October 2022 Newslette


Words of Welcome

Dear All, 

YTA’s September workshop was an eye- and heart-opening experience. Those of us who have been teaching for a long time have seen how our society and culture have mutated the practice of yoga as it does with any practical and valuable practice, place, or thing; our practice being a focal point of that philosophy.

  • Keep reinventing the wheel! 
  • More is better!
  • There’s always room for innovation (even if it’s not an improvement)!

Our presenter, J. Brown, made an impressive argument about returning to the basics of our practice, which has endured the test of time. As a teacher of long duration (okay, old), I felt so vindicated for the changes I intuitively made in my teaching approach. I was inspired by the Pandemic to seek and offer the benefits of a sincere basic practice, namely to find peace, strength, safety, and alignment with the universal teachings of wisdom and healing. These gifts cannot be marketed, branded, or commercialized, but can offer students the autonomy and wisdom to define what they personally need in these times of stress and how to get it through their practice.

Our practice has been adulterated by ambitious teachers who use their position to influence the new seekers starting their yoga journey, perhaps not consciously aware of where their bells and whistles can lead the uninformed. In my opinion, the latest egregious, outrageous slant to marketing in the bid to harness the financial opportunities yoga has provoked, has surfaced. This latest flagrancy, “High Yoga is All the Buzz,” (Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, July 26, 2022) uses the legalization of marijuana in combination with yoga class as a selling point to attract new students. What will they think of next? How low can you goHow inappropriate can one get?

Fortunately for us we have the YTA presenting a platform to those involved in the yoga world founded on the solid presentations by the instructors who honor the authenticity and the differences of the serious lineages. This is a wonderful solution to balance the media hype and confusion and to use one’s time and energy to unlock the gifts of a bona fide, trustworthy practice. Each month provides a valuable exposure by an experienced educator. Join us on the second Saturday of the month for inspiration and motivation!

Yours in yoga,

Paula Renuka Heitzner

2022–23 Workshops 

Saturday, October 8
1:30–4:30 p.m.

via Zoom

Yoga Nidra

Guided Relaxation

for Healing 

with Nya Patrinos

Yoga Nidra, also known as “yogic sleep” is a highly effective evidence-based yoga therapy technique. The entire practice is done lying down and is similar to a guided meditation. Yoga nidra activates the parasympathetic nervous system (the part of your nervous system that controls rest and digestion), allowing the practitioner to enter a state of ultimate calm. Through yoga nidra, one can access a realm of consciousness that exists between waking and sleeping, combining an alert awareness of the mind with total relaxation of the body. Yoga nidra has been proved to help manage anxiety, stress, immune function, blood pressure, cortisol levels, and induce restful sleep. It is a practice where science and spirit meet. 

In this workshop we will begin with a discussion about what yoga nidra is and an overview of its therapeutic properties, continue by doing an 8-stage yoga nidra practice, and conclude the session with a discussion about how the practice landed in our individual bodies.

Recommended Props: Blanket, bolster, eye pillow/eye mask, and thin pillow. Whatever you normally use for a long Savasana.

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A recording will be made available to all 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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Nya Patrinos, MFA, C-IAYT, ERYT500, YACEP has trained in a combination of East and West. She has a Diploma of Merit in Yoga Therapy from The Ghosh College of India in Calcutta and an 800-hour Certificate in Yoga Therapy from Integrative Yoga Therapy in Massachusetts. She is certified in Satyananda Yoga Nidra from the Yoga Academy of North America.

    Register Now

    Future Workshops

    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.Learn more and register now!

    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. Learn more and register now!

    January 14

    Emerging with Equanimity

    with Leslie Booker

    Equanimity, or Upekkha, is a heart practice from the Buddhist teachings that keeps us still in the midst of chaos. This workshop will be rooted in the Buddha’s teachings and will include a Dharma talk, formal meditation practice, a Yin Yoga practice, and dialogue about how we take our practice off the cushion and into the world. 

    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 September Workshop 
    J. Brown



    What is Yoga Nidra?

    by Nya Patrinos

    The intuitions received in yoga nidra enable one to find within himself [or herself] the answers to all problems. One’s true nature and integrity manifest, enabling him [or her] to live a meaningful and peaceful life in any environment. This is the opening of the ‘third eye’, which takes the consciousness beyond the conditioned personality with its tensions and complexes. No longer emotionally identified with the mind and body, one’s entire being is pervaded with divine consciousness. 

