March 2023 Newsletter

Words of Welcome

Dear All, 

Winter’s darkness encourages us to go within, hopefully affording us the opportunity to prioritize what is important and what really counts in our scheme of things. As we hibernate physically, it is the perfect time to tune up our perspective of the past and present and to open ourselves emotionally and spiritually to the future.

This self-introspection is vital if we are to progress to a healthier and hope-filled future built on a well-grounded foundation of self-trust and self-awareness. We must accept our mistakes, mindlessness, and misconceptions and move forward having learned and grown from the ownership of these errors in judgment. 

Going within and listening to our inner voice connects us to our inner knowing, enabling us to access our highest energies of self, and is the purpose and promise of our practice of yoga. With the courage we find within, we are able to bring about the balance we need to keep fear from overpowering our life.

As we awaken with the diminishing darkness and more warmth, we find March also unfolding toward the light. Make a choice to stretch as well in a new direction and join the YTA yoga community to have a continuing source of inspiration and information in your practice and life. Every second Saturday of the month there is a presentation from 1:30-4:30 p.m. offered by leading teachers from all traditions chosen for their expertise.

Yours in yoga,
Paula Renuka Heitzner

2023 Workshops 

Saturday, March 11
1:30–4:30 p.m.

 In Person at Club Fit*


via Zoom

Creating Your Inner Temple for Living

with Deirdre Breen

The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.

—B.K.S. Iyengar

As yogis, our actions honor what is sacred.  Our practice is guided by the 5-Niyamas of Patanjali, actions to purify the body, cultivate contentment, invoke discipline, invite self-study, and surrender desire.   

In every 24-hour cycle we experience an enlivening sunrise and expressive moon cycle. These are the bookends planet Earth relies on to awaken, grow, rest, and renew—we rely on them too!  We can support the steadiness of our lives through morning and evening practice that become sacred rituals.   

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 themselves with the forces of life. Remember, a ritual need not take a lot of time, what makes it sacred is repetition and intention.

Recommended props: blocks and a blanket

A recording link will be shared with all registrants and will be available for two weeks following the workshop.

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

Deirdre Breen is a health professional with a vision for optimizing life’s potential. Deirdre has explored and sought expert training in holistic health and healing for 35 years. Her organization, Self-Care Institute, Inc., is dedicated to enhancing health care through self-care. Deirdre created an approach to health she calls Dosha Coaching, which blends the ancient practices of Ayurvedic lifestyle medicine and classical yoga practice with the modern science of health behavior. She delivers programs for individuals and groups seeking greater fulfillment, including yoga teachers, health care professionals, and the community at large. Deirdre advocates a “non-fixing” approach to healing and focuses her clients' awareness on discovering and cultivating a fluent body-mind-breath connection—considered the ultimate environment for well-being.

    Register for In Person

    *We require a minimum of 8 in-person registrants before

    March 3. If there are less than 8 participants at that time, the in-person portion will be canceled and in-person registrants will have the option of being converted to the Zoom option or receiving a refund.

    Register for Zoom Only

    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.

    Upcoming Workshops

      Pop-Up Workshop  
    Tuesday, March 21

    7:30 p.m. EST

    The Light of the Gayatri 
    with Anjali Rao
      Via Zoom   
    Often revered as one of the most ancient and powerful mantras, each syllable of the Gayatri mantra from the Rig Veda has specific significance. Chanting the Gayatri mantra is said to proffer great wisdom and peace, and has lived through the oral traditions for thousands of years. The story has hues of mysticism to being a part of many sociopolitical movements. We will listen to the stories, revel in the sacred sounds, and learn how to chant this potent mantra together. Learn more and register now!


    April 8

    Yoga for Your Mood:

    Practices to Shift Depression and Anxiety with Amy Weintraub  
      Via Zoom   

    Founder of LifeForce Yoga, 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. Learn more and register now!

