December 2021 Newslette

Words of Welcome

Dear All, 

We are in the midst of the holiday season; Halloween and Thanksgiving memories are put aside as Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza, and the new year approach. Hopefully, these will bring, along with material gifts, light and joy to us all as we move forward into the unknown future. We can use the gifts of our yoga practice to secure the feelings of safety and stability and to stimulate the strength, confidence, and courage to move forward as we prepare to welcome 2022. 

Consistent with our sound, sincere, and inherent practice of yoga, we can come to realize the important impact of the gifts we receive personally and, in turn, give to those whose lives we touch. As we ground and align physically with self-empowerment, we also discover the quality of compassion needed to reshape attributes, attitudes, and outlooks that promote trust, faith, and openness in the skills of communication and relationship-building. As we listen to one another with kindness, we promote the vulnerability that clears defensiveness and encourages “conversations of the heart.” When this occurs, pathways and portals open to lead all so engaged into a better state of health and well-being—the way to disarm fear.

Traditionally, we also begin to think about making our resolutions to begin the new year. A wise choice would be to commit to joining the YTA, attending the monthly workshops, and adding additional conscious awareness to your life through yoga.

Peace to all on the planet. Light to all in the universe.

Yours in yoga,
Paula Renuka Heitzner

2021–22 Workshops 

Saturday, December 11
1:30–4:30 p.m.

via Zoom

The Sadhana of Love
with Jovinna Chan

“Do you know how to love?” Dr. Satya Narayana Dasia, a renowned yoga master, asked the class at a dharma talk Jovinna Chan was attending at Kripalu on the practice of love. Hearing his question was a light bulb moment for her. She realized that on the path of self realization, it is important and necessary to keep asking questions. Asking questions and contemplating them has helped to turn her mind around and look at the same thing from as many different points of view as possible.

This time of great change and unknown presents an urgent opportunity to dive deeper into the teachings of love. 

The goal of this workshop is to create a sacred space for a sangha (community of truth seekers) to come together using the subject of love as the thread. During our time together, may we gain wisdom on what love is and muster our courage to look closer at where we misplace our trust in love and mistaken views on love.

Here's what you can expect from this workshop:

  • A short gentle yoga practice in the lineage of Kripalu Yoga
  • A short dharma talk by Jovinna
  • Small group discussion and reflection

A short e-course will be included in your registration confirmation.
After you take it, please come up with your question on Love, contemplate it, and prepare to share your reflection when we see other live via Zoom.

For those interested in learning more about love, Jovinna recommends Thich Nhat Hanh's book, True Love.

Recommended Props:
a blanket, cushion, journal, and a pen or pencil.

A recording will be made available to registrants for two weeks following the workshop.

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The Zoom meeting link will be sent automatically in the registration confirmation upon receipt of payment.

Please ensure you have the link well before the start of the workshop—check your junk/spam folder!

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Jovinna ChanE-RYT® 500, YACEP®, a well-respected teacher of yoga, conscious dance, and self-expression, leads transformational programs around the world that explore human potential in being fully alive, creativity, and love through yoga, meditation, conscious dance, and awareness practices. She has served as the Assistant Dean and 200- and 500-hour teacher trainer for the Kripalu School of Yoga. She is a co-creator of The Yoga of Yes, Dance into Joy, and Shakti Initiation Women Yoga Leadership training and a co-founder of Pranotthan School of Yoga. Jovinna is a certified Soul Motion™ and LetYourYogaDance teacher. For more info, please visit

    Register Now

    Future Workshops

    January 8    Via Zoom     
    A Joint-by-Joint Approach to Accessing the Subtle Body and Tapping into the Mind’s Spaciousness 

    with Al Bingham

    Stiff joints contribute to an inner feeling of discomfort and unease. And yet, have you experienced how refreshed you feel after a few simple stretches? What if you had a systematic, joint-by-joint, way of working through the body? By freeing up your joints’ potential, you will gain access to the more subtle—and more spacious—aspects of who you are.
    Read more!

    Bonus Workshop!  

    January 29     Via Zoom  

    Trauma-Conscious Yoga and Yoga Unify Talk

    with Judy Weaver and

    Ravi Singh 

    Join Ravi and Judy as they provide powerful but eminently doable techniques to turn trauma into the high drama of personal and collective transformation. Ravi and Judy are co-founders of Yoga Unify, a new non-profit dedicated to preserving the traditions and stewarding the forward evolution of yoga. They will discuss how Yoga Unify is unleveling the yoga profession.