    Swami Satyananda Saraswati

    Yoga Nidra is a term used for many forms of guided deep relaxation. Nidra in Sanskrit means sleep and Yoga means union, or single pointedness. The period of rest at the end of a yoga practice in savasana with guided instructions for progressive relaxation is often called yoga nidra. Some people refer to yoga nidra as psychic sleep. Today, yoga nidra is practiced by yogis from many different lineages. Nyasa yoga nidra is a specific multistep process for the integration of body, mind, and spirit. This multistep form of yoga nidra is based on the practices developed by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, the founder of the Bihar School of Yoga and disciple of Swami Sivananda….

    The practice of yoga nidra is part of the tantric tradition. It is developed from an ancient practice, called Nyasa. Nyasa is usually defined as to place or to take the mind to that point. Nyasa can also be translated as imprinting, consecrating, charging, energizing, arousing consciousness, and imbuing. Essentially the practice involves infusing divine energy into one’s body or into the body of another. Nyasa is traditionally practiced seated. In Nyasa, first…the body part is named, then it is touched or visualized, and then the mantra is placed there. There are different variations of Nyasa. In Nyasa [one can place] deities, mantras, mental objects, [and] the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet on the body physically or mentally. There are many types of Nyasa, with varying degrees of complexity. Nyasa can be done externally using the tips of the fingers of the right hand to touch the parts of the body, or it can be done mentally….

    On the threshold between wakefulness and sleep is a state of consciousness characterized by dream-like visions and unusual sensory occurrences. Psychologists call this stage hypnagogia, or the hypnagogic state....

    During REM sleep (the state of deep sleep when we dream) the mind free-associates through thoughts, ideas, memories, and emotions. During hypnagogia one is conscious enough to be partially aware of the mind’s activity. 

    The hypnagogic state lasts a few minutes at most. One is in limbo between two states of consciousness. There are some elements of sleep mixed with some aspects of wakefulness. In yoga nidra we inhabit the hypnagogic state for an extended period. 

    During hypnagogia, scientists have observed the presence of both alpha and theta brain waves. Alpha waves are the dominant brain wave mode when we are conscious but relaxed, for instance when daydreaming or meditating. Theta brain waves are associated with restorative sleep. Usually, these brain waves occur only separately. The unique combination of alpha and theta brain waves brings the visions and sensations experienced in the hypnagogic state. The state is also marked by reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is responsible for planning and decision-making. 

    While in the hypnagogic state we experience a free flow of ideas and associations. Here the brain reviews and processes memories, thoughts, and feelings. Hypnagogia can be a rich source of creativity, ideas, and inspiration. It’s common for people to experience dream-like visions, static images, partially formed thoughts, sounds, flashes of color, insights, and sensations…. 

    Granthi means "doubt" or "knot.” It can more specifically [be] defined as "a difficult knot to untie." Granthis are knotted areas of energy that block the flow of prana in the body. Granthis can prevent prana from rising up through the sushumna nadi. These knots prevent one from realizing their full potential. Granthis are barriers to freedom and self-realization. 

    Granthis are what keep an individual entangled in their preferences, desires, and fears. Both knowledge and action are needed to work out the knots and transcend their restrictions. In yoga nidra we can untie our granthis….

    The increased body awareness fostered in yoga nidra promotes healing through the intervention of the mind into areas that it can now feel that it was once disconnected from. In yoga nidra, the mind reaches into areas of the body which hold memories, beliefs, and thought patterns that can be the root cause of illness, disease, tension, or discomfort. By bringing awareness to these areas, deep tensions that hold belief patterns in place can be resolved and released….The overall effect is the activity of the brain leads to the relaxation of the mind, body, and spirit.

    Tips for Using Yoga Nidra

    • Experience live yoga nidra sessions. 
    • Focus on one main teacher. 
    • After you are experienced with yoga nidra practice move from one teacher to a variety of teachers. 
    • Don’t overanalyze how you react—just experience the practice. 
    • To supplement your “live” experiences, work also with recordings. Preferably start out with many repeated listenings to a single recording. Then branch out to a range of recordings and voices. 
    • Once you have had some months of experiencing yoga nidra: transcribe a couple of your favorite yoga nidras and investigate the differences. 
    • Practice yoga nidra where you mentally guide yourself. 
    • Make recordings or your own yoga nidras—try them yourself and see how they make you feel. 
    • Practice yoga nidra on yourself—using unspoken mental commands and your own recordings and those or your favorite teachers for many months before you consider using it with students and/or clients. 
    • Be patient. 
    • Love the process. 

      Adapted from "Nyasa Yoga Nidra Teacher Training Manual," Nya Patrinos, 2021.

      To learn more about Nya, visit artyogafusion.com.

      Yoga Q & A

      Does yoga offer anything

      comparable to chemicals?

      I would say there are resources in the practice to induce calmness, altered moods, and consciousness. They, however, need to be cultivated over time and with patient study. 

