November 2022 Newslette


Words of Welcome

Dear All, 

Fall is really moving us forward to the year’s end with abundant wind power and heavy showers. As Mother Nature proves, again and again, we are able to follow the same path within our practice of yoga! For growth, energy, and regeneration we have to move forward physically, mentally, and emotionally to build the muscle power of stamina to transform spiritually. 

The Pandemic has put a true handicap and a heavy taxation on the process of growing and regenerating. When we first started yoga there was a simplicity that was mirrored in life, generally; this has moved forward into the complexities overloading every level of society’s strata and overshadowing humanity’s consciousness. Even the practice of yoga was touched by this darkness, but the challenges were noted and the return to simplicity and the energy of a heartfelt response to the practice is again flourishing.

As we approach the New Year, I think it is important to go within and internally cultivate what our practice can do to bring about the strength, fortitude, and courage needed to balance the disastrous difficulties that Covid has wrought on the planet and its people.

With this inner journey, we can activate contact and connections with our brain, breath, and bones to find the gifts of the heart, bringing to us the resources needed to feel empowered and able to stand and withstand the repercussions of any disruptions. There is no longer any need to put useless energy into outer competition, but to channel our strength to find our heart’s truth for the highest good of all. This is mandated by our practice of yoga to achieve transformation.

The YTA has recognized the practical and fruitful trends needed to transcend these difficult times and works to provide the appropriate programs and presenters to meet the current criteria. Join the organization to actively participate in supporting our yoga community, or simply take advantage of our diverse workshops, always held on the second Saturday of each month, September through June.

Yours in yoga,

Paula Renuka Heitzner

2022–23 Workshops 

Saturday, November 12
1:30–4:30 p.m.

via Zoom

The Essence of Bhagavad Gita 

with Devarshi

Steven Hartman

Come explore why this ageless poem has been a guide for much of the world in how to attain true happiness and live a life in accordance with a loving, all-powerful God by your side. We will dive into the main concepts set forth in the Gita as guiding principles to live by.

The Bhagavad Gita is the quintessential text on yoganot Hatha yoga, the yoga of posturesbut 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.

All this may sound “heady” but our time together will be lively, interactive, and stimulating. The principles set forth hit the core of our belief systems and challenge us about what we imagine the nature of reality is. What is the purpose of living? How do I find my dharma/purpose? How do I live a “Godly “ life? How can I find happiness and contentment in this crazy world? Where do I go when I die? How do I guide myself every day through difficulty? All good questions that make for a very rabble-rousing, and possibly life-altering, conversation.

Recommended Props: 

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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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Devarshi Steven Hartman, ERYT, Founder of Pranotthan Yoga School, former dean of the Kripalu School of Yoga, and former Director of Professional Trainings at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.  Devarshi has been a yoga student and teacher for over 40 years and is a former longtime Kripalu Ashram resident where he lived for nearly a decade living, studying, and teaching yoga. Devarshi is the creator of two best-selling audio series called,  “The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita,” and “Satori–Simple Secrets to Inner Peace,” produced by Nightingale-Conant. Devarshi leads workshops and retreats around the country, teaches Pranotthan Yoga Teacher Trainings at the 200-hour, 500-hour, and advanced levels. Devarshi has studied and trained with almost every leading yoga teacher in the country and world due to his position at Kripalu, where the best of the best came to him. He is the founder of The Acharya Intensive–a 12-person yearlong transformational program which he coleads with Jovinna Chan. He is the creator of the PranaKosha Facilitation Methodology for personal transformation and trauma recovery. His most recent years have been dedicated to bringing yoga and mindfulness tools to the realm of drug and alcohol addiction.

    Register Now

    Future Workshops

    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. Learn more and register now!

    February 11

    Being Present in Chaos and Peace with Judy Weaver

    This discussion and experiential practice provides a fundamental understanding and awareness of your state of being or state of your nervous system. Learn evidence-based Trauma-Conscious Yoga protocol – asana, pranayama and meditation to develop your inner awareness, proprioceptive, and kinesthetic senses to develop greater resiliency. 

    March 11

    Creating Your Inner Temple for Living with Deirdre Breen 

    This workshop will provide the Ayurvedic and Yogic theories and practice to align you with the forces that govern well-being. Specific mudras, mantras, asana, and pranayama for morning and evening will be introduced. Participants will take home a customized ritual to fit their lifestyle and ultimately align them with the forces of life.

    Yoga for Your Mood: Practices to Shift Depression and Anxiety

    with Amy Weintraub

    Amy will give you the why, the how and the practices to make a difference in your emotional balance, self-regulation and resiliency. Not only will these practices shift your mood, but they may change your life.

