November 2019 Newslette

The Yoga Teachers Association Proudly Presents

Yoga for Scoliosis: 

Principles and Practice 

 with  Alison West


Saturday, November 9
1:30-4:30 p.m. 

The Yoga Studio at
Club Fit
584 North State Road
Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510

Idiopathic scoliosis (of unknown origin), which develops most commonly among young people, and degenerative scoliosis, which occurs as a result of the aging process, will be the main focus of this workshop. 

Alison will discuss how scoliosis works and offer principles that govern the work as a whole. She has developed valuable teaching techniques to help students visualize their scoliosis more effectively. Main principles of practice will be addressed and explored through basic poses. 

You will learn about the curves, concavities, and rotation of the spine and how to absorb the curves, fill the concavities, and derotate the spine. The rotation of the spine perturbs the sense of where one is in space, so you will also learn how to use visual and sensing aids to help the body align and develop better proprioception. 

Alison West, PhD, E-RYT, C-IAYT, is director of Yoga Union, founded in 1996, and the Yoga Union Backcare & Scoliosis Center. Alison completed her certification in Yoga for Scoliosis with Elise Miller and has formulated principles of practice gleaned from her ongoing study of anatomy and kinesiology that can be applied to most forms of hatha yoga. She leads the only 150-hour backcare and scoliosis certification program and is currently writing her first yoga book, Yoga for Backcare, which will be followed by Yoga for Scoliosis

To attend Alison’s workshop, register now!

Workshops are $45 members / $65 nonmembers in advance ($55 / $75 at the door).

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.


My Journey

by  Alison West

My interest in scoliosis was fueled both by my own right thoracolumbar curve and my mother’s severe scoliosis, generated by having her left arm braced overhead for the first six months of her life. A boyfriend’s scoliosis is what originally brought me to yoga itself. I was looking for something that might help him with his back. Together we started yoga classes in Munich. 

When I returned to New York, I continued my studies, slowly making it my career path, and went on to train with both Elise Miller and Bobbie Fultz, the two Iyengar pioneers of yoga for scoliosis. I completed my certification in yoga for scoliosis with Elise Miller. I began anatomy studies with Irene Dowd in New York, and subsequently completed Gil Hedley’s life-changing six-day human dissection course for nonmedical professionals. I continued to study anatomy and kinesiology and developed new material for yoga for scoliosis. I also began using mudras, energy-channeling hand gestures that can deeply impact the body and mind.

In 2007, I cofounded the first and only dedicated yoga for backcare and scoliosis center in the world. There I conduct “Gold Standard” 200-hour Three-Pillars of Practice Teacher Trainings and a full 500-hour Mandala of Yoga Masters program and teach workshops and master classes nationwide, in Europe and in the Middle East. In 2011, on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I opened the new Yoga Union and Yoga Union Backcare & Scoliosis Center, with both a dedicated Backcare Program and a full regular yoga program from basics to level 3-4.

I also became involved in the creation of Yoga for NY in 2007, the organization that represents all yoga studios, teachers, and students in New York State, when the state attempted to license Yoga Teacher Trainings. I was elected Executive Director and Chair of Yoga for NY, which succeeded in defeating this licensing attempt with a bill signed into law by then Governor Paterson. I went on to defeat the city’s attempt to impose a “class tax” on yoga classes despite the prevailing view that this would be impossible to accomplish. 

My workshop will give the basic tools for reading a back and an understanding of the fundamental principles of action to help balance the spine, as well as the entire interconnected organic body. 

Learn more at


2019–2020 Workshops

November 9

Yoga and Scoliosis: Principles and Practice
Alison West 
Details and registration info in this newsletter and at

December 14
Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!: Exploring the Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Sandra Anderson
The HYP is a tantric text describing practices that focus on prana, the life force. Untrained, the pranic force runs according to instinct, social conditioning, and deep-seated distorted perceptions. As a result, we are likely to find our vitality exhausted and experience a vague sense of inner unrest. Sandra will discuss why working with prana is essential in these modern times and how the Pradipika’s tantric hatha yoga leads to mastery of the mind.

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

More information on the following workshops to come soon!

