October 2020 Newslette

Words of Welcome

Dear All, 

After an active, productive summer, the month of October reflects on Mother Nature's infinite plan to balance the Earth's energy. In preparing for the cessation of growth, there is the finale of vibrant color, followed by the resting time offered by winter.

The seasons follow their innate routines, but we missed spring, summer, and possibly the fall. Covid-19 has challenged life as we know it, and we've been in a state of hibernation endeavoring to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and to end the pandemic. 

Never before has the philosophies of our yoga practice and training been so relevant. Forced to look within by the outer circumstances that prevail, we have the given ability to focus more clearly, to reevaluate our attitudes and lifestyles and to utilize the guiding wisdom of our teachings to realign ourselves, body and spirit, with the universal energy. 

Hopefully, we've used this hiatus to explore our habits, patterns, and mindsets. This is our opportunity to shed light on our principles, perceptions, and projections. At this juncture, we can begin to understand the undermining abilities of the mind, and the value of our yoga teachings to restore our harmony, to empower our heart connection to universal energy, and to overcome the mischief of the mind, Maya.  

Our ancient sages and richis understood the mind and taught that it is not as powerful or as important as we think. Their teachings urge us to disengage from identifying with the feelings and thoughts provoked by the fear the mind generates. The yamas and niyamas are in place to help our evolution. The sutras teach that the mind and the ego are on the same plane, but higher consciousness is available through the witness state. These aspirations and attitudes are made available to us through their teachings. As we surrender to our deepest heart connections, hopefully we will manifest their known positive effects to offset the trials and tribulations of the past eight months. 

With this in mind, YTA has gone to great lengths to continue our yoga journey, virtually, with Zoom, on the second Saturday of each month. There is an impressive line-up of instructors able to support and fill our needs during these stressful times. 

Tune in—Transform Darkness—Transcend to Light!

Yours in yoga, 
Paula Renuka Heitzner

2020 Workshops

Saturday, October 10
1:30–4:30 p.m.
via Zoom

Ancient Insights:
Four Great Attitudes

with Karen Lee

2020 has been a challenging year to say the least. Crisis after crisis has piled up and rolls on in an ever-expanding existential threat that brings out wildly divergent and polarizing versions of reality. It’s as if, like those who built the Tower of Babel, we no longer understand each other and find ourselves in highly charged conflicts with the fundamental beliefs of others. 

Whether we engage in actual argument, or keep our dismayed thoughts to ourselves, or share them only with others who agree with us, many if not all of us, regardless of our views, are struggling with afflicted mental states of anxiety, fear, anger, and depression, that come and go in waves. Those of us who are yogis struggle to maintain a yogic state of mind and to be at peace with others, whom we may perceive as holding fundamentally dangerous beliefs. The good news is that this very cauldron is the place where we can hone our yogic skills and develop greater capacity for meditative spaciousness and the unafflicted qualities that arise out of that spaciousness.

The ancient yogis were not strangers to difficult human experiences. They were, in fact, dedicated observers of human nature, as well as diligent students of the practices that can cultivate a sattvic state of mind. Their goal after all was to quiet mental activity and focus perception on the inner self, our true nature, which is timeless spaciousness and knowingness itself. 

Fortunately, in Patañjali’s Yoga Sutra, the 2000-year-old text that defines yoga, we find solid advice on how to cultivate peace of mind. 

Come join Karen Lee in a deep dive into the practices for stabilizing and clearing the mind. This workshop will include a talk on the relevant yoga sutras, but more importantly will offer a series of practices to help you begin to access and develop the four great attitudes: friendliness, compassion, goodwill, and equanimity. The integrated transformational practices will include āsana, prānayāma, and meditation. Integrated practices are a specialty of the Viniyoga approach to yoga, pioneered by the lineage of Krishnamacharya, TKV Desikachar, and Gary Kraftsow.

A recording will be made available to all registrants for 72 hours following the workshop.

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The Zoom meeting link will be sent in your registration confirmation upon receipt of payment.
Please ensure you have it before the day of the workshop—check your junk/spam folder!

