November 2017 Newsletter

The Yoga Teachers Association Proudly Presents

Transformational Teaching 

with  Ken Nelson and Lesli Lang

Saturday, Noivember 11

1:30–4:30 pm

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

Create the conditions for transformation, accountability, and creativity in your groups, workshops, retreats, and trainings on and off the mat. 

Join us for a dynamic, interactive workshop to discover how to facilitate the wisdom of individuals and groups. Ken and Lesli will show you how to: 

  • Get clear about your own goals, strengths, and challenges
  • Use the tools of intention, attention, agreements, and conscious communication 
  • Hone your skills to listen, reflect, encourage, and ask powerful questions
  • Respond wisely to clear obstacles, upsets, and stuck behavior 

The program is geared toward yoga teachers, but the material is relevant to other teaching and leadership positions at home and at work. 

Ken Nelson is a former Fulbright lecturer and Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health Scholar-in-Residence, and has offered workshops worldwide since 1975. His CD, Yin Yoga, and DVD Qigong & Taiji for Healing & Vitality are Kripalu best sellers. Lesli Lang has a background in theater and performing arts, and two decades of experience assisting Fortune 500 executives to communicate their message more effectively. Drawing on a lifetime of yoga, self-inquiry, and meditation, she enjoys supporting people in their quest for authenticity, freedom, and full expression. Ken, Lesli, and David Ronka are coauthors of Creating the Conditions for Transformation, a book about tools that link the heart and mind.

To register for Ken and Lesli’s workshop,  Register now!



Groups: Gateway to Deeper Insight and Creativity

By Ken Nelson and Lesli Lang

Why Individuals Get Transformational Results from Groups 

Each individual soars on the thermals of the group’s wisdom. Groups are often smarter than the smartest people in them. So, chasing the expert is not as wise as creating wise groups. But just putting people in a group and expecting them to be smart together, and that everything will be smooth, is being naïve. How can we be together in ways that contribute to wholeness, well-being and creativity? The new field of collective intelligence offers us ways to meet and grow through a “bio-technology of group formation.” In skillful groups our individual identity and creativity emerge within the context of the group and not separate from the whole. 

How independent are we? The reality is that we are part of many already established groups—family, ethnicity, culture, nation, and species. We are swimming in unexamined relationships that are driving us as individuals and as group members. So, what groups do we want to consciously belong to? 

What do we fear? This is the inherent paradox: we deeply want to belong to groups, yet we fear losing our autonomy and individual freedom. In the extreme, we fear being swept up in the collective hysteria of the crowd. We feel that we may lose our originality, our unique gifts. Yet, how many of us are as creative, original, and innovative as we could be? The fear of losing our identity to the group is a false fear. 

Why get together? When you hook your star—your brilliance—to the power of a conscious group, you connect to the infinite universe of creative intelligence. Using group-wisdom technology, we can feel like an eagle soaring on the thermals of group synergy. The group lifts us up to discover sustainable solutions to challenges. Our individual identity emerges within the context of the group, and not separate from the whole. Safety in the group helps people to get clarity about their purpose and path. Individuals can tap into deeper levels of awareness and come into contact with obstacles that stand in the way of creativity and full self-expression. 

We believe that the foundation for group creativity and transformation lies in promoting the uniqueness of the individual, the power of the group, and the creative mystery itself. Participants discover their hidden wholeness through insight, empathy, and relationship skills. People in our trainings can change forever the way they lead and teach. 

Our theory of action can be expressed in this way: 

We believe that if we: 

  1. Design a workshop with a holistic view in mind, honoring the whole person; and we
  2. Form a cohesive group where people can meet, join, and belong; and we
  3. Lead the group through a series of experiences that engage body, mind, heart, and spirit with both safety and integration in mind; and
  4. The process is facilitated by a leader who is present and aware;

Then we will see: 

      5. The emergence of group wisdom. And in the process, individuals will experience the                  exact transformation that they need and are ready for. 

