iyengar Yoga Scarsdale

Nancy Kardon
74 Brewster Road
Scarsdale, NY 10583
299 Greenwich Avenue, 3rd Fl.
Greenwich, CT

A Look at the Big Practice of Yoga with Nancy Kardon 
Nov 1 (Sat, 4-5:30 pm)
Come for tea and let’s take a look at the big practice of yoga. Bring your copy, if you have one, of the Yoga Sutras of patanjali. 

Iyengar Yoga Fundamentals with Nancy Kardon 
Nov 17 (Sat, 11:45 am-12:45 pm)
Learn the basic fundamentals of Iyengar yoga. Good for those from other yoga methods interested in learning Iyengar basics. No yoga experience necessary. $25; free for new students 

Scoliosis and Back Care with Nancy Kardon 
Nov 17 (Sat, 2:15-3:45 pm)
Learn to give space to compression to strengthen, lengthen, and balance your spinal curves. Traction with wall ropes and props are used for this teaching. For beginners, as well as more seasoned practitioners. $25

Riverstone Yoga

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

MELT for Core Stability 
Nov 17 (Sat, 11:30-12:45 pm)
Restore contractility of the pelvic floor and abdomen, activate the lover fibers of your glutes, and help your internal hip stabilizers fire appropriately. $30 

The Meditation Lab with Jennifer Monness
Nov 17 (Sat, 2-3:15 pm)
Gentle yoga stretching and meditation practice, as well as lecture and discussion. Come dressed comfortably, prepared for gentle movement and meditation. All levels welcome. $30

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

Releasing Tension in the Neck and Shoulders Semi-Private Lesson with Janette Petrovich
Nov 1 (Thurs, 6-7 pm)
Explore the muscles of the neck and shoulders, which are a common problem area for most of us, and practice restorative poses to release tension in those areas. Limited to 6 students. $35 

Yoga Nidra: Guided Relaxation & Meditation with Allison Ray Jeraci
Nov 2 (Fri, 7:30-8:30 pm)
Experience full-body relaxation and a deep meditative state of consciousness. Experience the relief of stress, 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. $20 by Nov 1, $30 day of

Yoga for Digestion, Semi-Private Lesson with Lauren Howe
Nov 11 (Sun, 11 am-12 noon)
Got tummy troubles? Indigestion? Bloating? When your stomach is off, so is your whole day. Whether it’s caused by chronic stomach issues like IBS, a big meal, or food that simply doesn’t agree with you, indigestion and bloating never feel good. Limited to 6 students. $35

Candelit “Thank You for Restorative” Workshop with Jacqueline Just
Nov 16 (Fri, 7:30-9:30 pm)
Focus on the things for which you are thankful. The electric candles will offer an unforgettable ambiance of relaxation. Gratitude is a positive act of giving. Put them together and you create the perfect platform for manifesting abundance, joy, and good health in your life. This is an excellent way to ease into the holiday season with a positive attitude. $25 by Nov 15, $35 day of

Thanksgiving Day Special Class with Jenny Schuck
Nov 22 (Thurs, 9-11 am)
Join Jenny for her annual Thanksgiving Day class centered on gratitude. Get your body moving before the feast and get your mind in the spirit of Thanksgiving. A tweak in perspective can be all it takes to witness the fullness of life. $35 by Nov 21, $45 day of

Adventurous Asana Workshop: Advanced Studies with Allison Ray Jeraci
Nov 30 (Fri, 7:30-9:30 pm)
Explore the advanced postures. Get ready to work hard, play hard, and laugh. Exploring poses like Tittibasana (Firefly), Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand), Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana (King Pigeon), Eka Pada Koundinyasana (you'll have to google this one!), and Bird of Paradise. Create confidence, strength, and balance within your yogi self as you practice patience and focus in these demanding postures. $35 by 11/29, $45 day of


~ Final Thoughts ~

The Soul Shifts Blessing Prayer for the Planet 

I offer my blessings to the planet Earth,

I offer my blessings to the planet Earth,

my home while I am in this body.

May grace now shower upon the world and

restore it to peace.

May all who suffer now be comforted and


May all who are oppressed now be liberated,

and their dignity redeemed.

May all who are lost in forgetfulness now

awaken from

the Great Sleep

and return to remembrance.

May all beings now live together in perfect


May all souls now align with their Highest.

May all souls now find their way back to love, 

and may that love be All That Is.

May the One Perfect Light now triumph over all


in all people and all places,

seen and unseen, 

And may that One Perfect Light prevail for all 


May there be peace.

May there be peace. 

May there be peace.



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