June 2023 Newsletter

Words of Welcome

Dear All, 

Welcome, Summer, with your growth and light! June offers us all this, and we can be inspired by watching the transformation of the Earth as it blooms, brightens, and brings forth uplifting optimism. It is an affirmation of what is possible, not only for the planet and plants, but for each and every person.

Our practice of yoga suggests and supports the very same possibilities to bring us forward to our highest potential. The way gardens are tended, with focus, thought, and loving attention, gives us the format we, too, can use to achieve growth and the courage needed to propagate our highest potential, possible in all seasons. Remember what is growing in any garden cannot be rushed or forced and neither can we. It takes light, airflow, and nourishment from its roots to be productive.

We have the same journey in order to nurture ourselves as we seek and connect with the high energies that help us evolve to greater fulfillment. We are all at different stages in our lives, with different needs, but the process is the same for plants, animals, and people of this planet.

Hopefully, we will recognize and retrieve the support we have from our practice. YTA is there, the second Saturday of each month, to provide the opportunity to add the tools needed, through educational programs that enhance learning, to help us improve and use our yoga skills and resources for abundant personal growth. Join us!

Yours in yoga,
Paula Renuka Heitzner

2023 Workshops 

Saturday, June 10
1:30–4:30 p.m.

Via Zoom

Why Are My Eyes

So Tired? 

How a Modern Life

Overtaxes Vision and

How Yoga Can Help

with Daniel Orlansky

In front of your screen too much and feeling the negative effects? Daniel has teamed with Dr. Marc Grossman, O.D., LA.c, practitioner in integrative eye care and founder of naturaleyecare.com, to assemble the best natural eye exercises, gentle yoga stretches, and simple movements you can do every day to relax your body, help soothe tired eyes, and strengthen your vision.

Led by Daniel, this workshop will introduce the best of Eastern and Western methods for improving eye health–practices you can do daily.

You will learn:

  • The 4 Bs of eye health care that can be practiced anytime, anywhere to rejuvenate your eyes
  • Simple breathing techniques to bathe the eyes with oxygen 
  • Gentle yoga stretches and qigong movements that relax your neck and shoulders, allowing more circulation to your brain and eyes
  • Chinese eye massage using powerful acupressure points
  • And more!

Dr. Grossman will join us for a Q&A.

Recommended props: A yoga mat, a blanket, and a couple of blocks will be helpful, but not required; students should wear loose fitting clothing.

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

Daniel Orlansky, MA, ERYT-500, a yoga teacher since 1992, is certified in Jnana Yoga, Kali Ray TriYoga, and Kundalini Yoga, and is the originator of Meridian Yoga. He holds a master’s degree in Expressive Art Therapy/Dance Therapy from Lesley University and has been a visiting lecturer in movement studies at Tufts University. A graduate of the Boston Shiatsu School, Daniel teaches regularly at the Kripalu Center, the Omega Institute, and in Europe, and also directs yoga teacher trainings worldwide. He has codirected two yoga DVDs: Hands-On! Skillful Assists for Yoga Asana, and Yoga and Vision Improvement.

Dr. Marc Grossman, O.D., LA.c, is an influential pioneer, leader, and practitioner in integrative eye care. Cofounder of naturaleyecare.com, the largest consumer eye care resource of its kind, and a respected author of five books on natural vision improvement, he most recently coauthored the acclaimed Natural Eye Care, Your Guide To Healthy Eyes and Healing. In practice since 1980, he is also a licensed acupuncturist.
    Register Now

    This workshop is appropriate for all adults of any age or fitness level–no yoga knowledge or experience necessary. Spread the word!

    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.

    2023–24 Season

    September 9

    The Art of Yoga with Weights: Baptiste Method

    with Sherri Baptiste

        Via Zoom    

    Are you looking for a safe, innovative, accessible, and powerful way to enhance your personal and/or professional fitness, confidence, and well-being while building endurance, core strength, and stamina? If the answer is yes, join Sherri as she gently guides you through this introduction to integrating weights into your yogic practice and teaching. It is a mainstream approach to yoga and all that yoga has to offer, yielding quick and safe results to optimize how you and/or your students look and feel. Learn more and register now!