Ingrid Bacci: Yoga Meets the Alexander Technique
January 11

Mona Anand: Yoga Nidra and Restorative Yoga 
February 8

Deirdre Breen: Mudras—Empower Your Practice and Your Teaching
March 14

Stan Woodman: Tristana—The Three Pillars of Ashtanga Yoga
April 11

Lee Albert: Yoga for Pain Relief—Steps to an Extraordinary Life
May 9

Tao Porchon-Lynch: Eternal Youth Through Yoga
June 13


Words of Wisdom

from Paula Renuka Heitzner

Dear All, 

The study of yoga has become an unbelievable phenomenon. Not only has it catapulted interest because of its own merit, but the use of electronics and the Internet has enlarged and magnified the reach of this information to students in every part of the world and in every culture. 

Those of us who have been blessed by our personal involvement in yoga can understand the way the practice can feed the hunger for peace and joy, satisfying the nagging need to find what's missing in our lives. I believe, as an almost lifelong devotee of its teachings, the time has come to evaluate and differentiate the difference between a yoga practice and/or the practice of yoga.

We are very aware of the benefits of exercise and movement for our overall wellness, and yoga offers a balanced way to work every part of the body, gaining flexibility and strength. I think one shortchanges the self when yoga is practiced merely from the physical aspect. In the practice of yoga, the physical is the instrument that needs care and fine-tuning in order to render its promise, for which it was created. This fine-tuning leads us into the deeper realms of the mental and emotional aspects, liberating our connections to our higher energies and to the courage that lies deep within all of us, but for whatever reasons, we can't access easily. The practice of yoga connects us to our inner guide to help us on our journey to uncover and release our own voice, truth, and self-trust. We become able to empower ourselves, to transform from within and to grow in the direction inspired by our individual guides, becoming more focused and purposeful in our lives.

This month we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday—definitely a practice of yoga with its enriching emotion of gratitude for all our blessings. Let's use our positive meditations and attitudes to send blessings to those less fortunate, wherever they may be. 

And don't forget gratitude for the YTA, who offers a monthly workshop given by skilled presenters to support all and every journey. Remember, by showing up we might find what we didn't know we needed. 

Yours in yoga, 
Paula Renuka Heitzner


From the October Workshop
Daniel Orlansky


Your Thoug

Do the various yoga styles address  
specific areas only?

There are several different styles, lineages, and techniques in the practice of yoga. However, these are all performed on the one and only model of the human body with which we practice. No one part of this body can be involved exclusively because of the way we function, dependent on the precise integration that insures survival and thriving.

Pranayama focuses on the breath. Kundalini is yoga for the nervous system.Yin yoga holds the positions for a longer time to soften the musculature. Ashtanga yoga works toward mobility by jumping into poses and toward strengthening through vinyasa, also another type of practice. Kripalu yoga is about following the cues that come from within, and Iyengar yoga is founded on anatomical principles. There are other schools that overlap the focus, but it's all  good.

Hatha yoga offers something for everyone and brings to each one of us the opportunity to come into inner and outer balance.

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. Tell us your thoughts!

Paula Heitzner, ERYT– 500, is a Master Yoga Teacher. She has taught yoga for over 50 years and has trained many others to teach the time-honored principles, practices, and philosophy of yoga. The “teacher of teachers,” as she is called by her students, teaches at the New Age Center in Nyack. 

Learn more about Paula at


From the October Retreat at the Himalayan Institute with Todd Norian


Member Events 

YTA members (individuals & studios) are invited to include their events here. Send details to by the 15th of the month to be included in the following month’s newsletter. Member events are also posted in YTA's online directorythe source for information about yoga teachers, studios, and yoga teacher trainings throughout the Hudson Valley. To be included, individual and studio members may send their information to

Iyengar Yoga Scarsdale/Greenwich

Nancy Kardon
74 Brewster Road
Scarsdale, NY 10583


299 Greenwich Avenue, 3rd Fl

Greenwich, CT 06830


Iyengar Yoga Fundamentals 

Nov 16 (Sat, 11:45 am-12:45 pm)
Experience a first step into Iyengar Yoga with some basics fundamentals of this method where you are taught how to make the shapes and quiet the monkey mind. Preregister by email. $25         

