September 2022 Newsletter

Words of Welcome

Dear All, 

This month resumes the YTA workshops for the 2022–23 season. Summer ends and fall begins, highlighting Mother Nature’s respite from growth and rejuvenation, resting in order to insure future regeneration. Paradoxically, the need to balance expansion and contraction, one strength taught by yoga, is marked by the full blooming and growing of our return to activities to continue development and learning (expansion) as Nature rests (contraction).

The push and pull of life these last few years have presented a challenge to the optimism and eagerness to move forward we’ve experienced in the past. Fatigue is  thwarting our zeal to flourish! This is a greater tragedy for our being than any of the unbearable and tragic consequences inflicted upon us by the pandemic, or the unrest and unrestrained behaviors of the populace, over which we have no control.

We do, however, have the personal resources and strengths at our disposal, with the teachings of our yoga legacy, to create a “balance.” If we are willing, we can take steps into the dark unknown to face our pain, grief, and vulnerability, to stand on our own two feet, grounded to receive the energy of the strong Earth. 

With the courage engendered by our practice, we can move into the inner darkness of fear to find the light. This light guides us to the universal energy that heals fear’s erosive effect on body, mind, and spirit! 

Yoga is “union.” We can and must restore the inner peace, tranquility, and joy inspired and mandated by the union of the “bones” (structure), “breath” (fuel), and “brain”(control center).

It is a known truth that like minds kindle strength, motivation, and security at every level of being. Support yourself in wellness beginning this September by committing to partake in the monthly YTA workshops. Be with a like-minded community.

Yours in yoga,

Paula Renuka Heitzner

2022 Workshops 

Saturday, September 10
1:30–4:30 p.m.

in person & via Zoom

Yoga Pedagogy
Dogma, Somatics, and the Language of Empowerment

with J. Brown

A paradigm shift is taking place and the process of  teaching and learning yoga is changing as a result. 

Many teachers who began their study of yoga before it  became mainstream were exposed to a very different  experience of learning yoga compared to those who  discovered it after the advent of the internet and the fitness orientation that became predominant. Also, many of the guru traditions have fallen into some ill repute with revelations of abuse and misgivings. Reconciling the benefits of learning in more traditional ways with the scandals that have befallen them has been a challenge. 

In working through these changes, many have turned to other somatic movement modalities and resources. Some of these systems offer new language and insights that encourage less dogma and more individual empowerment.  

Nonetheless, for many others, something about yoga  remains unique. Exploring how other movement modalities, and different philosophical viewpoints, might be  incorporated into yoga instruction is leading to new pedagogy and teacher/student relationship dynamics.  

In this workshop, we will have a gentle practice that  incorporates some of these new ideas and language, and  engage in some discussion around the experience of the participants. 

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

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J. Brown is a yoga teacher, podcaster, and writer living in  Easton, Pennsylvania. He has been challenging the  boundaries of conversation in the yoga world for the last  20+ years, first through his blog and then through his industry-leading podcast, J. Brown Yoga Talks. He  currently facilitates weekly live classes and discussions, as well as more in-depth training in the contemplative and  transformative aspects of yoga practice. 

    Register In-Person ONLY
    Register Zoom ONLY

    For those participating via Zoom, the 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. We cannot ensure technical help the day of the workshop.

    Fall 2022 Workshops

    October 8   via Zoom  
    Yoga Nidra: Guided Relaxation for Healing

    with Nya Patrinos

    What is Yoga Nidra and what are its therapeutic properties? Nya will lead us in an 8-stage yoga nidra practice; we will conclude by sharing how the practice landed in our individual bodies. Learn more and register now!

    November 12   via Zoom  
    The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita with Devarshi Steven Hartman

    The Bhagavad Gita is the quintessential text on yoga--not Hatha yoga, the yoga of postures--but Bhakti yoga, the yoga of love. All yoga practices rest on the foundation of this fearless love and how to attain it, set forth in this scripture. All interested yogis and yoga teachers should be familiar with its origins and essential teachings. Join us for a very rabble-rousing, and possibly life-altering, conversation. 

