November 2023 Newsletter

Words of Welcome

Dear All, 

As we mature, hopefully we come to realize that at any time we want to change the patterns we follow, which shape our lives, we can! November is here and the holiday season is bearing down on us. Let’s create something new that is not so exhausting, expensive, or entrenched in past habits. Let’s create joyous moments and memories in life as we wish to live it, instead of reacting to the moments and circumstances as usual.

This is where our practice of yoga proves invaluable. All of our studies offer the practitioner a way to strengthen physically and emotionally. Our breathing practices bring us ways to balance mind and body. They are a way to unlock the hidden resources of strength and the courage and confidence to own our own truths, and to feel trust in ourselves to hear and believe our own heart and inner voice, instead of the babble and chatter that surrounds us. This balance of mind and body is further strengthened by the connection to the nervous system. The being is brought to a connected conversation and collaboration with all its cells and systems. We then can be fully empowered and engaged to create the life we want to lead and to respond respectfully and appropriately to situations we are not in sync with.

Our resource of yoga, the YTA, is there for us each month with presentations on the second Saturday and invites and welcomes all those with a sincere interest in growing healthier physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This is a wonderful opportunity for those who are new but curious about yoga to learn more about its benefits and practices. Information about workshops and schedules is online at

Yours in yoga,
Paula Renuka Heitzner

YTA Workshops 

Saturday, November 11
1:30–4:30 p.m.

In Person at Club Fit

Align with the Divine

Yoga for Mind, Body,

and Heart

with Todd Norian

As human beings, we are the most miraculous and complex creations on the planet, yet we often forget our vast divine heritage and get stuck in our smallness. Our patterns of self-limiting beliefs stop us from living fully and truly enjoying life.

Take a deep dive into the life-affirming philosophy and practices of Ashaya Yoga that integrate body, mind, and heart, and reconnect you with your highest self. Join master yogi and internationally acclaimed teacher Todd Norian as he guides you step-by-step into the heart of the practice.

During this workshop, you will:

  • Align your body, mind, and heart with the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, and sky) using the Four Essentials of Ashaya Yoga (Open, Engage, Align, and Expand).
  • Explore the empowering and spiritually uplifting philosophy of Nondual Tantra.
  • Build inner strength, balance, and flexibility with alignment-based therapeutic asana.
  • Quiet the mind and cultivate inner peace through Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep)

Recommended Props:

  • 2 blocks, preferably foam and 4”, not the thinner blocks
  • 1 belt with a clasp
  • Blankets to sit on—a meditation pillow or thick sturdy towels can work as well
  • NOTE: Club Fit has limited props and no blankets, so please bring your own if you have them.

    Recommended reading: Tantra Yoga: Journey to Unbreakable Wholeness, A Memoir and Ashaya Yoga: Align Your Body, Awaken Your Heart Manual, both by Todd.

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

    Todd Norian, E-RYT 500, YACEP, internationally acclaimed yoga teacher, author, musician, founder of Ashaya Yoga, and a Kripalu Legacy Faculty, teaches classes, workshops, retreats, and teacher trainings both live in-person and online for students and teachers all over the world. Todd seeks to awaken others to their inherent potential for healing and joy by integrating the body, mind, and heart through yoga and meditation. Todd founded Ashaya Yoga® in 2012 to guide his students through an alignment-based, heart-centered practice that builds strength and flexibility while giving them access to a universe of power within. A student of yoga since 1980, Todd brings therapeutic and biomechanical knowledge and an unapologetic sense of humor to everything he does. As a classically trained jazz musician, Todd created several music albums for yoga and relaxation, including world-famous "Bija: Soothing Music and Mantras for Yoga and Meditation."

      Register Now

      2023–24 Workshops

      December 9

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

          Via Zoom    

      Lean into the wisdom from the Bhagavad Gita to implement emotional, physical, and cognitive self-regulation tools to improve your daily life both as a teacher and student. Learn the meaning of detachment and how you can apply this concept in your daily life. Learn more and register now!

      January 13

      So Much More Than Stretching: Teaching

      Chair Yoga Stretch
      with Beatrice Mattaway

      Learn how to stretch each muscle group deeply and safely, from the head, down to the toes. Suitable for everyone, and particularly ideal for athletes, seniors, pregnant women, and anyone with injuries that prevent sitting on the floor. Learn more...

      February 10

      Subtle Yoga: The Science Behind Slow, Mindful

      Yoga Practice with

      Kristine Kaoverii Weber

      Learn how slow, mindful yoga practices change the brain–both structurally and functionally–to support greater physical and mental health and well-being. We will also explore specific techniques and principles of asana practice to elicit positive neuroplasticity. Learn more...

