February 2024 Newsletter

Words of Welcome

Dear All, 

The “Holiday Hoopla” is over, but do the damages of excess and stress continue? We now have the month of February, with the hushed hibernation enjoyed in the world of nature, available to us, as well as to help us regain balance and recover strength.

This calm atmosphere ushers us, very readily, into the inner world of our being. This opportunity can be used to settle the feelings of stress we find there, and also deal with the external factors of unrest, politically and globally. We are provoked and challenged by feelings of anxiety and inadequacies: How can I help? What can I do? How will this impact the future?

We can use our yoga practice to make the biggest contribution we can in a practical way. Stress keeps one from thinking or acting productively. The proliferation of stress continues to increase the overwhelming sense of darkness, fueled by fear. We have to use our practice to bring our own light into our lives, to stay well physically, and strong emotionally. That light can inspire another soul to find their path to peace, and so on…a way to help restore balance—one person at a time. We only have control over ourselves. Our self-empowerment permits us to face our shadows and to find the enlightenment within to light up our environment. This is entirely within our capabilities. This is the way to be in the now, the only way encouraged by our yoga sages.

We can insure our commitment to our practice, as well as adding to our conscious awareness, by taking advantage of the opportunities that YTA offers on the second Saturday of each month. Experience the benefits of a like-minded community and the variety of training offered by experienced teachers. We need your light! YTA is also offering in-person master classes and Kirtan-led chanting, to its members and to the general population interested in these events, in addition to our regularly scheduled programs.

Yours in yoga,

Paula Renuka Heitzner

YTA Workshops and Events

Saturday, February 10
1:30–4:30 p.m.

Via Zoom

Subtle Yoga:

The Science Behind Slow, Mindful Yoga Practice


Kristine Kaoverii Weber

Yoga is not just for fitness. Slower, more gentle classes are becoming more popular and have unique health benefits that are different from those of faster-paced yoga. In this workshop you will learn how subtle yoga practices change the brain both structurally and functionally to support greater physical and mental health and well-being.

Kristine Kaoverii Weber has spent years studying the science behind and the benefits of a slower, more mindful practice. This type of yoga facilitates interoceptive awareness and parasympathetic homeostasis in the nervous system. These are essential components in combating the ravaging effects of stress and improving chronic health problems. Since six out of ten adults in the U.S. have chronic health conditions, the potential of slow, mindful yoga in helping to shift the trajectory of poor health among various populations is tremendous.

Kristine has seen firsthand how exhausted, stressed out, frustrated, and tired students experience reduced pain, better sleep, greater ease of movement, increased flexibility and strength, a calmer nervous system, a better relationship with their bodies, a stronger mind, a deeper connection to their spirituality, and a reduction in the use of alcohol and drugs and/or medication.

We’ll look at the most cutting-edge neuroscientific findings about slow, mindful movement, and you’ll learn ways to describe the benefits to current and potential students. We will also explore specific techniques and principles of asana practice to elicit positive neuroplasticity.

Recommended Props: Blanket, bolster, mat

A recording will be made available to all registrants for two weeks following the workshop.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Kristine Kaoverii Weber, MA, C-IAYT, eRYT500, is a leading world authority on the neuroscientific benefits of slow mindful yoga and an advocate for the use of these practices as an integral part of the solution to the healthcare crisis. She is leading the charge to get slow, mindful practices to people who desperately need them through her Subtle® Yoga Revolution series of online courses and trainings for yoga teachers–which have been praised by thousands all over the world. She is the director of the Subtle® Yoga Teacher Training for Behavioral Health Professionals program at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Health Sciences at MAHEC and the Yoga Therapy representative on the Integrative Health Policy Consortium in Washington, D.C., where she advocates for the integration of yoga into the healthcare system. Kristine has been an avid student of yoga since 1989, teaching yoga since 1995, and training teachers since 2003. She presents workshops and trainings internationally and is frequently invited to speak about yoga at healthcare conferences and on podcasts. She is the author of Healing Self Massage and has published numerous articles. Her work has been featured in Yoga Therapy Today, YogaU, Redbook, BodySense, Women's World, Natural Health, and Lifetime TV. She is currently conducting research on Subtle® Yoga for addiction recovery. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her New Zealander husband Brett, son Bhaerava, and neuroprotective cat, Jerry.

