December 2022 Newsletter

Words of Welcome

Dear All, 

The year’s end is bringing the calendar to a close. Let’s make “turning over a new leaf” more meaningful than just an opening of the new calendar. Let’s make every personal effort, of which we are capable, to turn ourselves over to the light and life force inherent in our practice of yoga, and make an impact on how we can positively influence the unfolding new year, day by day. 

The past few years have imposed much darkness and despair on every person, in one way or another, on our planet. We have been subjected to challenges as we have never before faced, challenges that pervade every aspect of life: economic, climate and weather conditions, unrest resulting in unrestrained violence, and illnesses and diseases of catastrophic proportions.

Let’s use our practice to become the beacons of Iight that will reflect on our positive past memories and shine on and light the paths we must now travel in the direction needed to make the differences we long forthe simple pleasures that life can give. They are compliant with our yoga philosophy and the ensuing benefits that bring us peace of mind to relish being, in the joys of company and in the comfort of community.

YTA has offered this to us all through this ordeal and will continue to keep “the lamp” burning in the window, every second Saturday of the month, with excellent presenters and programs to strengthen us on our journey. See the “light” and turn yourself and your calendar to this window of time and let us enjoy your company in our yoga community.  

And go one step further and join the YTA board to become part of this vital organization that promotes continuing yoga education. 

Yours in yoga,

Paula Renuka Heitzner

2022-23 Workshops 

Saturday, December 10
1:30–4:30 p.m.

via Zoom

Introduction to Somatic Yoga 
Repattern Muscles

from Head to Toe

with James Knight

Join James Knight, founder of Gentle Somatic Yoga®, and discover for yourself why Gentle Somatic Yoga has gained world-wide recognition for offering immediate and lasting relief from chronic pain, stiffness, and other tension-based patterns. In this workshop, you will be invited to 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. Through a process of brain-to-muscle repatterning most people find beneficial results that are immediate and long lasting. In this experiential 3-hourworkshop, be ready to be inspired into deeper levels of self-care and self-healing.Gentle Somatic Yoga® is unparalleled in terms of its capacity to nourish, liberate, and enhance the vitality of the Soma (whole self).

In this experiential 3-hour workshop, be ready to be inspired into deeper levels of self-care and self-healing. All sessions will be recorded and available for up to 30 days after each event. You will be guided through therapeutic movement sequences called Somatic Movement Flows®. 

These easy and reliable sequences will help you dissolve internal stress holding patterns, significantly improve flexibility, and re-establish good posture. Instead of traditional stretching, you will learn how to reeducate the mind to muscle connection through a technique called pandiculation. 

After each movement class within the workshop, there will be a “learning laboratory” to review each Somatic Movement Flow in detail, along with tips and modifications so you can tailor this practice for your specialty niche. Also, there is a presentation in every course to review the history, neuroscience, philosophy, and method of Gentle Somatic Yoga.

Recommended props: blankets, blocks.

A recording link will be sent to participants by Wednesday, December 14, and will be available for 30 days following the workshop.

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The Zoom meeting link will be sent to registrants 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 guarantee technical help the day of the workshop.

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James Knight, E-RYT, CHSE, is one of the early pioneers to bridge yoga and Somatics. Gentle Somatic Yoga® (GSY) is the culmination of his life’s work as an experienced yoga teacher, certified Hanna Somatic Educator, body-oriented psychotherapist, movement educator, and author. James trains and certifies yoga teachers, yoga therapists, bodyworkers, and other healthcare professionals through in-person, online, and livestreaming courses. As well, he leads international Somatic Wellness and Adventure Retreats. 


    2023 Workshops

    January 14

     In _person & via Zoom   

    Emerging with Equanimity

    with Leslie Booker

    Equanimity, or Upekkhais 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

     In _person & via Zoom   

    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. The Essence of the Bhagavad

    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.

    April 8

    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 November Workshop 
    Devarshi Steven Hartman



    Gentle Somatic Yoga®

    by James Knight

    Gentle Somatic Yoga® (GSY) incorporates therapeutic sequences, called Somatic Movement Flows®that can help relieve chronic pain, stiffness, and postural imbalances. These flows significantly increase flexibility, support recovery from injury, and also prevent injuries arising from repetitive movements of everyday life. Through a process of brain-to-muscle repatterning most people find beneficial results that are immediate and long-lasting.