    October 14
    Empowered Embodiment from the Earth and Ether
    with Paula Heitzner
        In Person AND Via Zoom   
    Join our beloved master teacher  for a workshop that will provide consciousness and awareness to the parts of the body used in any given asana (As the Anatomy Allows). We'll explore the range of motion with this focus, leading to alignment and integration and communication and collaboration of the Brain, Bones, and Breath. Learn more and register now!

    November 11
    Align with the Divine: Yoga for Body, Mind, and Heart
    with Todd Norian
        In Person at Club Fit    
    Take a deep dive into the life-affirming philosophy and practices of Ashaya Yoga! Align your body, mind, and heart with the five elements using Ashaya Yoga's four essentials—Open, Engage, Align, and Expand.
    Build inner strength, balance, and flexibility with alignment-based, therapeutic asana and quiet the mind and cultivate inner peace through Yoga Nidra.
    Learn more and register now!

    December 9

    Self-Regulation and the Bhagavad Gita: Dissecting Detachment with Cristal and Pooja Sharma 

        Via Zoom    

    Learn more!

    January 13

    So Much More Than Stretching: Teaching

    Chair Yoga Stretch
    with Beatrice Mattaway
    More to come soon!

    February 10

    Subtle Yoga: The Science Behind Slow, Mindful Yoga Practice
    with Kristine Kaoverii Weber
    More to come soon!

    March 9
    Topic to be confirmed!
    with Laura Cornell
    More to come soon!

    April 13
    Starting Off on the Right Foot—New Perspectives on the Feet, and Why They Matter with Doug Keller
    More to come soon!

    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 May Workshop
    Kelly Devi Swails



    Yoga and Vision Improvement

    by Daniel Orlansky

    Use the light that is within you to regain your natural clearness of sight. Seeing into the darkness is clarity. Knowing how to yield is strength. Use your own life and return to the source of life. This is called practicing the eternal.



    I began my journey to improve my vision after attending a lecture with Dr. Marc Grossman. He maintained that in many cases, vision can be improved by decreasing the “bad” and improving the “good”:

    • Reduce factors that degrade eyesight (stress and physical and mental tension) 
    • Understand, apply, and integrate healthy habits of using our eyes

    For me, how to relax and energize the eyes became a practice of combining Bates Method eye exercises with insights from the Chinese meridian system, as well as stress reduction through yoga and Qigong. Over the years, I’ve successfully reduced my glasses prescription by 50% and continue to see improvement. 

    Even if you don’t need corrective lenses, the exercises I will review in the workshop on June 10 will help you with tired eyes, computer eye strain, and other bothersome eye conditions. As yoga practitioners, I think we will find much resonance in understanding and applying the principles and practices of yoga to vision improvement.

    Yoga as a Path to Better Vision

    In a nutshell, as we relax and open the body through yoga, we simultaneously relax and open the mind, and as we relax the mind, our vision, both inside and outside, is enhanced. 

    What does it mean, "inner" vision? It means our sense of self, our identity, our purpose, our “beingness” in the world. And “outer” vision? It refers to our sight, our appreciation of color and form, the ability to perceive with clarity and vividness the beauty around us.

    Basically, yoga works on three facets of the human being and has specific techniques for each aspect. These are the physical body; the energy body; and the mental body or mind. 

    The yoga practitioner seeks to harmonize these three dimensions of the human being and through doing this, achieves optimal health, happiness, and self-understanding; this would include optimal inner and outer vision.

    Let’s look at these three dimensions individually.

    Physical Body: The Anamayakosha

    The physical poses of yoga, known as asanas, are designed to increase both strength and flexibility of the body, improve balance, and at the same time enhance circulation and energy flow, cleansing organs and other systems. 

    The poses that most benefit the eyes are:

    • Stretches for the head, neck, and shoulders. Releasing tension from the neck and shoulders not only improves posture but boosts vision by allowing more circulation of blood to the brain; the eyes are simply extensions of brain tissue.
    • Asanas that open the liver/gallbladder meridians; in Chinese Medicine these meridians are responsible for vision (again, both inside and out).