Scoliosis & Back Care 
Nov 16 (Sat, 1:45-3:15 pm)
Learn about your assymetry: what moves out and what moves in; what is overworking and what is underworking and most importantly how to create space and bring balance. We use the rope wall and other traction action as we practice. Preregister by email. $25

Pranayama: A Gateway Practice to Meditation and Living Yoga

Nov 16 (Sat, 3:30-4:45 pm)
Prana is energy. We work with our vital energy with breath as a tool. A regular yoga practice is necessary to be able to work in a "less is more" way with the breath. In Iyengar Yoga, a prerequisite is asana practice to first connect with the skeletal body before beginning more subtle work with the breath. Preregister by email. $25 

Sutra Tea with Nancy Kardon 

Nov 16 (Sat, 5-6:10 pm)
Study and share with the Yoga Sutras as our springboard guide. Preregister by email please. No fee, but feel free to bring something to share (edible and otherwise) 

Riverstone Yoga
Contact: Laura Beam
2 Hudson View Way
Tarrytown, NY 10591
914-332-YOGA (9642)

Full Moon Ceremony with Sarah Brianna
Nov 18 (Mon, 7:30-9 pm)
Full moons are a time to let go of what is no longer serving you. This restorative practice will awaken your own natural healing capabilities. Leave feeling refreshed and recharged. $40

Sound Meditation with Gina
Nov 30 (Sat, 4-6 pm)
A sound bath is a deeply relaxing, meditative, and therapeutic experience that can enhance well-being, reduce stress and tension, and balance the autonomic nervous system to promote deep healing. $30

Yoga Culture
Kristine Habersang
105 Mill Plain Road
Danbury, CT 06811

Immunity Boosting Restorative with Aromatherapy Semi-Private

with Cristina Grosso

Nov 2 (Sat, 10-11:30 am)
Are you feeling run down? Are you fighting off colds and sore throats during this season transition? Come explore the healing properties of essential oils and yoga through this restorative session. Learn how DoTerra essential oils can boost your immune system to prevent and treat colds this season coupled with a restorative practice that will help to purify and balance. $46

Glowga! Glow in the Dark Yoga with Lauren Howe
Nov 8 (Fri, 7:30-8:45 pm)

Ain't no party like a Glowga party! Shine your light--literally. Wear your bright clothes and provided neon glow stick adornments while striking your poses under the blacklight. Move your body, listen to the beat of fun pop music, and experience asana like you never have before. $35

Yoga for Healthy Digestion Semi-Private with Lauren Howe
Nov 14 (Mon, 6-7 pm)
Got tummy troubles? Indigestion? Bloating? When your stomach is off, so is your whole day. Whether it’s caused by chronic stomach issues like IBS, a big meal, or food that simply doesn’t agree with you, indigestion and bloating never feel good. Join Lauren to learn specific poses that will help ease your stomach troubles away. $35

Thanksgiving Day Asana Practice with Jenny Schuck
Nov 28 (Thurs, 9-11 am)
Join Jenny for her annual Thanksgiving Day class centered on gratitude. Get your body moving before the feast and get your mind in the spirit of Thanksgiving. A tweak in perspective can be all it takes to witness the fullness of life. This class will be taught at a level 2 pace with modifications given for level 1 students. $35 by 11/21, $45 thereafter  


~ Final Thoughts ~

Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.

Ralph Waldo Emerson



Newsletter design and layout: Lisa Sloane 

Editorial team: Terry Fiore Lavery, Paula Heitzner, Audrey Brooks

Yoga Teachers Association was created by a small group of pioneering yoga teachers in 1979 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.


$50 for individual membership
$75 for studio membership


$45 members / $65 nonmembers in advance
($55 and $75 at the door)

Find out about and register for upcoming workshops at


Audrey Brooks

Vice President 
Lorraine Burton

Steven Cownie

Susan Edwards Colson

Board Member-At-Large
Paula Heitzner, ERYT

Program Coordinator
Robin Laufer, MS Ed, RYT 500

Special Events
Gina Callender

Terry Fiore Lavery, RYT

Newsletter Design & Layout
Lisa Sloane, MA, ERYT

President Emeritus
Tao Porchon-Lynch, ERYT, IAYT