Learn more about Ken and Lesli at and


2017–2018 Workshops

Mark your calendar!

Ken Nelson & Lesli Lang
Transformational Teaching
November 11
Details and registration info in this newsletter and at

Rudy Peirce
Dynamic Gentle Yoga
December 9
Experience a mindful style of yoga movement that opens and stimulates, releases aches and pains, and de-stresses. 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 and present a new approach to dirgha pranayama that will help you and your students breathe more deeply to enhance relaxation.

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 it’s 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 September I focused on what yoga is and what it means to me. In October, I discussed the impact and importance of yoga to our physical well-being. At this time, I would like to address an important segment of a yoga practice—the mental/emotional aspect, which has been shown to have a pervasive effect on every dimension of our being.

Through our practice of yoga asanas, we are confronted by our limitations, many of which are not merely physical. We are given the chance to encounter these blocks to our growth and empowerment as we recognize they are fear-based, fed by our very own habits, patterns, mind-sets, and negativities. As we work our bodies in the asanas, we slowly develop the courage necessary to stay the course and to bring in light to dispel the shadows within us. As the darkness recedes, so does our fear. It is mentally freeing if we remember that fear is False Emotions/Experiences Appearing Real and can be replaced by Face Each Apparition Realistically. 

We are further positively impacted by pranayama stretching us emotionally. Yoga breathing is known to be a stress buster. The negative effect of stress on the immune, cardiovascular, and digestive systems is well-documented, along with the diminished feelings of energy and life force. All these cause us to run scared (Serious Concerns About Responsibility, Effectiveness, Decisiveness), which further damages ourselves.

Yoga gives us the opportunity to turn that around and become Serene, Caring, Aware, Resourceful, Evolved, Determined. We become the person we were meant to be and who we want to be.

A yoga practice also places great emphasis on the healing importance of gratitude, an emotion that creates a healthy state of being—both in mind and body. Gratitude is the antidote to the toxins of fear and feeling scared, being unable to breathe and expand. Thanks to the wisdom of our early countrymen, we have the holiday of Thanksgiving encouraging our entire nation to come together in the expression of gratitude for our blessings. As we gather with our loved ones, let's send this gift of the heart to all beings sharing the home Mother Earth provides for all.

This month take a deep breath, leave your stress at home, and bring yourself to YTA's workshop to be refreshed and restored. Remember November is the perfect month to give and receive the gift of gratitude.

Yours in Yoga,

Paula Renuka Heitzner


Member Events 

Would a Yoga Program Help Teens with Eating Disorders?

The teenage years are fraught with the insecurities of impending adulthood and the turmoil of leaving behind childhood. Disorders of any kind are symptomatic of imbalances and loss of control and account for overeating or anorexia—two perfect examples of this imbalance.

Troubled teens need to be heard with respect in order to establish trust with whom they are speaking. An introduction of the Yamas and Nyamas could be ideal to soothe and lessen the usual inflammatory responses of troubled adolescents, especially the first Yama, Ahimsa, and the second, Satya. Ahimsa—nonviolence focused on loving awareness to others—can be focused on nonviolence and self-love, creating awareness in a spiritual context of the violence that is self-inflicted in these eating disorders. 

Satya—truth—calls for deep revelations of honesty of feelings and actions, and introduces one to the mirror of their being, prompting responsibility for what is clearly in their own reflection. As the level of maturity and self-acceptance grows, the other eight teachings can be added. 

Physically, the stretching and the breathing of a yoga practice may increase the sense of well-being and satisfaction that is sought after excessive amounts of food or near starvation and purging. The asanas and pranayama can hopefully and happily inspire changes leading to better coping skills and healthier habits and patterns.