    In the workshop, I will be teaching these beneficial poses.

    Energy Body: The Pranamayakosha

    All the breathing exercises in yoga are designed to enhance energy and oxygenate the blood, improving circulation while removing stress. 

    One of the most beneficial pranayamas for vision improvement is Kapalabhati, or skull-shining breath. Easy to master, this breath brings oxygen to the brain, and cleans the blood. It improves the oxygenation of blood in the body, which helps in better nourishment of all the structures of the eyeball, along with the nerves.

    Another piece of the workshop will be including Kapalabhati with yoga eye stretches.

    Mental Body: Vijnanamayakosha

    The goal of yoga is union with the “divine,” which one could also call reality, or the Tao, the creative infinite, nature, “that which is,” or the Universal. In yoga philosophy, the Universal is said to exist in the space between thoughts, which is nonthinking, and in this infinite space, the truth of being is said to reside. This place of “no mind” is meditation. 

    Many advanced practitioners of yoga and meditation who can enter the “space between thoughts” report improved vision afterward. To quote Michael Hutchison from The Book of Floating, “As I went out into the world (after going into the state of no mind) my senses were extremely–almost unbelievably–sharp and keen. Everything I saw seemed to be beautiful and miraculous, and the colors of everything were extraordinarily rich and beautiful. I saw everything clearly as if objects had sharp edges around….Everything has become much sharper and clearer than it normally was.”

    The takeaway is that external vision can be improved as one raises one's level of consciousness. In other words, deepening one’s meditation practice (ie, inner vision) can be a doorway to improving one's eyesight (outer vision).

    In this workshop, I will be including a breath meditation practice that will benefit vision.

    Vision Improvement and Practices from Other Systems

    In addition to using the modalities of yoga as vehicles for vision improvement, I will be sharing Qigong exercises to benefit the eyes, as well as Chinese Eye Massage.

    As was said by one Chinese sage, “From the base of the mountain, many paths. From the peak, only one moon.” My job as the workshop presenter is to guide you on some of these paths; our collective goal as we navigate the various paths up the “mountain” is the one “moon” of inner and outer clarity. 

    To learn more about Danielvisit yogaofenergyflow.com.

    Yoga Q & A

    What now after the storm and strife?

    There is a calm now after the Pandemic’s end, presenting a situation that is every bit as difficult to deal with because of the future uncertainty. We need to underwhelm the overload that exhausts and depletes the body, mind, and spirit.

    We can turn, yet again, to our practice of yoga to help heal and balance our vital energies, weakened by stressors targeting every part of our being. Its practice can help us repair damages and reclaim and restore a positive outlook to underwhelm the overload, presenting possibilities to uplift the body, mind, and spirit, as needed.

    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.

    Spotlight on

    Summer Yoga

    Looking to bring your practice outside? Check out these local offerings:

    • Monday evening yoga at the Peekskill riverfront, provided by Inner Being, select Monday evenings in July and August. Free.
    • Tuesday evening yoga at Rockwood Hall (part of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve), Tuesdays in June. $6.
    • Sunday morning yoga at the Verplanck Farmers Market, provided by YTA member PranaMoon Yoga. $15 suggested donation.

    A little farther afield, you can take classes in Central Park, on Randall's Island, or on the beach at Robert Moses State Park.

    You can also look for events in honor of International Day of Yoga, which coincides with the summer solstice (like these, in Brooklyn on 6/20 and Times Square on 6/21), or check out the Summer Love Festival on June 17 or the Catskill Mountain Yoga Festival on July 22.

    Let us know about any other summer yoga events on Facebook!

    Every month in this space we will spotlight an individual or studio YTA member, a YTA board member, or an organization that we want to introduce to the YTA community—or something else entirely!

    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 yta_editor@ytayoga.com.

    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. You can also activate your profile in our directory to post your events on our website.

    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

    I think the greatest gift God ever gave man is not the gift of sight but the gift of vision. Sight is a function of the eyes, but vision is a function of the heart.

    —Myles Munroe

    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 Callender, 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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