    May 13
    Adapting Yoga Practice During Pregnancy

    with Kelly Devi Swails 

      Via Zoom   
    his workshop is designed for yoga teachers without prenatal certification to learn more about the anatomy and physiology of pregnancy, and what every yoga teacher should know to offer informed, safe yoga instruction for pregnant students in general population classes.
    Learn more and register now!

    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 February Workshop 
    Judy Weaver



    Yoga and Grace

    A Sharing from Deirdre Breen

    Beyond learning and practicing poses and pranayama, yoga has emerged as a condition of being rather than a practice. Perhaps for most of us we first discover or experience yoga on a mat and follow a teacher through a sequence of poses and awareness of breath. Indeed that is how I came to experience yoga. And like all lasting relationships  yoga has evolved. Not only do I experience yoga on a mat, through pranayama and in meditation, yoga has emerged in my consciousness as a condition of being. While I am not always in a condition of yoga, I’m aware where ease lives, and when I suffer physically, mentally, or emotionally, I know I am not in yoga. What is different for me now is that I know that it is with a few spirited breaths that I rejoin yoga’s energy. No longer does suffering mean I’ve done something wrong or need an intense practice and an egotistical effort to become worthy of the grace of yoga. That’s not to say expressing the many, many tools that cultivate yoga are not of value…indeed we can’t get there without them because they illuminate and distinguish what is our true nature, and what is the ego seeking to overshadow our brilliance.   

    When I refer to yoga therefore I am referring to a personal and universal condition of union. The value in this union is a reduction of harm and suffering to self and others.  When in yoga, kindness of mind reigns, gentleness in heart leads, and acceptance in body exists. Together the mind, body, and breath generate energy that already knows how it is to express, where it is to lead, and offers trust in living day to day. 

    So how did this all come to be? And does it mean I am always happy, joyous, and free?   Yoga has emerged gradually over 15 years of study and practice—and I am not referring to perfect practice or perfect commitment. I am far from the imagined devoted yogi I thought I needed to be, wanted to be, and strived to be. Rather, I am an individual who has made peace with the flaws that come with being human. Those who know me likely hear me say, I am a bundle of blinds spots, black holes, and moments of brilliance. It was the distortions of the ego mind that sought to control and bruise my sense of self that made me strive for the illusion of perfection. I can tell you the relief of not having to try so hard is an expression of grace. Yet, that doesn’t imply I have settled for an expression of mediocrity. Indeed, can you recognize it is the ego that poses those questions? The den of the ego again suggests an idea of perfection or mediocrity. 

    The answer to how this came to be is offered in the workshop I am privileged to present. I will introduce the living opportunity each of us has to anchor our body and spirit in a ritual that reflects what we can do and offer it to the potential of nurturing yoga within us—seeking to guide us in a life that radiates the light of our spirit, and shapes the true role of the ego mind—the service to the soul. 

    I hope my expression intrigues you, and I hope you will join me. I’ll be asking you to inquire into the illusions and challenges of living in your body and mind. I’ll provide a process to create a personalized practice that will address what the yoga in you needs to emerge and guide your life. Mudras, mantras, asana sequences, and pranayama meditations that will through practice dissolve the Samskaras, and allow the radiance of your true spirit to lead you forward. While this workshop is three hours, what you experience can last a lifetime. 

    To learn more about Deirdrevisit

    Yoga Q & A

    What does yoga do for your body that is different from other health measures?

    I believe the answer to your question covers much territory. Since the dawn of time, there have been medicine women and men and herbalists, close to the universal source, using their intuition to restore health and well-being to the afflicted. Their anecdotal knowledge grew and, as time passed, progressive advancements leading to medicine, as we know it today, developed.

    Alternative medicine came into being to fill the personal gap that went missing in the mainstream; the whole person must be treated to find the causes of illness rather than merely treating the symptoms.

    Yoga works to bring balancephysically, emotionally, and spirituallyto the whole person to help prevent the dis-ease that leads to disease, and recognizes the powerful healing to be experienced from this balance, as did the earliest healers.