      March 9
      A Spiritual Approach to Your Livelihood and

      Client Attraction
      with Laura Cornell

      April 13
      Starting Off on the Right Foot—New Perspectives

      on the Feet and Why They Matter with Doug Keller  


      May 11

      Radiate and Return: Relating to Your Core with 

      Jennifer Brilliant 

      June 8
      Quiet Channels: Creating

      a Steady Postural Base

      for Tranquil Asana

      with Aasia Lewis

      Important Note: The day-of pricing (see below) that has been suspended since spring 2020 has been reinstated. Register early to avoid the $10 surcharge.

      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.


      Align with the Divine: 

      Yoga for Body, Mind, and Heart

      by Todd Norian

      Align with the divine is a Tantric teaching that has incredible meaning and importance in life. Fate is what’s given to us. Destiny is what we do with it. In the Tantric tradition, we have agency, which means that we have the power to change our life and live our dream. We have the power to control our destiny. 

      The journey is always about the dance and interplay between our effort and grace. Like two wings of a bird, we need both effort and grace to fly. But so often we only flap the wing of effort. It’s all too easy to overdo everything, overdo relationship, work, taking care of others, eating. We get into cycles of overstriving that can leave us exhausted and depleted. Similarly, if we only flap the wing of grace, we tend to become ungrounded and spacey. We need the balance of both effort and grace to fly and glide through life’s ups and downs.

      When we have the balance of effort and grace, the heart opens. The heart is the place in the middle. There are three spiritual chakras above and three worldly chakras below. When you live in your heart and follow your heart, you’re in the dance of life. Sometimes you lead and grace follows and, at other times, she leads and you follow. 

      When there’s a balanced coparticipation between your own effort and the universe, it leaves you glowing and thriving in life. This is Tantra Yoga. When you align with the divine, you’re aligning with your deepest essence. But so many of us get out of balance. Without a strong personal practice, when we go out of balance, it’s difficult to get back into balance. We can often stay out of balance for days, weeks, months, or even years. Consistent practice over a long time brings us back to balance very quickly. We want to learn how to teach from this place.

      During the workshop on November 11, you’ll have the opportunity to come back into balance, let go of whatever is holding you back, and return home to your heart—to rest and digest and nurture yourself. You’ll have the opportunity to gain a deeper reflection of who you are as a spirit being and the life you’re creating. 

      As human beings, we are meaning-making machines. It’s not the experiences we’re left with that define who we are. It’s the meaning we assign to our experiences. We can either assign meaning that brings us down or lifts us up. As yogis and teachers, we want to uplift people. We want to support them to remove the veils that keep them small, covered, and burdened. And in order to give that to others, we need to do the deeper inner work ourselves. Yoga is a freedom, living in freedom, being free, and helping others choose to be free. 

      When you align with the divine, freedom begins to flow, windows of opportunity open up around you, and suddenly you’re in the right place at the right time. 

      There are times when I’m so aligned with the divine that I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. I’m able to see the perfect orchestration of my life and all of the events of my past, both positive and negative, that have brought me to where I am today. I’m able to appreciate the miracle of the moment and the miracle of this life. 

      This is what I call living in grace. It’s possible for all of us. As teachers we want to live from this place more and more so that we can become an inspiration for our students. We are the role models of balanced living, of living from the heart, of living and being the authentic experience of yoga! This is exactly what we’ll do in this workshop. It will be an honor to be with all of you! 

      I’m really looking forward to offering this workshop for the Yoga Teachers Association of the Hudson Valley. See you on the mat.

      To learn more about Toddvisit

      Yoga Q & A

      How do you assist a student who has osteoporosis with forward bends and twists?

      First, I dispel the idea of this being a problem and I offer my students the option of using this situation as an opportunity to connect with the body’s ability to change and improve.

      By understanding the correct anatomical alignments, they are able to access the hinges of the pelvis allowing forward bending from the hamstrings, stretching to lower the torso. It does not initiate from the thoracic spine and one goes only as far as the back of the legs allow.

      Twists, when done correctly, have been known to create better back conditions and more effective posture, but only when the torso is lengthened and lifted by the muscles in front of the body.

      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 New YTA Member
      Universal Healing Arts

      Shima Chayet, owner

      4 Crestview Avenue

      Cortlandt Manor, NY 10567


      (917) 279-9577

      How long has Universal Healing Arts been in existence?
      Four years.