    February 12     Via Zoom  

    Yin Yoga for Endurance and Resilience in Times of 

    Loss and Grief

    with Shradda Hilda Oropeza

    Endurance and resilience go hand in hand and bring both strength and lightness to our lives. It may take endurance to stay with discomfort to find the best solution to whatever challenges are present; resilience gives us the heart to do so. This workshop offering will include a presentation about grief and a soothing yin practice for honoring mind, body, and heart.

    March 12
    Krama: Creating Sacred Connections for Practice Through Order

    and Sequencing
    with Carla Stangenberg

    More Information to come!

    April 9
    The Dowel as a Tool for Alignment and Support: Working with a Neutral Spine 
    Alison West

    Alison will share how to exploit the dowel as a tool that provides alignment insight, physical support, and challenge, sensory and visual feedback, limb extension, and more. Working with a neutral spine is valuable in the presence of spinal conditions, but it is also an invaluable alignment tool that we often struggle to master.

    May 14
    Yoga and Lifestyle Practices for Hormonal and Immune Health, Vitality, and Well-Being 
    with Jeff Migdow

    In this workshop we will explore and experience yoga practices that will help us optimize our immune responses, rebalance our hormones, and recharge our adrenals, allowing us to come to optimal health, stability, and clarity.

    June 11
    Dharma: Finding Your Place in the Order

    of Things 

    with Stephen Cope

    Based on the book The

    Great Work of Your Life

    More Information to come!

    Unless otherwise stated, workshops are $45 members / $65 nonmembers in advance ($55 / $75 day of) and count toward Yoga Alliance certification requirements. 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 YTA's November Workshop
    Luke Ketterhagen



                   My Yoga Journey

    by Jovinna Chan

    The human shape is a ghost made of distraction and pain. 

    Sometimes pure light, sometimes cruel, trying wildly to open,

    this image tightly held within itself. 


    My yoga journey got real the day I declared there was no purpose in life. It was sometime in December of 2006 and I was at the lowest of the lowest. Depression wrapped its tentacles tightly around me, and I couldn’t pull myself out, so I gave in and caved in. It was my dark night of the soul.  Earlier that year, I had graduated from yoga teacher training at Kripalu. I had thought being a yoga teacher would provide some financial stability to support myself as a performing artist, but I was wrong. The glory and inspiration I felt at the end of the training did not survive the harshness and hopelessness I felt about my life in New York City. My marriage was failing and so was my career as a performing artist.

    One night I woke up from a nightmare and couldn’t go back to sleep. I sat in bed despondent. My will to keep my marriage and career going finally collapsed and dissolved. It was like a magic show; it went poof and disappeared.

    In April 2007, I got an opportunity to move to Kripalu as an intern to become a yoga teacher trainer. I took the position not because that was my dream but because I just needed a ticket out of NYC. Little did I know that living at Kripalu and throwing myself into selfless service would ultimately save my life and sanity. I experienced much mercy and grace from the Divine in the eight years I spent there. Swami Kripalu’s teachings were the balm that nurtured my broken Soul and brought my Spirit back to wholeness.

    Life at the Kripalu Center was full of magic and wonder. I was very lucky to work with many incredible senior teachers and staff to deliver the Kripalu experience. We worked hard, studied hard, and laughed equally hard as we built conscious and loving relationships with each other. I think one of the most striking experiences during my time at Kripalu was being able to bear witness to how devotion to love, selfless service, and sangha gradually lifted me out of my depression. It took years, but I was finally able to swim side by side with depression instead of drowning in it.

    There are five teachings that drastically altered my life and consciousness:  

    1.  The value of self-observation with compassion

    2.  The inquiry process

    3.  Building trust in relationships

    4.  Satya—truthfulness

    5.  The path of love

    Over time, these teachings became my values and building blocks as I developed the skills to transform my own suffering into precious gems of wisdom. The path of love has a special place in my heart. I remember one afternoon while I was walking in Babuji’s Garden at the Kripalu Center, I felt an immense feeling of openness and an acute clarity in vision and mind. Suddenly time stopped and I was overcome with an overwhelming sense of unconditional love. I kneeled and cried.

    Weeks later, I met Dr. Satya Narayana Dasia, a renowned yoga master, and sat in one of his dharma talks on the practice of love. He asked the class, “Do you know how to love?” Hearing his question was a light bulb moment for me. I realized I didn’t really know how to love. And I finally understood that on the path of self-realization, it is important and necessary to keep asking questions. Asking questions got me out of spiritual complacency and the mindless regurgitation of spiritual teachings.

    Over the years, my yoga journey has taken me to many depths and heights. I have grown so much, and I attribute much of my successful relationships to these values that I adopted from my days at Kripalu. Above all, the subject of love became a forefront inquiry for me. Learning about love and how to love have been so humbling. And after 14 years of inquiry, I am still just scratching the surface. Love is as vast as the sky and ocean, and as mysterious as the night and the moon. I strongly believe love is the answer to our divides. I invite you to deeply inquire into love. I shall leave you with this question from the book, True Love, by Thich Nhat Hanh.

