The Yoga Teachers Association Proudly Presents

Tantra Yoga: Alignment Refinement for Body, Mind, and Heart

with Todd Norian

Saturday, September 9
1:30–4:30 pm

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

Followed by Prana Party featuring Kirtan with Todd
4:30–5:30 pm

We are thrilled to be opening the new season with master yogi Todd Norian! 

Join us to journey through a comprehensive system of alignment that integrates body, mind, and heart with the esoteric and empowering teachings of tantra. Todd brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to a workshop that will teach you mastery of natural body biomechanics through the alignment essentials of Ashaya Yoga, which blends precise therapeutic alignment with a spiritually uplifting philosophy drawn from the Shaiva Tantra tradition. This method leaves you feeling strong, confident, peaceful, open-hearted, and ready to engage with life wholeheartedly. 

As a special treat, Todd will lead us in kirtan at the YTA’s annual Prana Party immediately following the workshop. Join us for light refreshments and an opportunity to meet board members and other area yoga teachers and enthusiasts. 

The workshop is just about two weeks away. Register now!

Todd Norian,
E-RYT 500, is the founder of Ashaya Yoga. His style is one of precise therapeutic alignment infused with his passion for the esoteric teachings of tantra yoga. With warmth and humor, Todd creates a sanctuary of sublime transformation in which students step into the power of their own heart. 



How Yoga Found Me

by Todd Norian

My dad is a trumpet player, and I grew up listening to him practice scales. He also had his own jazz orchestra, and they used to practice at our house. As a little kid, I would sit out of view in the doorway to listen to them.

I loved music, and when I was 8 years old I started taking piano lessons. I had my own band when I was 11 called "The Pee Wees." I went on to study classical piano at the University of Michigan but was daunted by the competition. My heart was more into jazz improvisation. Just before he died, my grandfather told me, "Always follow your heart. Then everything will work out." I took his advice and transferred to the University of Miami to study jazz. I loved it. In the summer before I transferred, I returned home to Michigan where I grew up. An old friend, who was a dancer and an inspiration to me throughout my childhood, met me for dinner at a mutual friend's house. They warned me they were eating vegetarian. I brought a steak.

Something was different about my friend. He glowed. He said he was living at a yoga ashram called Kripalu. I didn't think much about this.

When I got to Miami, I noticed that across the street from the jazz school was a yoga studio. I signed up and had a powerful experience in my first Savasana. Yoga was a mini-torture for me because I was so stiff. I used to sweat profusely. As I lay down at the end of class, the lights softened, candles were lit, and the sweetest smelling incense floated through the air. Then I heard the sound of a flute. I recognized it—Inside the Taj Mahal by Paul Horn. I'll never forget this because the echo of the flute inside the temple resonated with overtones that sounded like jazz chords. I entered a very deep reverie. 

Tears streamed down my face. Crying while lying on your back forms pools of water in your ears. That cracked me up. I was laughing, then crying, then laughing. My whole body began to tingle. I realized in that moment this was the first time I truly relaxed and accepted myself. For years, I strived to be good. Driven to be the best in whatever I did, I carried a lot of stress. In that moment I let it all go. I was okay just the way I was. I floated in grace with a joy so deep it's indescribable. This was my first experience of my true self—the self underneath stress, insecurity, and doubt. I changed forever. 

I came back to the studio twice a week, then bought the unlimited pass. Some days I would attend two classes. I spent my summers at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, studying jazz. One summer on the way back to Miami, I remembered my friend from home saying that I could visit Kripalu anytime I wanted. I saw on a map that Kripalu, which at that time was in Pennsylvania, was on the way home from Rochester. 

I only had 13 days left of my summer break before going back to Miami to begin a fellowship in jazz education. My friend convinced me to stay for a 10-day program, Quest for the Limitless You. I love saying this next phrase: "I went to a 10-day program and stayed for 13 years!" It's true. I called my professors from the pay phone at Kripalu and canceled my fellowship. I also called my parents to share my joy with them. But they freaked out. This was in the early '80s when cults were prevalent. But I knew in every cell of my being this was the right decision for me. Deep in my heart, without knowing how it was going to play out, I knew that yoga was my destiny. 

I became a program director and teacher trainer at Kripalu, certifying over 1,000 teachers, and cowrote the original Kripalu manual. I left in 1996, became a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy Trainer, then studied Anusara Yoga for 15 years. But when Anusara came crashing down in 2012 (which was my second community crash—Kripalu being the first in 1994), I branded my own yoga called Ashaya (Abode of the Heart)

I truly believe that yoga found me. You never come to yoga. Yoga comes to you. This is one of the greatest mysteries of yoga. It's grace that opens your heart and guides you back to your true self. All you need to do is soften, listen, and follow your heart. 

For more information,


2017–18 Workshops

We're excited to share this year's lineup with you. Take a look, mark your calendars, and please join us!