    December 10   via Zoom  
    Introduction to Gentle Somatic Yoga®—Repattern Muscles from Head to Toe

    with James Knight

    Explore this innovative method that combines Hatha Yoga, Hanna Somatic Education, Core Energetics, pranayama, quantum physics, and healing meditations. Learn how to address the root cause of muscular pain through therapeutic and corrective sequences called Somatic Movement Flows®. These flows can significantly improve flexibility, strength, posture, and freedom in everyday movement.

    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 June Workshop 
    Paula Heitzner



    Yoga and the New Discipline

    by J. Brown

    The novelty of yoga has been worn down to almost nothing by a multi-billion dollar industry that cares little for its tenets, like the crumbling shreds of a shoddily made pvc mat from China. But from out of the ashes of craven images and advertising schemes, a new discipline is emerging.

    Early on, just as the nineties boom happened, I found my way into a niche that challenged some of the conventional wisdom that became standard in yoga classes. As the years have gone on and the industry has grown, a lot of that conventional wisdom I was originally pushing up against has been morphed by standardized teaching methods and data-driven business models. In the absence of the old rubrics by which yoga was once gauged, alternate criteria for teaching and learning yoga are being adopted.

    Questioning power dynamics, inclusivity, and safety is the new normal.

    Never before have I seen so much “bottom-up” sort of change in yoga. There was a time when protocols all came from the masters atop the disciple pyramid. And while some maintain that this dissolution of the original hierarchy of transmitters is where yoga has gone wrong, the fact remains that the majority of teachers are no longer looking for answers from on high. Credibility is no longer something bestowed upon you but is instead determined by the work you do and the inclinations of the yoga-going consumer.

    Also, decades or more of sticking to unexamined directives and their related injuries have caused many to become disillusioned with the bill of goods we were once sold. Pain tends to be more convincing than the power of myth. And while those images of Tao Porchon-Lynch doing unbelievable poses at age 98 are still amazing, the three hip replacements she’s had along the way are seemingly more relevant than ever. Now that yoga has become so firmly codified as the emblem of a healthy lifestyle, the determination of its efficacy is being more thoroughly weighed against people’s actual experience and the rigors of science.

    Teachers are expected to make students feel safe in ways that early innovators were not concerned with. Even those who consider this trend to be a detrimental form of political correctness are still having to make adjustments to protect themselves in the new climate. Of course, this is greatly complicated by the advent and predominance of social media, which has created new avenues for obfuscation and garnering market share.

    Students are coming to yoga with an entirely different set of filters than previous generations.

    Average newbee yoga attendees of today rarely arrive with any expectation of deep philosophical inquiry, or are even interested in yoga outside of its potential fitness benefits. Emphasis on the physicalities, and the creation of gym-style scaled yoga centers, have effectively compartmentalized and packaged classes into a sort of teaser, geared more towards enticing participation in lucrative trainings than providing instruction in any traditional sense.

    Evolving scholarship has not only been laying bare an edifice of faith, but has coincided with the passing of Guru lineage holders and the falling pedestals of once powerful brand ambassadors. Impassioned yoga students of today would have a field day with the likes of BKS Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois in their Yelp reviews. Harsh adjustments are becoming taboo, consent cards and trauma sensitivity training are the new fashion.

    Where does the influence of the teacher end and the students’ self-empowerment begin? Is yoga a process of adherence or discovery, or both?

    Most yoga teachers, on some level, were trained to tell people what to do. Most students expect this of their teachers. But, in absorbing all these shifts underfoot, sincere teachers are beginning to change what they are telling people. They are no longer comfortable with a continuation of the same shapes and cues that failed to lead to the heights they were promised. With external authorities stripped of some of their stature, practitioners have no choice but to resort to the discovery of their own devices.

    Good teachers are still imperative. Everybody needs a little help sometimes. There wants to be a way for someone to invite a friendly, and hopefully informed, outside reverence when pursuing a process of self-healing and support. Regardless of the viewpoint that we subscribe to in yoga, be it of a more athletic, scientific, or spiritual bent, the proof is always going to be in the people. Like it or not, we just can’t get away with the same old [stuff] anymore. Those rising to the challenge by providing an example of transparency and honesty, are the ones inspiring new generations of earnest aspirants to carry the torch forward.