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Karen Lee states, “Yoga is the experience of being in this moment, right now, fully inhabiting this body-mind, creating a state of clarity from which we can act with authenticity, or at least have a moment before impulsive reactions set in. Cultivating presence, we relax about getting it or not getting it and surrender to the moment as it is.”

As owner of a yoga studio, Breathing Time Yoga, Karen is dedicated to creating a community and space for healing through yoga. Karen is an educator, teaching the students what they need to know to practice and how to match the practices to their unique needs and interests.

Karen has been studying Viniyoga since 1994 with Gary Kraftsow of the American Viniyoga Institute (AVI). She is an AVI Yoga Teacher (500-hr) and AVI Certified Yoga Therapist. Karen also holds an MAT from RISD.

Register Now

2020–2021 Workshops

November 14
Mudras: Empower

Your Practice and

Your Teaching
with Deirdre Breen

Mudras are a powerful tool of self-care that influence the expression of the doshas (kapha, pitta, and vata), the biological forces that govern the expression of nature’s five elements both within and around us. Experience the effect of mudras in a pranayama, meditation, and asana practice. 

December 12
Deep Listening:
Slow Flow Yoga

with Jillian Pransky

Join Jillian for a deep dive into the Sacred Pause, where we will weave together practices to harmonize our bodies, minds, and spirits in order return to our innate warmth, connectedness, and spaciousness. Taking time to prepare for the winter solstice and holiday season in this way can deepen your sense of wholeness and wellness throughout the season.

January 9
The Five Elements

in Yoga
with Colleen Breeckner

AUM arises from ether, ether in action is the air element; action creates friction and heat; through friction and heat arises light, followed by fire. Fire liquifies, creating vapor water; water then flows and becomes solid earth. Based on these principles, the body generates and creates, and it does so most effectively when in balance. Join Colleen to learn how to optimize asana sequencing with a combination of posture and breathwork to balance the five elements.

Bonus Workshop! 

January 30
Yoga for Everybody
with Dianne Bondy
Explore techniques to help adapt yoga asana to different body types. This workshop will look at the role of body image, race, diversity, wellness, and diet culture in yoga and will include an accessible asana practice, lecture, and time for Q&A. 

February 13
Beautiful Poses
with Judith Rose

March 13
Moving into Stillness:
An Afternoon of Meditation and Yoga

with Hunt Parr

April 10
Yoga and Bodymind Ballwork for Osteoarthritis
with Ellen Saltonstall

May 8
Kung Fu Yoga 

with Nina Crist

June 12
Practice to Empower Personal Possibilities
with Paula Heitzner

Unless stated otherwise, workshops are $45 members / $65 nonmembers in advance ($55 / $75 day of). 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.

From the September Workshop
with Cyndi Lee



My Path

by Karen Lee

I am now 63 years old. I first encountered yoga 50 years ago, when I was 13, at an ashram in West Philadelphia, where I learned simple āsana, pranayama, and mantra meditation. Yoga was a lifeline for the troubled teen that I was, living in a socially and politically turbulent era. Yoga steadied me and gave me an experience of my inner being that was beyond the scope of my experience as a severely traumatized child and helped counteract my wildly rebellious and reactive energy.

I lost the thread of yoga in my twenties as I tried to forge ahead into adulthood, with a career as an art teacher. Unfortunately, posttraumatic stress disorder derailed my life, and at age 32 I found myself unable to function, disabled, and in a deep state of disempowered and chaotic darkness. Fortunately the safety net caught me.

I came back to yoga at a local YMCA and slowly, very slowly, with yoga and other supports and tools, began to regain a sense of agency over my own being. Yoga allowed me to claim my body as my own, and learn the calming power of being present to the momentary experience of breath and body. Yoga breathed me back into life, and I was, as many other yogis, inspired to become a teacher and eventually a yoga therapist and yoga studio owner as a testament of gratitude. 

I found my primary teachers in Gary and Mirka Kraftsow of the American Viniyoga Institute, where I studied, ultimately completing their rigorous yoga therapist training program. Viniyoga has developed a robust model of how to create unique practices that meet the diverse needs of a wide array of yoga students. Studies in nondualist meditations and techniques, as well as Shamanic practices, have enriched my personal practice and teaching. 