Todd Norian
Tantra Yoga: Alignment Refinement for Body, Mind, and Heart  
September 9
Details and registration info in this newsletter and at

Tzahi Moskovitz
Traction Action
October 14
Tzahi will show us how a yoga strap can be used in supine poses, standing poses, inverted poses, and backbends both when we need to modify our practice and when we want to find ways to deepen it. In this playful workshop we’ll explore the many creative ways in which this prop can enhance the practice and teaching of yoga.

Ken Nelson & Lesli Lang
Transformational Teaching
November 11
In this dynamic, interactive workshop, Ken and Lesli will show you how to facilitate the wisdom of individuals and groups by cultivating trust; getting clear about your own goals, strengths, and challenges; and using the tools of intention, attention, agreements, and conscious communication. This program geared toward yoga teachers is relevant to other teaching and leadership positions at home and at work.

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 uti lize 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, 

Fall is fast approaching, bringing visions of a final flamboyant display of color to be soon followed by the diminished coloration of dormancy. Mother Nature has her patterns. We also have our patterns and habits, and this is the time of resurging energy and resolve as our pace quickens with the return to the pursuits of active, productive living—the follow-up of Summer's R&R.

Many people of varied ages, interests, and physical abilities have discovered the joys and benefits of a yoga practice. I would like to give a brief description, as I see it, of what yoga is.

It is a comprehensive system, developed 5,000 years ago, to study and understand the connection of body, mind, and spirit. Hatha Yoga is the generic label referring to the physical disciplines for the body, but there are different aspects in all practices that support stress relief, wellness, vitality, clarity, and the healing aspects of the mind.

Spiritual growth is an important benefit, not of beliefs that would in any way interfere with formal religious teachings, but of techniques and guidance for enriching our daily lives. The Yamas and Niyamas are perfect examples of how our yoga practice can mesh together and support all things spiritual in our lives.

Yoga Sutras, particularly the Bhagavad Gita, explain the paradoxes of life over which we all stumble. They explore the nature of obstacles that can lead one to higher awareness and greater fulfillment if we accept the challenges and create the necessary personal courage to stay the course. Also part of this amazing heritage is the time-honored sharing of “mouth-to-ear” esoteric information. The teacher can impart to the student what is necessary to gain awareness for personal experience of this subtle knowledge.

Monthly, the YTA offers this mouth-to-ear opportunity to teachers, healers, therapists, and serious students. Make this a commitment and start the "Fall" in an "up" mode, sharing your energy and wisdom with others on the path of yoga.

Yours in Yoga,

Paula Renuka Heitzner


Your Thoughts:

Does yoga help reduce inflammation in the body?

Mind-body therapies have been shown to be effective in reducing markers of inflammation in the body. A yoga practice, done purposefully, is a significant resource to reduce inflammation and its many adverse effects. The hormone cortisol is produced in the body when someone is stressed, angry, ungrounded, and unfocused. Cortisol has been proven to be a contributing factor in high blood pressure, digestive disorders, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. All of these are obviously inflammatory in nature, impair the immune system, and disrupt the body's ability to heal. However, stretching, breathing, meditation, mindfulness, and the physicality of yoga to strengthen the body and keep it fit and toned go a long way to bring about balance and healing from within. All asanas done with care, joy, and breath reduce inflammation.

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 June YTA workshop with Luke Ketterhagen





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. 

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SkyBaby Yoga & Pilates Studio
Kathy Toris-Rowe, Manager
75 Main Street 
Cold Spring, NY 10516

Sept 3 (1
st Sun of every month, 12:30-2 pm)
DHARMA SUNDAY SCHOOL w/ Maeve Eng Wong. Unique Buddhist-oriented class for children 5+ and their families. Explore concepts like kindness, compassion, gratitude, and generosity through readings, creative activities, community building, movement, and meditation. Donation based.

Sept 4-6 (Mon-Wed ongoing, 8:45-9:15 am)
MORNING MEDITATION w/Brandis Buslovich. Singing bowls included on Wednesdays. Free

Sept 15 (every 3rd Fri, 7:30-8:30 pm)
SOUND HEALING & TIBETAN SINGING BOWLS w/Michelle Clifton. Listen to the singing bowls and awaken our bodies’ own innate healing abilities and retune our bodies. Register at Donation: $25

Yoga Haven
Betsy Kase
62 Main Street
Tuckahoe, NY 10707


Yoga Haven 2
91 Montgomery Avenue
Scarsdale, NY 10583

Sept 10 (Sun, 1-7 pm, Tuckahoe)
CHILDBIRTH EDUCATION: Essentials for a More Easeful Birth w/Jaqui Stix. Our childbirth education workshop is packed with tools and information for both you and your partner, beyond what you might get in a standard hospital course. This interactive workshop will help your partner build a labor and delivery support toolbox. $185

Sept 10 (Sun, 6-8 pm, Scarsdale)
RESTORATIVE YOGA & REIKI w/Judy Raso. Restorative yoga and Reiki both promote relaxation and stress relief and create balance within the body. Experience the potent combination in this popular workshop. $45 