    The new discipline is inner-knowing. Teachers are only so good as they are conducive to a person no longer needing them. The veil has been lifted just enough that there is no pulling it back over our heads. Time has come for us to get clearer about what we are doing and why we are doing it. Effective yoga teaching is becoming less about imposing an arbitrary catechism on someone’s experience, and more about stirring the kind of inquiries that lead to students being able to make their own determinations.

    Originally posted a J. Brown Yoga Blog on December 5, 2016.

    To learn more about J, visit

    Yoga Q & A

     How and why has yoga become so popular?

    Over 6 million people are involved with the practice of yoga. The teachings and philosophies of yoga are phenomenal in that they offer something to every seeker, no matter their age, physical condition, or level of spirituality.

    The discipline evolved early on through the wise ones who opened to the energies of the universe and the natural world. The truths they observed and absorbed are the foundations of this legacy. The practice grew and transformed through every stage of mankind since then, offering the ancient wisdom and truth to help guide and access the high energy for the greater good. 

    Currently, the practice is invaluable as we need to focus inwardly to find our personal resources to withstand the present challenges, and the mental and emotional stability to maintain health and the immune system. 

    P.S. To further illustrate yoga’s ability to meet the current critical needs of society, this month’s workshop deals with the changes in teaching to become more organic with the needs of the student.

    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 

    Carolyn Iannone, RYT-200
    Free weekly gentle yoga via Zoom with the “queen of gentle yoga.” 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. Ongoing private and small sessions available.

    Elisha Simpson
    "Pathways to Healing Through Body-Centered Practice" 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. 

    Ellen Cohen, E-RYT200, LYCYT

    Fitness Flair in the Chair, a blend of gentle fitness and chair yoga at St. Pius Church, Scarsdale, NY, Thursday mornings at 10:30. $15. This one-hour class is invigorating yet relaxing and set to fun music. For more info, contact Ellen at 914-472-8412.

    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. The Practice (for teachers) first Thursday of the month 1-2:30 p.m. via Zoom. Privates. for additional info. 

    Michael Sassano

    Yoga Zoom class on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. The first class is free, then $10/1 hour thereafter.  Classes are for beginner and intermediate levels. 


    Nancy Kardon, certified yoga teacher and CIAYT. Tuesday-Saturday Iyengar Yoga; All welcome to hybrid classes including asana, pranayama, meditation. In-studio for fully vaccinated students.

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

    PranaMoon Yoga

    Rebuilding, Reconnecting, and Reimagining Together!
    We are still standing! Serving the yoga community since 2013....we have weathered through the challenges of 2020-2021 and continue to offer in-studio + Zoom classes and workshops. 
    We are located at the Hat Factory in Peekskill. In-studio classes are limited! Always Room on Zoom

    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. Learn more & 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, 5 p.m.; Hatha yoga, Mondays, 5 p.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

    Call forth the softness,

    in the harsh moments let the gentle ways guide you.

    Even if the chaos is chasing you,

    your soul remembers her foundation---

    You are still,


    grounded here and now.

    Let peace rise from the earth and hold you,

    let Spirit remind you.

    If you have forgotten this birthright,

    go and sit among the giant trees,

    feel the ways they hold on and reach out at once,

    rooted and reverent.

    Dance among the butterflies,

    allowing your heart soft joys.

    Walk near the shore and let the water whisper,

    allow the waves and calmness both remind you,

    flow and forgive.

    Tracy Brooks, Soul Beckons (Facebook) 

    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

    Gina Calendar, ERYT 200, RYT 500, CEP

    Lorraine Burton

    Programming Chair

    Jenny Schuck


    Robin Laufer, MS Ed, RYT 500


    Terry Fiore Lavery, ERYT (Editor)

    Lisa Sloane, MA, ERYT (Designer) 

    Social Media (new)




    Board Member at Large
    Paula Heitzner, ERYT

    If you or anyone you know may be interested in joining the YTA board, please let us know! All board roles require some degree of tech literacy; an interest in/knowledge of yoga is ideal but not required for many roles. The social media role is a great opportunity for a student looking for an internship or a YTT looking for a karma yoga project! Please spread the word to your yoga and other circles.


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