My practice and teaching have evolved and grown through the various twists and turns that my life has taken. At times my practice has been primarily focused on āsana, at other times primarily on pranayama and meditation, according to my needs, abilities, and interests. What has kept me engaged is the simple curiosity to gently practice self-observation and discover, as best I can, my true nature.

For more information about Karen’s teaching offerings, visit breathingtimeyoga.com.

Yoga Q & A

Why Is Yoga Being Recognized and Valued as a Therapeutic Measure for Stress? 

This question is very important and relevant for these times—times that have very few, if any, comparisons with the current levels of escalating stress we are experiencing.Yoga is the ultimate technique for stress release. It is a wonderful way to love and nurture all aspects of who we are, reintroducing ourselves to the valuable practice of self-soothing.

The practice of yoga allows the whole body to pray and releases the natural, organic optimism of the body to permeate the now. Our body's health is very much affected by stress, whether the levels are high or low, and yoga brings balance to the mind and can modify our negative moods with meditation.

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 to share your thoughts!

Paula Heitzner, ERYT500, is a master yoga teacher. She has taught yoga for over 50 years and has trained many others in the time-honored principles, practices, and philosophy of yoga. The “teacher of teachers,” as she is called by her students, can be found at her studio at the New Age Center in Nyack. 

Learn more about Paula at nyackyogacenter.com.

Member Events 

YTA members (individuals and 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.


Online Yoga and Meditation Offerings

Devi Ma Yoga 
Prenatal, Sun & Wed; New Mom, Wed; & Women’s Yoga, Sat, by donation

Elisha Simpson/Crossover Yoga Project
Trauma-informed yoga & meditation. Wed, 6:30 pm, free.
Honoring Empowerment Virtual Fundraiser, Friday, 10/2, 7–9 p.m.

Gina Callender
Yin/Restorative, Mon, 7:30 pm; Meditation, Wed, 7:30-8:30 pm; Wed, Hatha yoga level 1, 5-6 p.m.

Iyengar Yoga Scarsdale
Asana, restorative, & pranayama via Zoom.

Lauri Nemetz/Wellness Bridge

Soul of Yoga 20-Hour Professional Anatomy Training with Leslie Kaminoff,  live-streamed, 10/26–30, $495, $50 off for YTA community with code YTA50.

PranaMoon Yoga at the Hat Factory
Zoom & outdoor classes, Mon-Sun, Bhakti pass, $10/class; Namaste pass, $6/class

Sacred Spirit Yoga & Healing Arts Center 
All-levels, with Chris Glover, Tues & Sat, 9:30-11 a.m., Tues, 10/20, 12-1:30 p.m., 

Wainwright House 
Yoga & movement classes, $10 members; $15 nonmembers; meditation classes, $5 

Willow Tree Yoga
All-level, Kundalini, stretch, & Vinyasa, outdoor & Zoom, $16

Shamani Yoga with Betsy and Charlene
Online classes,
$9, with 48-hour replay link 

Final Thoughts


Fate whispers to the warrior,

“You cannot withstand the storm.”

and the warrior whispers back,

“I am the storm.”


Yoga Teachers Association was created in 1979  by a small group of pioneering yoga teachers who saw the need for affordable and continuing education. Today, YTA continues as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to expanding learning opportunities for teachers and committed students in the Hudson Valley. We offer monthly workshops presented by the leading yoga teachers of our time for the benefit of the community. All are invited. Membership dues and additional contributions are deductible to the extent allowable by law.

 for individual membership
$75 for studio membership

 members / $65 nonmembers in advance
($55 and $75 at the door)

Board of Directors

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, E-RYT 200, RYT 500, CEP 

Terry Fiore Lavery, RYT

Newsletter Design & Layout
Lisa Sloane, MA, ERYT



Copyright © 2020 Yoga Teachers Association. All rights reserved.

Yoga Teachers Association • 21-39 Croton Lake Road • Katonah, NY 10536 • USA