February 2022 Newslette

Words of Welcome

Dear All, 

The month of February is the shortest month in the calendar, and one of the darkest. It is the month that promotes the most advantageous conditions to explore the deep and dark within while seeking the light without.

We are so used to—and take for granted—Mr. Thomas Edison's gift of the light bulb that we no longer remember the candles that glowed to dispel the darkness. Today, we can explore "the light," and its meaning in all arenas of our being, as it opens us to new awarenesses, possibilities, outcomes, and conclusions. Consistent with the philosophies of our yoga practice, we are advised how and urged to make the most of "the light."

Travel light by letting go of old hurts, grudges, and scripts. Transform the wounds into wisdom. Let's check in as well to determine whether we are weighed down by possessions and responsibilities.

Live in the light that will allow us to face the darkness and to feel deeply in order to release the life force allowing us to flow. Let this inner illumination bring to light the negative internal dialogues, the self-criticism, and the judgmental attitudes supporting perfectionism. 

Spread light to help others and share the gifts of grace we were blessed with by our practice of yoga.

Be the light and bring joy and fulfillment to those around you. As if you were a beacon of light, help to create safety by highlighting the bumps in the road and the detours that should be avoided and the choices that offer protection and peace. 

We can also recharge, within and without, by taking advantage of the workshops led by knowledgeable leaders in the world of yoga. YTA offers these presentations every month on the second Saturday via Zoom. Join us and let's shine together!

    Yours in yoga,
    Paula Renuka Heitzner

    2022 Workshops 

    Saturday, February 12
    1:30–4:30 p.m.

    via Zoom

    Yin Yoga for Endurance and Resilience During

    Times of Loss and Grief

    with Shraddha Hilda Oropeza

    Our job isn’t to endure and get through grief. What if we see it as a sacred time—something vital to our soul.

    —Francis Weller

    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.

    In this workshop, Shraddha Hilda Oropeza will share a presentation of the five gates of grief as offered in The Wild Edge of Sorrows by Francis Weller, followed by a slow, soothing Yin Yoga practice focused on the lungs. In traditional Chinese medicine, this organ is believed to be connected to grief, sadness, and detachment.

    Additionally, Shradda will share thoughts about why it’s important to make space to grieve and rituals to acknowledge grief.
  Now is the time to settle into a quiet and deeper space within. Now is the time to notice what we are holding in our hearts…and to grieve together.

    Recommended Props: a journal, candle, two to three yoga blocks, two blankets, and an eye pillow.

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

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    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!

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Shraddha Hilda Oropeza founded the Mindful Yoga Studio in 2012 to offer a safe space for students to explore, heal, and transform their bodies and their lives. She guides students in a rhythm that allows them to move in harmony with their breath and stay open to the moment. Shraddha has been teaching since 2005 and has more than 3,000 hours of teaching experience. She has a 500-hour Healing Emphasis Yoga certification and is trained in Yoga for Cancer Survivors, Mindfulness Yoga & Meditation, Yin, Restorative, and Hatha Yoga.  She was born in Sonora, Mexico, and has lived most of her life in Tucson. She is bilingual and has a Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree in Organizational Management. Shraddha is currently enrolled in the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine Wellness Coaching program. She is a certified craniosacral therapist. 

      Register Now

      Future Workshops

      March 12

      Krama: Creating Sacred Connections for Practice Through Order

      and Sequencing
      with Carla Stangenberg

      Confused about how to generate dynamic sequences? In our time together we will tap our curiosity to explore how to create great krama for the classes you teach and for your personal practice. 

      Learn more!

      April 9

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

      Learn 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 11

      REST—Reclaim, Embellish, Sustain, Transform

      with Paul Renuka Heitzner
      Join Paula to experience how the world crisis has led us into a practice effective in reaching the body at its deepest levels to receive its organic teachings, a practice that empowers the body, mind and spirit as we open completely to our inner being. Our practice can help us fight the COVID chaos and confusion as we gain and sustain our strength and endurance to maintain our safety, health, and productivity.

      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 January Workshop
      Al Bingham



                 My Path to Yoga

      by Shraddha Hilda Oropeza

      Smile, breathe and go slowly.

      Thich Nhat Hanh

      Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh’s simple, direct guidance for meditation—for life, really—has shed light on the path from my introduction to yoga to the present. That introduction came in 2000, a transitional year in my life for which I was seeking solace, peace, and meaning. In other words, I needed to breathe and go slowly. What began as a way to shift my energy and find solid ground has evolved into a holistic lifestyle.

      I started practicing by watching Rodney Yee on VHS tapes in my living room. I moved through periods of Bikram and Iyengar practices in studios on both U.S. coasts. Returning to Tucson, Arizona, where I grew up, I studied the Hatha yoga tradition in the lineage of Paramahansa Yogananda, earning my 200-hour certification to begin teaching in 2005, followed by a 100-hour mindfulness meditation training.