      • Meditation is a beautiful, transcendental bridge to these states of mind. 
      • Yoga Nidra is another time-honored technique for going within and expanding without.
      • Chakra clearings also bring intense experiences, as they unleash the power of the nervous system and create clarity of body, mind, and spirit. 

      One thing for sure, these benefits are not simple fixes easily accessed in a financial exchange, but the long-term returns will continue to empower your well-being...and there are no hangovers.

      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 Spotlight: Julia Hough

      Every month we will spotlight an individual or studio YTA member or board member of the month.

      We may occasionally use this space to reconnect with a past workshop presenter or to introduce another individual or organization to the YTA community. 

      If you are a YTA member and would like to be featured, complete this survey as fully as you'd like.

      If you would like to nominate an individual or organization to be highlighted here, please email yta_editor@ytayoga.com.

      Note: We will continue to share YTA member workshops, special events, and trainings occasionally in eblasts. Whenever you have an event or training to share, please email yta_editor@ytayoga.com.

      If you are in need of a sub, email us at any time and we will get it out to our 800+ mailing list as soon as possible.


      Julia Hough, E-RYT, YACEP, C-IAYT
      8 Lincoln Place, Weehawken, NJ 07086
      201-566-7183 (cell)

      LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/juliahough/

      How long have you been a YTA member?
      Good question! About 10 years.

      How long have you been practicing and/or teaching yoga?
      I've been teaching yoga since September 2001 and practicing yoga consistently since 1995 (sporadically since 1972).

      What is your yoga background/journey?
      I took a 6-week yoga class in college in 1970 and practiced sporadically until 1995 when I went through a divorce. Then I took a weekly class in Hoboken, NJ, and took several workshops with Judith Lasater; in addition, I was having Phoenix Rising sessions with Gale Zikri in Hoboken. I decided to quit my publishing job to train in Phoenix Rising. When people contacted me for yoga classes and I kept referring them to a friend, after awhile I realized I should learn how to teach yoga. I trained with Joseph LePage through Integrative Yoga Therapy. I was hired by Jillian Pransky to teach gentle yoga at the Hoboken Y. The first class I taught was 2 days after the terrorist attack of 9/11. I was petrified! But I realized how much people needed gentle yoga. I took the full yoga therapy training with Integrative Yoga Therapy, I trained in restorative yoga with Judith Lasater, and I trained in Yoga for Osteoporosis with Ellen Saltonstall.

      Who do you currently practice with regularly?
      I have a daily practice on my own, and I sometimes take classes with Ellen Saltonstall. I recently took a workshop on the pelvis with Judith Lasater, and when I can, I take the YTA monthly workshop.

      Have the past 2–3 years affected your practice and/or your teaching?
      Yes, especially my teaching. Since the beginning of covid and ongoing, I teach via Zoom. I used to have a studio in my home, but I've decided not to change it back from our dining room to studio. Through Zoom I'm reaching students who would not otherwise be able to do yoga with me.

      Do you have any upcoming events or special offers you want to share with YTA members and friends?
      On November 5 I'm teaching a workshop on Mudras for Yoga Teachers from 1:00–5:00 p.m. via Zoom. I'm YACEP, so you can get 4 contact hours for the workshop.

      Anything else you want to share?
      We all have PTSD from the pandemic, and practicing yoga has helped me immensely, and sharing yoga further helps me—and I can see it helps my students as well. I feel so grateful for this practice.

      Julia's recommended books on Yoga:
      Living Your Yoga
      and 30 Essential Yoga Poses
      by Judith Lasater
      Mudras for Healing and Transformation
      by Joseph and Lilian LePage
      Wheels of Life by Anodea Judith
      Yoga Mind Body & Spirit by Donna Farhi
      Enlighten Up! by Beth Gibbs
      Poetry books by Danna Faulds

      Other books Julia recommends:
      Acupressure's Potent Points
      by Michael Reed Each
      Pain Free by Pete Egoscue
      Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
      Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn

      Final Thoughts

      Our body, emotions, and thoughts, as well as the breath, meditation, and
       mantra, are all tools to achieve the state of mind that is experiencing oneness. And the state of mind that experiences oneness is peaceful, evolved, balanced, and positive.

      Yoga is the conscious art of self-discovery. It is a process by which human beings expand their narrow, constricted, and egoistic personality to an eternal and blissful state of reality.

      Yoga is an all-around development of personality at a physical, mental, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual level.

      And this is what the real definition of yoga is all about.

      From Defining Yoga According to the Yogic Texts, by Jolanda Cristiano, The Elephant Journal, June 26, 2021. 

      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

      Interim Secretary

      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



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