December 2019 Newslette

The Yoga Teachers Association Proudly Presents

Exploring the Hatha Yoga Pradipika 

with Sandra Anderson

Saturday, December 14
1:30-4:30 p.m.

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

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika is the most influential premodern text on hatha yoga. It 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. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika shows us how the exuberant instinctive forces and the rampaging mind can be brought to heel, awakening and empowering our self-awareness and inner locus of control. 

Sandra will provide an overview of the text and its historical context; review and practice selected asanas, mudras, bandhas, and pranayamas; reframe the purpose of hatha yoga; and discuss why working with prana is essential and how the Pradipika’s tantric hatha yoga leads to mastery of the mind. 

How well trained is your inner beast? Join us for an afternoon of practice and discovery. 

Sandra Anderson’s teaching and writing reflects her immersion in the living oral tradition, 35 years of study and practice, and training in Sanskrit. With a background in the natural sciences, Sandra has a unique capacity to convey the richness of spiritual life in our contemporary world. She is the coauthor of the award-winning book, Yoga: Mastering the Basics, and a frequent contributor to Yoga International’s online magazine. Sandra is a senior faculty member at the Himalayan Institute, where she resides and teaches yoga, meditation, and philosophy nationally and internationally. 

To attend Sandra’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.


Lions, Tigers, Elephants

and Prana

From Asana to Samadhi: Exploring the  Hatha Yoga Pradipika

by Sandra Anderson

Just as lions, tigers, and elephants are gradually controlled, so prana is controlled through practice. Otherwise the practitioner is destroyed.
Hatha Yoga Pradipika 2:15

How well-trained is your inner lion-tiger-elephant? This verse from the preeminent hatha yoga text, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, suggests that we all have a beastly inclination in need of taming. This is probably not news to you; most of us know our inner lion-tiger-elephant all too well! It’s the part of us that wants what it wants when it wants it, regardless of the consequences. It’s the blind instinct of life: the powerful drives of hunger, fear, sex, and sleep. It’s our inner two-year-old stamping her foot and refusing to share her cookies, eat her peas, or go to bed on time. This untrained lion-tiger-elephant resists any efforts at discipline or restraint. Unregulated, it rampages blindly through life, driven by instinct and habit. From the yogic point of view, we are acting out patterns laid down in the unconscious mind, spinning on the wheel of karma, mindlessly squandering prana, our precious life force, on worldly affairs without making an attempt to realize the purpose of life.

However, the verse also implies that although we have inherited a beastly side, we have also inherited an inner-wild-animal trainer. In other words, we have the inherent capacity to control prana and regulate the life force that animates our body and mind. This trainer has intelligent self-awareness, and serves as an inner locus of control that is not thoughtlessly driven by unregulated passions, selfish desires, fear, or greed. Our inner trainer has discrimination, intention, and purpose. Our inner trainer has the capacity to train the exuberant pranic force and create a harmonious, enjoyable inner world. Now the question becomes: what kind of training, and how do we train ourselves? As for what kind of training, here’s a hint:  the verse appears in the chapter about pranayama practice, in a text on the practice of hatha yoga.

As for how: prana gradually comes under control with practice. Perhaps that reminds you of what Patanjali tells us right up front in the Yoga Sutra (YS 1:14): “That [practice] becomes firm only when done for a long period of time, with no interruption, and with reverence.” He’s explaining abhyasa, the “ardent effort to retain the peaceful flow of the mind free from roaming tendencies.” Bringing prana under control reins in the wild-animal mind, roaming under the spell of its habits and instincts, but mastery is achieved only with sustained, uninterrupted, reverent practice.

Like instincts, our individual karmic samskaras can be deeply ingrained in our unconscious mind. It takes time and consistency to create positive new habits that are just as strong as our undesirable old habits. This is true of training elephants and tigers, and it is true of training our mind. Patience is required in training wild animals, and that is just what is needed in working with our inner lion-tiger-elephant. Patience means having reasonable expectations, avoiding condemnation, staying the course in the face of setbacks, and cultivating commitment for the long run. It also requires having faith in the practice and in the process of training. Faith, or shraddha, develops from knowledge and understanding, from our own experience, and from confidence in the experience of those who have gone before us—the lineage and tradition of teachers and practitioners who have shared their accomplishments and their methods. Without faith, doubt undermines our dedication and consistency of effort.

Finally, practice with reverence. Have respect for the inner lion-tiger-elephant and its enormous strength and power. After all, our animal nature is also an expression of the divine, worthy of our respect, and essential for our life here in the phenomenal world. The Sanskrit word sevita, translated in this verse as “practice,” has connotations of protection and preservation, as well as pursuit and practice. We must be firm and consistent in practice, yes, but we must also feed and protect our inner lion-tiger-elephant self. Think of it this way: love and serve your teeth and claws, and they will love and serve you.

