January 2022 Newslette

Words of Welcome

Dear All, 

We are standing on the threshold of a New Year, and traditionally we are optimistic and enthusiastic about the changes we will make to create something better than ever. However, historically we’ve been there, done that.

With all that has happened in the world the past few years, we have experienced fear, anxiety, depression, illnesses, and all the fallout that came with the pandemic and political unrest. I suggest that we turn back to our practice of yoga to reestablish a healthier and firmer footing in life instead of making future resolutions built on our hopes and fantasies. A big part of our esoteric yoga philosophy is to practice and deal with what is, clearly and courageously. 

This becomes more apparent and viable as we embrace the principles of “the paradox of life” and its points of information and opportunities offered for self-fulfillment and growth. These can be the replacements needed for the conventional resolutions.

  1. We are wounded, each in our own way. Find the gifts that will always balance the shadows within, to lead to healings of restoration and resilience.
  2. The light of consciousness is within, not to take away our pain but to illuminate the path as we engage with life to strengthen, uplift, and deepen our appreciation and gratitude for these combinations of circumstances that move us toward transformation.
  3. Open to the universal energy awakening your personal elevated spirit, mood, and motivation. Become more self-accepting instead of judgmental, disappointed, and stuck so as not to make a mistake. Our best lessons are learned from our biggest mistakes!
  4. The paradox of a yoga practice teaches that we cannot fix or control anything, but we need to engage and embrace fully what we would like changed, reap the rewards that present themselves by this action, and find new ways and solutions to fully embody your different life. This is the karmic path to personal wisdom, our greatest journey!

On this journey, join YTA, the second Saturday of each month. Make this choice to further your personal support toward “a new view in ‘22”! May this year bring peace and light to the planet and all beings.

Yours in yoga,
Paula Renuka Heitzner

2022 Workshops 

Saturday, January 8
1:30–4:30 p.m.

via Zoom


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

with Al Bingham

The yogic concept of being a body encompasses three interpenetrating dimensions: the physical, the subtle and the causal. The intention of our asana practice is to use the physical body to access and affect the other two.  

In the yoga model, the causal body stores our habits and patterns; the subtle body bridges the causal and the physical bodies and directs the physical, and the physical body provides a vehicle for our engagement with the world.

Western anatomy recognizes the joints of our physical body as spaces between one or more bones; a yoga lens sees those spaces as pools of prana and therefore, gateways to the subtle body.

So let’s dive into those spaces!

Our PostureTweak approach will progress joint-by-joint, starting with the feet and making our way on up to experience directly the gifts each joint/joint complex offers. Our invitation—in both our joint-by-joint exploration and in our integrated practice—will be to notice and appreciate our current capacities; through that, we will encourage our deeper potential to come forward.

Recommended Props: 
two yoga blocks, a chair or similar support (if needed), and a meditation cushion.

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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Al Bingham founded Encourage in 2013. He has been teaching yoga since 1995. Al has coauthored two books published by Random House, has been featured on the Yoga Zone DVDs, and develops yoga classes and programs for yoga studios, clinical settings and corporate environments. Al received his yoga training though Alan Finger (Yoga Zone) and Gary Kraftsow (American Viniyoga Institute). Al is also a 2011 Fellow of Applied Functional Science via the Gray Institute and a 1992 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, Al studies with the senior faculty of the Himalayan Institute and is a Certified Vishoka Meditation® teacher. Al and his family live in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. 

    Register Now

    Future Workshops

      Free Workshop  shop!

    January 29     Via Zoom   

    Trauma-Conscious Yoga and Yoga Unify Talk

    with Judy Weaver and

    Ravi Singh 

    Join long-time teachers Ravi Singh and Judy Weaver for this inspiring workshop and discussion. Trauma is trending in the wake of the pandemic's collective upheaval. Ravi and Judy will provide powerful but eminently doable techniques to turn trauma into the high drama of personal and collective transformation. Ravi and Judy are alsoncofounders of Yoga Unify, a new nonprofit dedicated to preserving the traditions and stewarding the forward evolution of yoga, and they will discuss how Yoga Unify is upleveling the yoga profession.

    Register now!

    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 coming soon!

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

    These past years have been unusually stressful because of the changes in our basic life routines that affect our immune strength, hormonal balance, and adrenal resilience. 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 12

    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 December Workshop
    Jovinna Chan



    The Evolution of

    by Al Bingham

    I hated my first yoga class.

    Almost 30 years ago, in a small Upper West Side studio, I was one of three people attending class and the only one who was both new to the practice of yoga and who also didn’t know the others in the room. Not only did I feel like an outsider, I also felt like a stranger to my body and unsure of how to establish the relationship with it that the instructor was suggesting.

    And yet, somehow, something inside encouraged me to give the practice of yoga another shot—elsewhere and with a friend, the next time.