    Do you have time to love?

    To learn more about Jovinna, visit

    Yoga Q & A

    Should general classes take in account differences in abilities?

    Absolutely! In the practice of yoga it is not necessary to build a class for special needs and their limitations. No two bodies are alike, and it is up to students to start the conversation. With information and possible insights from the instructor, students can use this information to further their own progress. Function creates form and vice-versa. Any and every correction can be a source of information for all in the room. 

    It highlights two important practice principles: adapt and adjust. Keep in mind the acronym for asanaAs Anatomy Allows. This is  a reminder not to use force and damaging efforts to keep up with the dictates of the mind and ego.

    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 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, the Nyack Yoga Center, in its new location at the American Legion Hall. 

    Learn more about Paula at

    Member Classes and Events 

    YTA members (individuals and 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


    Carolyn Iannone, RYT-200
    Free weekly gentle yoga via Zoom with the “queen of gentle yoga” (as dubbed by her students). Register at Finkelstein Library (Spring Valley) for Monday classes at 5:50 p.m. and at Pearl River Library for Thursday classes at 5:50 p.m.

    Elisha Simpson
    Pathways to Healing Through Body-Centered Practices, led by Eiisha Simpson, LMSW, ERYT; Anna Moore, LMSW, and Erica Fross, LCSW, PC, our trauma-informed yoga teacher training offers resources, instruction, and understanding of how trauma impacts us, offering therapeutic interventions assist in finding stability. Self-paced, online course. 

    Gina Callender
    Yin/Restorative, Mondays, 7 p.m.; Open-level Hatha yoga,
    Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m., via Zoom.

    Iyengar Yoga Scarsdale

    Nancy Kardon, certified Iyengar yoga teacher, offers small hybrid classes in studio for fully vaccinated people and on Zoom, Tuesday-Saturday mornings and early evenings. Call 914-629-1994 for info. 

    Jenny Schuck
    Join former owner of Yoga Culture in intermediate and advanced classes with mix of vinyasa and held poses, plus bodywork and ball rolling, on demand on Vimeo; $10/class.

    Paula Heitzner
    Mixed-level yoga with the “teacher of teachers,” M-Th, 9:30–11 a.m, American Legion Hall, Nyack.

    Sacred Spirit Yoga and Healing Arts Center

    In-person and live-streamed: Tuesdays, moderate yoga; Fridays, gentle/moderate yoga, with Chris Glover, 9:30-11; Saturdays, intermediate yoga, 9:15-10:30 a.m., beginner yoga, 11:00-12:15 a.m. with Kathleen Hinge. Winter Solstice Sound Bath with Julie Panek-Harris, in-person Saturday, December 18, 4-5:30 p.m. Healing, energizing sounds of Himalayan bowls, crystal bowls, gong, and other instruments to harmonize body, mind, and spirit, restore your natural energy balance, calming and recalibrating the nervous system. Limited attendance, $30. 

    Shamani Yoga

    Meditation~Movement~Breath~Self-Reflection; online and in-person classes for all levels with Charlene Bradin and Betsy Ceva.

    Sylvia Samilton-Baker, MA, ERYT
    Vinyasa yoga, Thursdays, 8 p.m.; Hatha yoga, Saturdays 10:00 a.m., both via Zoom. Vinyasa yoga, Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m., NYSC/Dobbs Ferry (register online; if not a member, there is a fee).

    Final Thoughts


    The Peace of Wild Things

    by Wendell Berry

    When despair for the world grows in me

    and I wake in the night at the least sound

    in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, 

    I go and lie down where the wood drake

    rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

    I come into the peace of wild things

    who do not tax their lives with forethought

    of grief. I come into the presence  of still water. 

    And I feel above me the day-blind stars

    waiting with their light. For a time

    I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

    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 day of)

    Board of Directors

    Lorraine Burton

    Susan Edwards Colson

    Membership Chair

    Jenny Schuck

    Programming Chair

    Gina Callender, E-RYT 200, RYT 500, CEP

    Interim Secretary

    Robin Laufer, MS Ed, RYT 500

    Marketing and Communications Chair

    Cassie Cartaginese, RYT

    Terry Fiore Lavery, RYT

    Lisa Sloane, MA, ERYT

    Board Member at Large
    Paula Heitzner, ERY


    Copyright © 2021 Yoga Teachers Association. All rights reserved.

    Yoga Teachers Association • 18 Derby Lane • Ossining, NY 10562 • USA