And now we come to the consequences of not training ourselves. “The sadhaka (practitioner) is destroyed,” reads the last stanza of this verse. At the mercy of haphazard experiences, instinct, social conditioning, and deep-seated distorted perceptions, the untrained mind creates enormous stress in the mind and body, and so we fall victim to distress, sorrow, anger, and disease. Untrained, the pranic force runs amok, exhausting our vitality in the pursuit of worldly and instinctive desires. We suffer; we die in ignorance; the practitioner is destroyed. The great gift and promise of yoga is that we can bring the wild animal to heel. Then our passions, in the service of a greater intelligence, operate joyfully and harmoniously at every level of our being. Our vision begins to clear, and we realize that our life’s beastly inclinations and all is emanating from the source of divine consciousness, eternally pulsing in the depths of our heart.

*From Himalayan Institute's Wisdom Library, February 16, 2017.

Learn more about Sandra at


2019–2020 Workshops

December 14
Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!: Exploring the Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Sandra Anderson

Details and registration info in this newsletter and at

January 11
Yoga Meets the Alexander Technique
Ingrid Bacci
Like yoga, the Alexander Technique is all about the quest for effortlessness and inner calm. By introducing the two disciplines to each other, each of them deepens and becomes more rewarding. Join Ingrid to discover how the Alexander Technique’s approach to somatic self-awareness can improve all your yoga asanas as well as your meditative practices and learn how to continually initiate, moment by moment, more freedom of movement in everything you do.

February 8
Yoga Nidra and Restorative Yoga 
Mona Anand
Yoga nidra is a guided meditation practiced used for many purposes, including deep relaxation and experiencing an expanded state of consciousness. This workshop will begin with gentle asana to release tension, followed by a series of restorative poses accompanied by soothing hands-on adjustments and essential oils. The practice will end with a forty-minute yoga nidra that will include all nine steps of Mona Anand’s ISHTA Yoga Nidra, a system designed by Mona and Alan Finger. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

More information on the following workshops to come soon!

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

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

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

June 13
Eternal Youth Through Yoga
Tao Porchon-Lynch 


Words of Wisdom

from Paula Renuka Heitzner

Dear All, 

This time of year certainly makes demands on us, bringing into sharper focus the need to slow down, relax, and breathe deeply to reboot, one of the many perks of the practice of yoga. We also benefit from the cultivated ability to adapt and adjust in order to physically stretch all our resources safely and sanely.

As we go deeper into our yoga practice, we recognize the wisdom in bringing this learning to the mental and emotional levels of our lives. We tend to become more frantic as the year draws to a close and the celebratory preparations escalate, depleting our energy reserves as we seek satisfaction from our efforts. Our yoga practice is never more relevant. 

As 2019 draws to a close, let's think about how to move forward in ways that truly serve us. An obvious way would be to avail ourselves of the amazing workshops and awesome presenters offered by the YTA. A community of like-minded lovers of yoga can provide a strong stepping-off point to meet and greet each other and the year ahead.

May the coming holidays and the New Year hold blessings and peace for all people in every part of the world. 

Yours in yoga, 

Paula Renuka Heitzner


Your Thoughts

What are the differences between a yoga teacher and a yoga therapist? 

A yoga teacher instructs the principles inherent in the classical venue of Hatha Yoga, in and of itself beneficial to the practitioner. A yoga therapist uses yoga in a deeper physiological way that requires special training with medical overtones. 

Thus, in a yoga therapy session, the work will go deeper to bring about relief for specific conditions.

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 November workshop
with Alison West


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

Donna Laughter Yoga
Donna Bernstein
Briarcliff, NY

Certified Laughter Yoga Leader Training (CLYL) with Donna Bernstein
Feb 1 & 2 (Sat & Sun, 9-5 pm) OR Feb 4 & 5 (Tues & Wed, 9-5 pm)
Take this life-changing training if you want to lead Laughter Yoga sessions for fun, get paid to laugh, infuse laughter into your current work, or just energize yourself during two joyous days of laughter and learning.  $375 before Jan 1; $400 thereafter

Iyengar Yoga Scarsdale/Greenwich
Nancy Kardon
74 Brewster Road
Scarsdale, NY 10583


299 Greenwich Avenue, 3rd Fl
Greenwich, CT 06830

Iyengar Yoga Fundamentals with Nancy Kardon 
Dec 21 (Sat, 11:45 am-12:45 pm)
Learn Iyengar yoga basics for those new to this method of yoga. You will build from the ground up, how to make the asana postures/shapes and quiet your reactive/monkey mind. $25     

Scoliosis & Back Care with Nancy Kardon 
Dec 21 (Sat, 1:45-3:15 pm)
Learn about your asymetry: what moves out and what moves in; what is overworking and what is underworking an, most importantly, how to create space and bring balance. We use the rope wall and other traction action as we explore in the practice. Open to all yoga practitioners. Preregister by email. $25