    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

    Spotlight on YTA Studio Member PranaMoon Yoga and Owner Ellen Forman

    PranaMoon Yoga

    1000 N Division Street,Suite 2H

    Peekskill, NY 10566


    Instagram: @pranmoonyogis

    Facebook: pranamoonyoga 

    Owner: Ellen Forman

    How long have you been a YTA member?

    YTA Studio Member Since 2018

    Our Teaching Collective Includes:

    Ellen Forman; Brianna Nimphius; Betsy Egan; Sabrina Eyster; Lela Damico; Danielle Spaeth; Kellen Knight; Kristi Gione; Alexa Wolkoff; Katie Kavanagh; Sarah Fine; Robin Palmer; Lauren Barrett; Kristy Cohen

    How long have you been practicing and teaching yoga?

    I've been practicing yoga for over 35 years. Teaching yoga since 2003; hitting the 20-year mark this spring!

    What is your yoga background/journey?

    My journey toward holistic living began in the wake of losing both my parents by the time I was 20. Essentially I was catapulted onto my path as a seeker and I questioned everything. I explored alternative ways of living and new ways of seeing the world. I became a vegetarian and discovered Zen Buddhism and yoga. Later as a young mother, my yoga practice allowed me to parent with ease, clarity, patience, and joy. In 2001, after another devastating loss, I experienced the profound healing benefits of the breath through yoga and knew I wanted to share this ancient healing art with others. I have been sharing yoga and encouraging healthy lifestyle choices with others ever since. 

    Who did you do your training(s) with? 

    200-hour with Satsang Yoga in Garrison; 500-hour with the Himalayan Institute in Pennsylvania and India. Other certifications/trainings: Yoga Therapy Training with Inner Peace Yoga Therapy; Gentle Yoga Somatics with James Knight, Level 1; Plant-Based Nutrition from T. Colin Campbell Foundation; Thai Yoga Bodywork; Shamanic Reiki

    Who do you practice with regularly; what yoga schools/lineages/methodologies do you follow?

    Early on I was influenced by Sivananda Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Jivamukti Yoga, and my teacher Rolf Sovik at the Himalayan Institute. Currently, nature is my guide and listening to my intuition is my methodology. As for teaching, I share all that I have gathered and offer classes that cultivate awareness, compassion, and balance. I start with a simple framework and/or a theme and teach intuitively. I enjoy offering active classes that are uplifting and adventurous, set to an inspiring playlist, as well as teaching quieter gentle and restorative practices. 

    What led you to open a studio?

    Opening a studio was not a dream, it was born of necessity! I had a lovely group of dedicated students, who became friends through my yoga classes, and called themselves the “mat pack.” We needed a new location to practice together. I found a space at The Hat Factory and decided to offer yoga to the Peekskill community and beyond. In June of 2013 we opened our doors to our beautifully renovated space.

    Tell us about the studio—the vibe, types of classes and workshops.

    As a teaching collective, our aim at PranaMoon Yoga is to create a nurturing and supportive environment to explore the healing and creative arts. Our welcoming space is dedicated to encouraging self-expression, spiritual awakening, emotional growth, and physical unfolding. As a community of unique individuals, we choose to celebrate life, cultivate peace and compassion, and to uplift others through our thoughts, words, and actions.

    Are you offering in-person, online, and/or hybrid classes? 

    Yes, we offer all three.

    Have the past 2–3 years affected your practice and/or your teaching?

    Moving through the Covid years was challenging but within two weeks of the pandemic news we shifted the whole schedule to Zoom. The unknowing and the empty studio were at times frustrating but we persevered and with the support of our dedicated teachers and community, we made it through the dark days. The silver lining of Covid is that Yoga Bootcamp and our Morning Yoga Series were born! I always wanted to teach a yoga class combined with HIIT, and at 6:30 a.m. the Zoom option was optimal.

    Do you have any upcoming events or special offers you want to share with YTA members and friends?