    The main intent of Gentle Somatic Yoga is to educate people and empower students with practical tools so they can take charge of their own healing process. Through the process of unwinding from deep stress holding patterns participants return back to their natural state, which is peace and well-being. 

    In this three-hour experiential workshop, James Knight, founder of GSY and Somatic Wellness™, will introduce the key principles of Somatic Yoga designed to create a more integrated experience of body, mind, and spirit. 

    What makes this method different compared to other popular styles of yoga?

    Gentle Somatic Yoga does not focus on stretching. In traditional Hatha yoga, asanas (postures) are often practiced with the intent to reach a “full expression and preferred alignment” of any given pose. In Gentle Somatic Yoga, however, it is more about having the attitude of discovery and exploration to explore the body (soma) from the inside out, on the level of internal felt sensation. In this experiential method muscles are re-programmed to their optimal length in a resting position.  

    This progressive method of movement incorporates Hanna Somatic Education, hatha yoga, meditation, breathing techniques, Core Energetics (body-oriented psychotherapy), as well as principles ascribed to quantum mechanics. GSY is dedicated to researching, pioneering, and facilitating the most leading-edge neuroscience in movement education. 

    Keys to Overcoming Chronic Tension and Pain

    The cause of most muscular pain and stiffness is found in the brain. Oftentimes muscles stay contracted as if they were on “auto pilot,” despite our efforts to stretch, get massages, or have chiropractic adjustments. In Gentle Somatic Yoga, we call this Sensory Motor Amnesia

    Sensory Motor Amnesia develops over time for several reasons: repetitive body movements, injury, emotional trauma, and other stressful life experiences. When the brain forgets how to relax muscles, the muscles stay contracted and we feel muscular pain even when we think we are “relaxing.”

    In this workshop, learn how to discover areas of Sensory Motor Amnesia to strengthen and integrate the brain-to-muscle connection. The more you can voluntarily control your muscles, the more choices you have in your body, and the freer you are through everyday movement.   

    This workshop is right for you if: 

    You or someone you know experiences chronic pain and other symptoms from an injury, disease, or condition, including but not limited to:

    • Neck, shoulder, back pain 
    • Pelvic floor disorder
    • Sciatica
    • Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue
    • Headaches/Migraines
    • Sports injury
    • Joint pain
    • Muscle tightness, stiffness, or spasms
    • Poor posture
    • Anxiety

    You want to learn nourishing movements for an everyday home practice to keep your health and well-being thriving. 

    You are a yoga teacher/therapist, bodyworker, or health care professional and want to learn new skills for your tool kit. These skills can be immediately integrated into group movement classes and/or one-on-one customized sessions. 

    What you will learn: 

    • Seven-plus therapeutic and restorative sequences, called Somatic Movement Flows®, that significantly improve flexibility, enhance strength, reestablish better posture, and dissolve chronic pain
    • Evidence-based and heart-guided self-care/self-healing techniques to improve your immune system, reduce anxiety, and increase energy levels
    • New appreciation and greater understanding of the difference between the main technique in GSY called pandiculation, versus static stretching. Also distinguish the difference between wellness and fitness.
    • New skills for yoga teachers, yoga therapists, bodyworkers, or healthcare professionals to share with their students/clients in group movement classes and/or private sessions. 

    To learn more about James, visit

    Yoga Q & A

    If there was a “Krishna Klaus,” what would little yogis and yoginis ask for?

    Barbie and Ken dolls and gift cards for lunch at McDonald’s………

    But seriously: I think children are still connected to source! Not yet distracted by the fast pace and glitter of the conditioned adult life as it is now being lived, with our defenses using much vital energy meant for the support and sustainability of the body’s health, children will ask for those very gifts that we begin to value and reclaim as adults in our practice of yoga:

    • To feel as free as possible from the fears that create self-sabotage in adults.
    • To accept our limitations, thus lessening their destructive effects on ourselves, resulting and encouraging us to be kinder to others.
    • To recognize the importance of becoming as self-supporting as we can be as individuals, to build trust in the self. 
    • To share this strength and wisdom we uncover, within, freely, to truly make the New Year happy and bright for all. 
    • To welcome the New Year with renewed optimism!

    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

    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

    Know the secret of life dwells within every breath we take. Live, Live, Live. Don’t waste time restricting it. As dawn awakens nature and makes the darkness and ignorance of night fade away, let your body feel the freshness of the energy of a new day. There are so many wonderful things to do and so little time to do them!

    ~Tao Porchon-Lynch, YTA June 2016 newsletter  

    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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