    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 October Workshop 
    Nya Patrinos



    The Essence of Bhagavad Gita

    by Devarshi Steven Hartman

    The ancient scripture, Bhagavad Gita, contains the wisdom of the ages. Ralph Waldo Emerson stated that in all his studies there was "nothing that compared to the Bhagavad Gita,” that "even Shakespeare seemed adolescent in comparison.” Explore why this ageless poem has been a guide for much of the world in how to attain true happiness and live a life in accordance with a loving, all-powerful God by your side. 

    The main concepts set forth in the Gita are guiding principles to live by. The Bhagavad Gita is thequintessential 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. 

    In India, there are vast amounts of ancient texts containing the wisdom of the sages. The Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, and more are thousands and thousands of years old and expansive in their volume.  It would take lifetimes to study all of these scriptures in total, but it is said that all the wisdom of all of these ancient yogic texts are contained in this one short epic poem. The Bhagavad Gita is a provocative discussion between Krishna (God) and Arjuna (the spiritual warrior), and we are fortunate enough to have the contents of this poignant moment put into writing for our study and practice. 

    The principles set forth in the Gita hit the core of our belief systems and challenge us about what we imagine the nature of reality is. In this discussion, Arjuna asks Krishna/God all the same questions you or I would ask if we had the opportunity to be in God's Presence–What is the purpose of living? How do I find my dharma/purpose? How do I live a “Godly“ life? How can I find happiness and contentment in this crazy world? Where do I go when I die? How do I guide myself every day through difficulty? All good questions that make for a very rabble-rousing, and possibly life-altering, conversation.

    For me, the Gita is pure joy and delight. Easy to read and dripping with devotion, the words have been a soothing balm for my soul since reading it in my high school English class many decades ago. It was the catalyst for my decision to spend much of my adult life in a yoga ashram (spiritual community) dedicated to the art and practice of yoga. I delight in sharing it with others.  Over 20 years ago, I authored an audio series on the Bhagavad Gita for Nightingale-Conant that continues to be a best-selling product around the world. Curiously, it sells well in India, Germany, England, and Australia, but very little in the United States! 

    I would love to share my passion for this scripture and its wisdom with you.  I guarantee it will cause you to reevaluate at deep levels and create shifts toward more freedom and joy! 

    To learn more about Devarshi, visit

    Yoga Q & A

    Why is yoga so popular?

    Someone recently came up to me and said, “I know nothing about yoga, but hear a lot about it. Can you please explain why it's so popular?" 

    Yoga is the time-honored system developed by those ancient wise ones who intuited that there was more to the human being than met the eye…and they were right. No matter what the age or physical capabilities of the questioning seeker, there are practices to meet those needs, for furthering physical, mental, and spiritual growth and well-being. 

    Meditation, one of its practices, able to be done by anyone regardless of their physicality, has been proven with extensive research to help manage anxieties, stress, immune function, blood pressure, and cortisol levels. It is a practice where science and spirit meet, within and without.

    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 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

    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

    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)


    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

    It might never occur to you, for example, that resilience is a spiritual quality. Resilience is the same as being flexible; it is the opposite of being rigid or stuck. In Buddhism resilience is defined by a simple image: in a storm, the grass bends with the wind while the mighty tree is blown over….

    But why is resilience a spiritual quality? The answer lies in the Sanskrit word samskara. Samskara is a mark left by karma, and everyone carries around such marks (they even have a genetic equivalent in markers that experience leaves in the epigene, the surrounding sheath of proteins around your DNA). The obstacles we face on the spiritual path are the result of the samskaras that block the way or pull us backward….

    You and everyone else alive, are caught between two forces. One force pulls you back into the past, which is samskara. The other force pulls you toward unknown possibilities, which is evolution. You stand at the junction of these two forces. If your life is dominated by stuckness, you are basically a robot of the past; the machinery of samskara will be in charge….

    Resilience [is the opposite: it] increase[s] your energy; it brings the unfolding of inner potential; the future becomes brighter than the past because the future is the realm of evolution. Resilience is yours to embrace, first by having a vision of what it really means. Second, you make conscious choices to reject any sign of stuckness. Third, you cultivate a simple, open state of awareness. Meditation is a great aid here, but you can also learn to center yourself and return to simple awareness as soon as you experience stress and distraction.

    One step leads to the next, so we are talking about a process that unfolds according to your conscious intentions. Change is inevitable. The direction of change is up to you. Resilience is the attitude of making every change positive, life-enhancing, and evolutionary, no matter what happens to befall you in life’s ups and downs.

    Adapted from "Reinventing Life: Exploring Body Mind,” by Deepak Chopra, MD, newsletter on LinkedIn, October 2022. 

    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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