    Our calendar is packed with great events! We have a full schedule of ongoing weekly and monthly classes plus exciting new workshops such as Restorative Acupuncture with Lauren Barrett and Brianna Nimphius, Somatic Release Breathwork with Julia Zern, and Full Moon Circles with Kristy Cohen. 

    Please join us for a class or a workshop with a 10% discount; use the code YTA10FORU at check out.

    Anything else you want to share?

    As a local studio, we are very grateful for the ongoing enthusiasm from our community! To express our gratitude we have always given back by supporting causes and organizations near and far. Through special events and our ongoing Yoga as Activism classes, we have supported food drives for C.C.H.O.P. to animal advocacy to clean water and more! Check out our Yoga As Activism page. 

    Our goal for 2023 is to continue offering yoga accessible to everyone, at affordable prices, in a spacious, light-filled studio…in a very cool building! And if you prefer to practice in the comfort of your own home, many of our classes are hybrid and fully integrated with Zoom.

    At PranaMoon, it’s always peace, love, and yoga!

    Recommendations: What are your favorite/life-changing/must-have yoga books, podcasts, movies, music, props, quotes, etc? 

    Any of Donna Farhi’s Books—my fave is Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit: A Return to Wholeness; Mudras for Healing and Transformation by Joseph & Lillian LePage

    What are your favorite/life-changing/must-have non-yoga books, podcasts, movies, music, props, quotes, etc?

    Favorite Poets/Authors: Mary Oliver: Devotions; John O’Donohue; Leza Lowitz: Lines to Unfold By; Wendell Berry

    Music: Love too much music to list! Beatles of course; Joni Mitchell; Elton John; Carol King; Gregory Alan Isakov; Garth Stevenson; Xavier Rudd; Snatum Kaur; Krishna Das; Beautiful Chorus; Essie Jain; Wah!

    Strong Impact Books: The World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle and Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. Both of these clarified my path and galvanized me as a vegan/plant-based whole foods eater.

    Motivating Quote: Martha Graham: “There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost.” 

    Current Fav Podcast: Huberman Lab; Science Friday; The Moth Radio Hour

    Every month in this space we will spotlight an individual or studio YTA member, a YTA board member, a past presenter, or an organization that we want to introduce 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 featured here, please email

    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.

    Final Thoughts

    Patience visited me

    And it reminded me

    That good things take time to come to fruition

    And grow slowly with stability

    Peace visited me

    And it reminded me

    That I may remain calm through the storms of life

    Regardless of the chaos surrounding me

    Hope visited me

    And it reminded me

    That better times lay ahead

    And it would always be there to guide and uplift me

    Humility visited me

    And it reminded me

    That I may achieve it

    Not by trying to shrink myself and make myself less

    But by focusing on serving the world and uplifting those around me

    Kindness visited me

    And it reminded me

    To be more gentle, forgiving and compassionate toward myself

    And those surrounding me

    Confidence visited me

    And it reminded me

    To not conceal or suppress my gifts and talents

    In order to make others feel more comfortable

    But to embrace what makes me me

    Focus visited me

    And it reminded me

    That other people’s insecurities and judgements about me

    Are not my problem

    And I should redirect my attention

    From others back to me

    Freedom visited me

    And it reminded me

    That no one has control over my mindset, thoughts and well-being

    But me

    And love visited me

    And it reminded me

    That I need not search for it in others

    As it lies within me.

    Tahlia Hunter, November 25, 2022, 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



    Robin Laufer, MS Ed, RYT 500


    Terry Fiore Lavery, RYT (Editor)

    Lisa Sloane, MA, ERYT (Designer) 

    Social Media

    Cassie Cartaginese, RYT



    Board Member at Large
    Paula Heitzner, ERYT

    If you or anyone you know might 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. We are in urgent need of a programming coordinator. Please spread the word to your yoga and other circles. We would love to talk to anyone interested in sharing their skills, whatever they are—from finance and design to note taking, organizing, and making connections.


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