Sept 25 (Mon, 7-8:30 pm, Scarsdale)
YOGA NIDRA & SOUND HEALING w/Melissa Jhunja. Yoga Nidra is a guided meditation practice designed to deeply relax and release tension held in the subconscious and unconscious. In this special practice you will also be enveloped in the gentle and soothing sound of singing bowls, bringing you even deeper into a relaxed, meditative state. $40

Birchwood Center 
Betsy Ceva
85 S. Broadway
Nyack NY 10960

Sept 6-Apr 28 (Wed & Fri, 6-9 pm; Sat, 12-7 pm)
300-HOUR ADVANCED YOGA TEACHER TRAINING. Follow your dreams—become a 500-hour certified teacher! Find out more at training. Prerequisite: 200-hour certification.

Julia Hough Yoga Studio
8 Lincoln Place
Weehawken, NJ 07086

Sept 16 (Sat, 1:30-4:30 pm)
INTRODUCTION TO TEACHING CHAIR YOGA w/Julia. Learn various ways to teach chair yoga—to the elderly, in an office setting, as well as with chairs used as props in a gentle yoga class—and obtain valuable advice concerning these populations. $55

Oct 14 (Sat, 11 am-5 pm)
CHAIR YOGA FOR THE ELDERLY w/Julia. The first half focuses on active seniors (60s/70s), and the second half prepares you for teaching people in their 80s and 90s. Learn asana adaptations, movements to increase range of motion, and techniques for sharpening students’ focus. $100

Riverstone Yoga

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

Sept 11 (6-class series; Mon, 1-1:45 pm)
YOUTH YOGA OFFERING: Seed Series w/Leslie. Young yogi's will become familiar with their feelings and breath through poses, games, and experimental movement. Physical practice, including restorative poses and attention to breath, will help students strengthen their mind-body connection. Ages 3-5; no experience required. $145

Sept 11 (6-class series; Mon, 2-2:45 pm)
FAMILY YOGA SERIES w/Leslie. Classes consist of small groups and include reflective emails providing resources and strategies to support and encourage yoga at home. Breath awareness and physical practice bond family members and increase strength and happiness. Adults & children ages 2-5. $145

Sept 14 (6-class series; Thurs, 3:45-4:30 pm)
YOGA FOR KIDS SERIES w/Leslie. Become familiar with feelings and breath through poses, games, and experimental movement. Restorative poses and attention to breath will help strengthen mind-body connection. Ages 6-9. $145

Sept 14 (6-class series; Thurs, 4:45-5:30 pm)
YOUTH YOGA OFFERING: Sprout Series w/Leslie. Young yogi's will become familiar with their feelings and breath through poses, games, and experimental movement. Restorative poses and attention to breath will help strengthen mind-body connection. Ages 4-7 with prior experience. $145

Sept 17 (4-class series; Sun, 2-4 pm) 
YOGA FOR OSTEOPOROSIS w/Caryna Wong. Improved balance, enhanced coordination, greater range of motion and strength. Dr. Loren Fishman's "12 Poses Against Osteoporosis" will teach you how opposing one group of muscles stimulates osteocytes, bone-making cells, shown to increase bone mineral density. $135 before 9/1; $145 thereafter

Sept 18 (Mon, 7:30-8:30 pm)
YOGA NIDRA w/Dee Yergo. Be gently guided through a visualization journey designed to bring the mind into a hypnagogic state in the practice of "yogic sleep." $30 Members; $35 nonmembers

Kula for Karma
Penni Feiner
3 Vreeland Avenue
Hawthorne, NJ 07506 

Sept 23 & 24 (Sat, 9 am-6 pm & Sun, 10 am-6 pm) 

YOGA FOR POSITIVE BODY IMAGE: A Yogic Approach to Eating and Body Image Issues w/Shari Becker, PhD & Kirsten Adelia Collins, E-RYT, MBA. Explore: Eating disorder diagnoses and treatment; therapeutic benefits of yoga; applying yoga philosophy to disordered eating and body image; incorporating asana, pranayama, and meditation into yoga teaching methods for inpatient, outpatient, and general populations. 20 hours of CEUs with 16 contact hours. $375 for Prema Yoga Institute teachers & Kula teachers; $425 for all others

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

Sept 23 (Sat, 2-3:30 pm)

SCOLIOSIS w/Nancy Kardon. Working with your imbalances including rope wall traction action. Those new to Iyengar yoga are welcome. $25

Sept 23 (Sat, 3:45-5:15 pm)

PRATYHARA AND PRANAYAMA w/Nancy Kardon. Reeducating the senses and fine-tuned working with breath and energy. Asana practice is a prerequisite. $25

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Check Out the YTA Directory!

The Directory is the source for information about yoga teachers, studios, and yoga teacher trainings throughout the Hudson Valley. Individual and studio members may send their information to Find it at


~ 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