    Register Now

    2024 Offerings

    March 9
    How to Practice Conscious Business: Five Steps to Empowered Growth as a Wellness Practitioner
    with Laura Cornell
        Via Zoom    
    Learn from a pro how to focus your offerings and harness your divine power to attract clients and grow your yoga or other wellness business. Gain tips and inspiration to grow your clientele, increase income, and boost confidence. Learn more and register now!

    March 23, 2–4 p.m.
    Spring Kirtan
    Jane Slotnick
        At Nyack Yoga Center    
    Celebrate the renewal of the spring season in community with bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion. Kirtan is a call-and-response style of singing a mantra invoking the Hindu gods with roots in the Vedic tradition. You don't need to know how to sing or read music. If you are unsure or nervous about participating, you are welcome to simply observe and enjoy!

    April 13
    Starting Off on the Right Foot
    with Doug Keller
        At Club Fit and via Zoom   
    Join Doug Keller, an authority on yoga anatomy and therapy, to discover how actions based in the feet can affect sacral/low back, hip, and knee health. Discover a new perspective on the foundation provided by the feet and how the most fundamental poses of yoga are tools for improving wellness in these joints.

    May 11
    Radiate & Return: Relating to Your Core
    Jennifer Brilliant
    Anchoring your limbs to your core in yoga practice can support you in feeling whole and guide you to move with more fluidity and ease. In this workshop, we will discuss and explore what parts of your body to include in your concept of your core. Jennifer’s eclectic approach is informed by in-depth and decades-long work in dance, personal training, Pilates, Alexander Technique, yoga and more.

    June 8
    Quiet Channels: Creating a Steady Postural Base for Tranquil Asana
    with Aasia Lewis
        Via Zoom    
    The groins connect the pelvis to the legs, and due to their intimate, subtle nature, have the capacity to disrupt the orientation of the pelvis, which impacts the core of standing poses and the foundation of seated ones. In this workshop, we will explore the quieting of the inner groins and thighs during standing and seated postures to experience the effects of a soft abdomen and a widened base (specifically the glutes and backs of the thighs). The quiet channels of the groins bring us into a state of ease, equilibrium, and equanimity, supporting us far beyond the asana practice.

    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.

    If Your Yoga Teaching Is Not Functional to Begin with... 

    by Kristine Kaoverii Weber

    The other day I was speaking with a new teacher. She told me that she did a 200-hour training. “But when I got out there and started to teach,” she said, “I realized that what I had learned in my training was completely inappropriate for the people who were turning up for my classes.”

    *Sigh*I’ve heard this story way too many times.

    My first experiences with yoga were slow and mindful in the ’70s and ’80s, so I was surprised when, after returning from living in Asia for four years, I went to a class in 1995 in New Jersey which was a fast, sweaty, thumping-with-music kind of workout. The teacher and her front row students could do all sorts of amazing things with their bodiesand those of us hiding in the back were labeled “beginners” (in a friendly enough way) and encouraged to work harder because, eventually, we’d get there too.

    But, I would later learn, “You’ll get there eventually” isn’t accurate. Mobility is largely genetic and use-dependent—if your mom was Gumby, you’re probably golden, or if you were trained as a gymnast or dancer, you have some advantage.

    Thankfully, very soon after that, I found some Viniyoga classes and in them, something that resonated with me and how I’d originally learned to practice. It also dovetailed well with the qigong I had studied. These classes weren’t easy, but they also didn’t feel out of my flexibility league or risky. They were intentional—I was confident in what I was doing with my body, and I felt like every pose had a purpose and there was a mindful, logical order to the sequences.

    Clearly things have changed in the yoga world over the past 30 years. With a growing body of promising research and increasing recognition from health care professionals, yoga teachers are more aware that many people are coming to yoga for reasons other than flexibility or fitness, such as stress relief and the mental health benefits.

    Which means yoga teaching is necessarily changing.