      I found my yoga voice offering the Eight Limbs of Yoga at Mindful Yoga Studio in Tucson. I smiled, took a deep breath, and went slowly into entrepreneurship, opening Mindful Yoga just under 10 years ago as the only Latina-owned yoga refuge in Tucson.

      Around the same time, I studied for and took the Buddhist precepts, adopting the Dharma name Shraddha, which in Sanskrit means deep trust and faith. Going from teaching at other studios to opening my own studio was, indeed, a leap of trust and faith.

      The foundation of my yoga practice and teaching informs my studio and my teachers to offer a safe space for students to explore, heal, and transform their bodies and their lives. I guide students in a rhythm that allows them to move in harmony with their breath and to stay open to the moment. The focus is always on mindfully honoring the body and clearing the mind and heart for whatever comes along on the mat, and more importantly, off the mat.

      As the Mindful Yoga Sangha grew over the years, so did my practice, my sense of confidence in teaching ability, and a desire to expand into the larger realm of wellness. I undertook studying with teachers close to yoga’s origins, including Ganesh Mohan, a physician and Ayurvedic practitioner who directs Svastha Yoga Therapy and Teacher Training programs, and Saraswati Vasudevan, founder of YogaVahini Training, Therapy, and Research Center in Chennai, India. In 2016, I earned the 500-hour Healing Emphasis Yoga certification offered by Inner Vision Yoga in Phoenix, Arizona, and began specializing in yoga for cancer survivors, for first responders, for grieving, and for overall healing–physically, emotionally, and mentally.

      As part of my goal of offering holistic health and wellness to the community, I earned a certification with the Integrative Health & Lifestyle Program at the University of Arizona’s Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine and a certification in craniosacral therapy, both in 2019.

      All the while, Mindful Yoga Studio grew, surpassing 1,000 yoga and wellness visits a month with more than 100 classes, workshops, and private sessions in 2019. We offered a yoga teacher training, attracting 12 yogis for the 200-hour certified program. My practice and my business were graced with great blessings.

      Then came the pandemic…. Smile, breathe, and go slowly.

      We closed Mindful Yoga’s physical space, and I found myself back where I started yoga—in my living room—this time offering classes via Zoom. The generosity of friends offering first one vacant commercial space and then another allowed us to reopen for small classes of socially distanced yogis. At its peak, Mindful Yoga attracted up to two dozen students to a class. Now, we are limited to eight yogis in person while offering the classes live via Zoom for those who choose to practice at home.

      The revelation is that smaller classes offer an intimacy that helps create a more individualized practice. By my observation, that has helped our students to deepen their practice in a time when they are grieving personal losses and an overall loss of normalcy in life. Yoga’s focus on transformation of inner self is at the root of processing grief, and my students and I are doing that processing one asana practice, one meditation, one moment at a time.

      Smile, breathe, and go slowly.

      To learn more about Shraddha Hilda, visit mindfulyogatucson.com.

      Yoga Q & A

      Yoga for Trauma?

      Definitely! Trauma is not selective and can appear in every part of our being, emotionally and physically. 

      If the trauma is based on emotional abuse, it can be assuaged by the gentle breathing practices able to calm and quiet the spirit. Yoga can further ease the pain with its teachings that guide us to self-acceptance and ultimately to the self-empowerment able to stop emotional torment and self-abasement.  

      In the case of physical trauma, the yoga modalities of asana and organic physical alignments can reclaim the injured part and restore healthy function and strength to what was damaged.

      The spiritual aspect of yoga, faith and trust, is always available for healing whenever and wherever needed and continues to be of value for future and further maintenance.

      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 through Finkelstein Library (Spring Valley) for Monday classes at 6 p.m. and through Pearl River Library for Thursday classes at 6 p.m. Private sessions also available.

      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.

      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 additional 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. 

      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, 5 p.m.; Hatha yoga, Mondays, 5:00 p.m., both via Zoom. The Zoom classes will change effective February. Vinyasa yoga, Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m., NYSC/Dobbs Ferry (register online at NYSC; if not a member, there is a fee).

      Final Thoughts

      Do not be hardened by the pain 
      and cruelty of this world. 
      Be strong enough to be gentle, 

      to be soft and supple like running water, 
      gracefully bending around sudden turns, 
      lithely waving in strong winds, 
      freely flowing over sharp rocks, 
      all the while quietly sculpting 
      this hard world into ever deeper beauty, 
      gently eroding rigid rock into silken sand,
      tenderly transforming human cruelty 
      into human kindness. 
      Remember, true strength is not found in the stone, 
      but in the water that shapes the stone.

      L. R. Knost

      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