      What is your yoga background/journey?
      I was working in corporate America as a vice president for a company, an all-consuming job. Looking for something to divert my energies, I ended up taking an energy healing class at Westchester Community College. This was so interesting to me that I ended up taking a Reiki class at Wainwright House in Rye with Libby Barnett, who had studied and was attuned by one of the original 22 Reiki masters who learned this ancient hands-on healing art in 1973.

      Simultaneously I had gone back to school at Georgian Court University and was certified in holistic health. I started a business called Infinite Possibilities that deals with holistic weight loss and the eventuality of people coming off their medications by their doctors. Still in existence today, there are seven offices throughout New York, New Jersey, and Florida.

      The next step was to expand into healing arts so that Infinite Possibilities and Universal Healing Arts could come together to offer an entire program of health and wellness.

      Have the past 2–3 years affected your practice and/or your teaching?
      I believe that most of us are feeling the effects of a tough economy, as well as another run-in with COVID that keeps most people in fear and at home. It has been much more effective for UHA when we call clients rather than texting. When you make a phone call, there is concern and caring that you cannot accomplish with a text.

      Do you have any upcoming events you want to share with YTA members and friends?
      UHA offers weekly Pilates, chair yoga, tai chi, yin yoga, and stretch and tone classes, as well as
      sound baths and a women’s AA meeting. We also offer massage, reflexology, Reiki healing and classes, Rising Star healing and classes, and acupuncture. Let me not forget Mommy and Me and singing classes! There are also featured speakers and a plethora of events that people can sign up for and attend. In addition, there is a beautiful crystal shop on the premises that also carries everything someone might need on their healing journey.

      UHA currently offers class packs as a savings for those who are interested in yoga, Pilates, stretch and tone, tai chi, and our Monday sound bath for adults. On November 4, we have a day of tarot taught by psychic medium Michelle Lorenzo. On November 11 we will start our day with Laura Aversano and an interactive class on ancestral healing. Laura has written many books and is often referred to as Spirit Walker. Laura also teaches at the Edgar Casey Institute. That same afternoon we will have sound healing for Reiki and yoga instructors taught by Marissa Dinki, who will demonstrate everything from tuning forks to crystal bowls. In November there will also be a class on human design and understanding how it affects us, as well as the people we deal with. 

      What are some of your favorite books, movies, music, quotes?
      I have several quotes that I absolutely love! “What you see depends on where you stand,” “There is no search for happiness; it is a reward for right living,” and “There is no such thing as competition; when we are all successful all boats rise,” to name a few. Movies, books, music? We would be here for years with my list of influential books and other forms of learning!

      Welcome, Shima. Thanks for joining us!

        Member News and Events

        • Get ahead of holiday stress with Dow Integrative Institute's "Night Night Nidra Holiday Calm" series with Julianne Roshan Dow, starting Thursday.
          Thursdays, 11/2–12/14, 9–10 p.m. or via recording; register here.
        • Stacey Hunter's beginner yoga class at the Ossining Public Library will feature live kirtan this week and will be followed by time to connect with community.
          Saturday, 11/4, 9:30–10:30 a.m.; register here.
        • Shamani Yoga's Betsy Ceva and Charlene Bradin are returning to in-person classes in Nyack this week. Check out the schedule here.
        • Unleash your inner goddess with Sama Shakti at PranaMoon Yoga.
          Saturday, 11/18, 6–8 p.m.; register here.
        • Embrace the season of gratitude with Franklin Shire at Sacred Spirit Yoga in Dobbs Ferry. This all-level community class will also collect funds for Midnight Run.
          Saturday, 11/25, 4:30–6 p.m.; register here.
        • As Beatrice Mattaway of Willow Tree Yoga (and YTA's January presenter!) says:
          "A regular yoga practice is one of your best defenses against the winter-strong bugs, flu, and colds. It also keeps our bodies limber and vital as the cold sets in and calms our harried minds as all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season kicks in."
          Find a class on Willow Tree's November calendar.
        • Breathe On Yoga's Chantale Bourdages offers yoga classes at the Ta Ra Institute in Valley Cottage. See the schedule here.
        • Iyengar teacher Nancy Kardon has a newly refreshed website—check it out!

        Every month in this space we will share some type of community news—local happenings, volunteer opportunities, member perks or news... If you have something you'd like to share, please email us.

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

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

        Final Thoughts

        If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.

        Lao Tzu

        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 / $75 day of)

        Board of Directors

        Gina Callender, ERYT 200, RYT 500, CEP

        Lorraine Burton



        Programming Chair

        Sylvia Samilton-Baker, MA, ERYT


        Terry Fiore Lavery, RYT (Editor)

        Cassie Cartaginese, RYT (Designer) 

        Social Media




        Board Member at Large
        Paula Heitzner, ERYT


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