    Recently, I’ve been hearing and reading about functional yoga. It’s a term that’s being used to describe more adaptable ways of teaching and practicing. Instead of creating goals around accomplishing poses, the idea is that you use asanas as a way to support movement in your daily life.  

    Functional yoga is an offshoot of the functional movement trend in the fitness industry. It’s being positioned as an alternative to “aesthetic” yoga practice, or doing asanas to create pleasing looking shapes. So instead of focusing on trying to do the pose “the right way,” you focus on how your body feels with the movement and how the movement supports your needs.

    This, in turn, is meant to help you develop strength, flexibility, balance, and stability. Like other functional fitness training, functional yoga may target specific functional movements such as squatting, lunging, twisting, reaching, and bending.

    And all this is great—because asanas should be functional. I’m a big fan of function.

    However, I’m left wondering… If your yoga practice isn’t functional to begin with, what have you been doing to yourself? And, for teachers, what have you been teaching others?

    Have the past three decades of yoga in the West been such a dysfunctional mess that now the consensus is that a new style of asana practice must be developed to counter the effects? In order to rectify the problems created by ignoring biomechanics and individual differences for so long?

    The older I get, the more I enjoy and need asana practice, and I know many people who feel the same. It’s great that yoga teachers are working on trying to teach yoga in a more functional way. But if many teachers have been trained to teach a fundamentally dysfunctional practice, what is the scale of the harm that has been done? What is the scale of harm that is still being perpetuated by not focusing on the functional?

    Recently I saw a video of a physical therapist saying, “We do too many forward bends in yoga, and so our hamstrings are weak, overstretched, and thin. And we do too many quad exercises in yoga, and so our quads are overdeveloped and tight.”

    Which left me wondering, Who is she talking about when she says “we”? And what kind of yoga is she referring to exactly? What kind of yoga did she learn when she studied it? What kind of yoga does she believe everyone is doing?

    The answer, of course, is the mainstream stuff. Which, it appears, fitness and movement professionals are now starting to call out as dysfunctional and to dismantle.

    Of course, I feel empathy for people who’ve spent a lot of time and money learning to teach yoga that is not functional to begin with; however, the alternatives are out there—and they’ve been out there for a long time. You will have to chip away at the veneer that’s crusted over social media in order to find yoga that has always been taught functionally, but it’s there, mostly ignored or labeled “beginner” or “gentle.”

    I always thought more functional ways of practicing were overlooked because they weren’t exciting, but who knows, it looks like functional may become the new sexy.  

    To learn more about Kristine, visit subtleyoga.com.

    Yoga Q & A

    Can yoga help relieve the pressure and doldrums after the holidays?

    Recently, a student commented that she always looks forward to the holidays, but it always end with her being “weighted down” by the celebrations. Can yoga help?

    Yes! We hold many expectations and experience extreme pressure at this time. The festive food and drink, too much of it and the wrong kind, offers us comfort. Yoga teaches us about nonattachment, aparigraha, and the negative consequences of expectations. Develop the gift of detachment and positive thinking to fill yourself, along with your inner joy, peace, and gratitude for the holidays. Also, keep moving with your practice.

    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 

     Black History Month

        Did you know that Rosa Parks practiced and taught yoga? As did Angela Davis and Smokey Robinson, among others famous Black Americans.

        In honor of Black History Month, please enjoy this not-exhaustive roundup of links, yoga-related and not, to celebrate, learn about, and connect with Black history this month—and every other month.

        Please share your own links and resources and/or how you are celebrating this month on our Facebook page or in reply!

        Yoga-Related Info and Resources

        Yoga Books by Black authors Non-Yoga Resources

        Local Black-Owned Business
        (Note: Some of the information/links in these lists might be outdated)

        Local BHM Events


        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 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 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


        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

        Vice President
        Lorraine Burton

        Tony Salmon



        Programming Chair

        Sylvia Samilton-Baker, MA, ERYT


        Terry Fiore Lavery, RYT (Editor)

        Cassie Cartaginese, RYT (Designer) 

        Social Media

        Chantale Bourdages


        Victoria Moya

        Board Member at Large
        Paula Heitzner, ERYT



        Copyright © 2024 Yoga Teachers Association. All rights reserved.

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