Pranayama: A Gateway Practice to Meditation and Living Yoga

with Nancy Kardon 
Dec 21 (Sat, 3:30-4:45 pm)
Prana is energy. We work with our vital energy with breath as a tool of presence. 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 subtler work with the breath. $25 (cash or check)

Sutra Tea with Nancy Kardon 
Dec 21 (Sat, 5-6:10 pm)
Meet and greet and share with the Yoga Sutras as our springboard guide. Fee free to bring a tea treat to share. By donation 

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

Riverstone Yoga Teacher Training Info Sessions with Amy Soucy
Dec 5 (Sun, 11:30 am-12:15 pm) & Dec 12 (Thurs, 7:30-8:15 pm)
We will explore many different yoga styles including Hot Yoga (26), Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Yin, and Iyengar. Our training has been created to help you find your personal power and passion, courage and strength both on and off the mat, whether you aspire to instruct or simply wish to grow your practice to a new level. Our philosophy is to introduce you to yourself, to encourage you to find your path and the healing power of yoga for yourself and your students. We are a Yoga Alliance Certified School. Free

Full Moon Ceremony with Sarah Brianna
Dec 13 (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 

Pop Up Hip Hop Hot Yoga Class with Larissa
Dec 5 (Thurs, 6:15-7:30 pm)
Candles light the room in this music driven class. Set in a 80°-90° room, this sweat-inducing, mood-boosting power core connects breath with movement in a nonstop flow that will get your heart rate elevated. Get vigorous, build up strength with core postures and movement to your favorite hip hop jams. This vinyasa class ends with a relaxing cool down and a nice long savasana. $20

MELT for the Holidays with Joy
Dec 7 (Sat, 12 noon-1:30 pm)
Give yourself a gift of self-care. Learn how to rejuvenate your body, reduce pain, and restore core connection to keep your holiday spirits strong and stable. $30

Crossover Yoga Project

Elisha Simpson

914 236 0447

Trauma informed Training at Well Haus of Westchester (Pelham, NY)
Jan 11 & 12 (Sat & Sun) 
CYP’s trauma-informed training offers a practical skill set that can be used in different professional work settings to manage stress and enhance our well-being. Learn useful resources, instruction, and support to understand how trauma impacts our daily lives, and how therapeutic interventions assist in finding balance. This 15-hour training includes an overview of trauma and its impact on our body, minds, and behaviors, techniques to manage stress and anxiety, understanding what intersectionality is, and how that affects us on and off the mat. Participants receive a manual, support, and practices that can be used immediately for yourself and others. 200-hour yoga Instructors are eligible for 15 Yoga Alliance credits. $395

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

Essential Oils 101 with Christina Grosso
Dec 1 (Sun, 2-3:30 pm)
Come explore the uses of essential oils for health and wellness. Participants will learn about the healing properties of oils and how to reduce toxins in daily life. Workshop includes sampling oils, handouts, recipes, and more! $35.

Yoga for Healthy Knees Semi-Private Lesson with Janette Petrovich
Dec 12 (Thurs, 6-7 pm)
Whether you have tender knees, knee pain, injured knees, challenged knees, hyper- extended knees or if you’re weak in the knees, this semi-private can help. Learn key actions of the feet and lower legs to help stabilize and align your knees in a variety of common poses. This lesson will troubleshoot some common postures that exacerbate hyper-extension in the knees such as Triangle pose, Pyramid pose, standing forward bends, and seated forward bends. This is also a great practice for anyone looking to improve the alignment and strength of their legs. $35

Yoga Nidra: Guided Meditation and Relaxation with Allison Ray Jeraci
Dec 13 (Fri, 7:30-8:30 pm)
Practice the art of Savasana. In this practice, your are guided into a relaxed but alert state of meditation. We will explore this receptive state by setting an intention, becoming aware of the sensations lingering in the body, feeling the breath and energetic body around us and coming to a place of detachment, a time for self-reflection and deep relaxation. $30

New Year’s Day Asana Practice with Jenny Schuck
Jan 1 (Wed, 10 am-12 noon)
Join Jenny for a special 2-hour class to ring in the New Year! We'll awaken the spine and the soul as we enter 2020. Given at level 2 with modifications given for levels 1 and 3. $35 by 12/31; $45 on January 1

~ Final Thoughts ~


December 2019

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 



Yoga Teachers Association (YTA) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding learning opportunities for teachers and students in the Hudson Valley. YTA was begun by a group of pioneering yoga teachers in 1979 who saw the need for affordable and continuing yoga education. Today, YTA continues the mission with monthly workshops presented by the leading yoga teachers of our time for the benefit of the community. All are invited. Memberships and additional contributions are deductible to the extent allowable by law.

Copyright © 2019 Yoga Teachers Association. All rights reserved.

Yoga Teachers Association • 21-39 Croton Lake Road • Katonah, NY 10536 • USA