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 October YTA workshop with Tzahi Moskovitz





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

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Iyengar Yoga Scarsdale
Nancy Kardon
74 Brewster Road
Scarsdale, NY 10583

The Gift of Yoga with Nancy Kardon 
Nov 4 (Sat, 2-4 pm)
A practice to transform anxiety. Learn to quiet the nervous system and fluctuations of the mind. Preregister, $35

Scoliosis Back Care Sessions with Nancy Kardon 
Nov 18 (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/session

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

Gentle is the New Advanced with J. Brown 
Nov 5 (Sun, 12-3 pm)
Experience the approach and techniques of this "old school/new school" style. Come experience a yoga for the well-being of the whole person. At once both a revolution and return to the ancient roots of yoga. Gentle, therapeutic, and breath-centered, make the body strong and flexible with no striving. $45 members; $55 nonmembers

Breathwork with Laura
Nov 6 (Mon, 7:30-830 pm)
Calm the busy mind and relax the body with breathwork meditation. A practice that uses the breath to promote healing and encourage activity. $30 members; $35 nonmembers

Yoga Nidra with Dee Yergo
Nov 27 (Mon, 7:30-8:30 pm)
You are gently guided through a visualization and awareness journey designed to bring the mind to a relaxed, hypnagogic state. It is practiced from a comfortable position on the back. $30 members; $35 nonmembers

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

Collage Quest: Accessing Your Inner Guidance with Color: A 2-Part Series 
with Donna Thompson 
Nov 4 & 11 (Sat, 1-5 pm)
Experience collage as a meditative path to creativity, self-discovery, and a journey to access higher guidance. All materials provided. Preregister online for Early Bird Price: $120 for 2 sessions (thru Oct 31). $150 thereafter for two sessions, or $75 each

Deep Restorative Yoga with Assists with Patricia Castimore & Sandra Socastro
Nov 9 (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)

Mindfulness & Meditation with Patricia Bloom
Nov 16 (Thurs, 7-8:30 pm)
Bring attention to our present moment experience, observing what is happening without judgment. It can bring an island of calm and clarity in the middle of the rushing stream of life. Whether a beginner or an experienced practitioner, all are welcome. By donation, 
$10 suggested

Giving Thanks Community Yoga Gathering with Franklin Shire
Nov 25 (Sat, 4-5:30 pm)
Practice gratitude in community and benefit the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry. Also accepting food donations to benefit the Food Pantry. All levels. Preregister online for Early Bird price: $20 (thru Nov 19th); $20 thereafter

Chair Yoga with Suzanne Cohen
Nov 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 (Thursdays, 9:30-10:45 am)
Flowing movement and stretching, done seated in a chair and standing; for participants 60 years/older, those in need of individual modifications due to limited mobility. Single class, $15

Rob Farella
78 Stony Hill Road
Bethel, CT 06801

Introduction to Restorative Yin Yoga with Rob Farella
Nov 4 (Sat, 2-4 pm)
Use long-held postures to access the deeper, most accepting aspects of yourself. Apply gentle tension to the connective tissues—the tendons, fascia, and ligaments—with the aim of increasing circulation in the joints and improving flexibility. The poses are also designed to improve the flow of prana (life force) through the body’s energy channels (nadis), improving organ health, immunity, and emotional well-being. $25 by Nov 3rd/$35 at door

Asana & Pranayama for Deep and Lasting Change with Barbara Templeton 
Nov 11 (Sat, 3-5 pm)
Learn asanas that refine and unite your body and breath and pranayama that creates a long/steady breath, purifies your body, and allows your mind to become clear and focused. Restore and reinforce balance and well-being in your life and understand asana and pranayama to directly experience the nature and function of your body, breath, and mind. $30 in advance/$35 at door; seniors (65+) $25

Mudras for Awakening the 5 Elements: Release Stress and Find Balance 
with Alison DeNicola 
Nov 18 (Sat, 3-5 pm)
Awaken and restore the five elements within you. Using mindful yoga, hand mudras, pranayama, essential oils, and restorative practices, uncover and balance your connections to each element as you support your well-being. Leave with tools and practices to take home, as well as a deep feeling of balance and harmony. $32 in advance/$40 at door


~ 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

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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