    And thus my yoga journey has continued onward from there. 

    In the time since, my studies, practice, and orientation to teaching have been informed by my takeaways from that first class. I continually reflect on what it means to be welcoming and to be as clear as I can when offering fellow students a path inward. Simultaneously, I have tried to remain aware that, in the end, what leads a person forward is something beyond me.

    Though I have enhanced my body awareness over time, my early struggles with asana have felt like a gift that keeps on giving, as it continually allows me to relate to others who feel similarly challenged to embrace their structural norms and/or their still-refining sensorimotor awareness.

    Long ago, I let go of the need to “present” perfect form; I was quick to embrace instruction to feel the breath and the experience of moving from the inside out, without regard to how you looked. And yet, when I first began to orient my teaching toward encouraging people to move freely and confidently and to take whatever liberties they needed to do that, it was with the orientation to make things better or at least not so bad. Within that “fix-it” approach was a resistance to embrace what now was offering. I hope that my current approach skews more toward inviting discovery and exploration.

    The PostureTweak orientation that I bring to asana has its origins in the Viniyoga teachings (I completed my 500-hour training with Gary Kraftsow) and in the fellowship I completed in Applied Functional Science with Drs. Gary Gray and David Tiberio at the Gray Institute. Subsequent studies with senior faculty at the Himalayan Institute have refined this approach even further. 

    Among the many powerful takeaways from my time at the Gray Institute was the encouragement to ask each joint/complex what it needed and what it liked to do in order to be successful. On the one hand, taking up that joint-by-joint conversation has shifted my sensorimotor awareness and facilitated greater stability and ease in how I experience my body, but more than that, it has refined my appreciation for the energy (prana) within those joint spaces and of the broader space that holds me. 

    At the Gray Institute, I was surrounded by physical therapists, strength and conditioning coaches, and athletic trainers whose bread and butter was working with professional and high-performing college athletes. For these elites, refining their awareness of how the subtalar joint functioned (which is the space between the saddle-like bone called the talus and the horse it rides on, the heel bone, or the calcaneus) was the difference between their patient, client, or athlete successfully refining their golf swing, their cut to the basket, or their curve ball or how they lifted their grandchild…or not.  

    And, of course, all of those are wonderful objectives. And yet, to this day, Gary still marvels that what drives my interest in his work isn’t its ability to stretch or workout my students in smarter ways, but rather, that I’ve found in it, a pathway to something both incredibly subtle and also deeply profound.

    I am honored for the chance to share this approach with you. Our experience will consist of both a joint-by-joint exploration in which we ask our joints what they need and what they like and also a practice that integrates some takeaways from that investigation. There will be time for your reflections and questions, too. And naturally, we will begin with “hello… and welcome.”

    To learn more about Al, visit encourageyoga.com.

    Yoga Q & A

    How can you access the relief promised from your yoga practice?

    You can absolutely get the relief you are craving even when you are in a state of negative moodiness, fatigue, and frustration! Isn’t the synchronicity orchestrated by the Universe amazing? My letter this month at the beginning of this newsletter may offer you some answers you can adopt into your practice to help reset your mindset. 

    I have 3 statements that I hold sacred and will share them with you. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the Yogi who penned them:

    1. Yoga is a wonderful way to love and nurture all aspects of who we are.
    2. Yoga is the ultimate technique for stress release.
    3. Practicing yoga allows the whole body to pray.

    I would like to also share my new born mantra: “A new view for ‘22!” Happiness and contentment are skills, and like any skill, they need to be practiced!

    This section is dedicated to answering your questions about yoga—as a student or as a teacher. Questions? Comments? Send them to yta_editor@ytayoga.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, the Nyack Yoga Center, in its new location at the American Legion Hall. 

    Learn more about Paula at nyackyogacenter.com.

    Member Classes and Events 

    YTA members (individuals and studios) are invited to include their events here. Send details to yta_editor@ytayoga.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 yta_communications@gmail.com.


    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.

    Lauri Nemetz, MA, BC-DMT, ERYT500, CIAYT, YA and CIAYT Provider

    Monday night via Zoom, 5-6 p.m.: Monthly The Practice (for teachers) first Thursday of the month (Jan 6) 1-2:30 p.m. via Zoom: Privates. wellnessbridge.com for info.

    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 a.m.; Saturdays, intermediate yoga, 9:15-10:30 a.m., beginner yoga, 10:45 a.m.-12 noon with Kathleen Hinge. New Year's Day Special Event with Kathleen Hinge (live-streamed only): All-levels yoga, Saturday, Jan 1, 10:30 a.m.-12 noon, $20. Register online.

    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 at NYSC; if not a member, there is a fee).

    Final Thoughts

    Yoga is the dance of every cell

    with the music of every breath

    that creates inner serenity and harmony.

    ~Debasish Mridha

    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



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