January 2020 Newslette

Words of Welcome
from Paula Heitzner

Here we are, beginning a new year and a new decade, certainly an auspicious time! We look forward with great zeal and optimism, as we rightly should, to how we will manifest, at long last, that which will help us to experience greater fulfillment.

One thing I learned from the years that have passed is that the promises and resolutions put forth at the time of holiday excitement dismally slow down and dim as the energy stabilizes. In fact, the old habits and patterns that were to be changed for the better might even alter to become more fixed and stuck. 

I would like to share my personal experiences of the last two years that have enriched and changed my practice of yoga. As we all know, because of our interest and involvement in yoga, with its philosophies and all-encompassing teachings, we have a head start toward those changes we desire. At the first YTA retreat at the Himalayan Institute led by Luke Ketterhagen, one point he made resulted in a major physical shift for me resulting in greater freedom of thought. The refinement of Mula Bhanda by using the image of how an octopus travels toward the surface of the sea changed my existing point of view, thus allowing my mind to be more flexible and my physical body to use the strength of the pelvis more efficiently. 

At the second YTA retreat at the Himalayan Institute with Todd Norian, another simple teaching resulted in greater stability of the shoulder girdle, with the supported expansion of the rib cage permitting more activity for the breath to enhance the function of the heart and lungs. The teaching of simply moving the head of the humorous bone back brought greater alignment to the shoulder, the rotator cuff, the neck, and in the embodiment of the rib cage over the pelvis.

At this time I am choosing to embrace these teachings, as well as those that continue to evolve through my practice, to enhance, brighten, and strengthen the "now" which ultimately becomes the future. This is my New Year's resolution. We have within us all the joy and light we seek and through our practice, the means to intuit our path and to be inspired as we integrate these teachings for our own greater good.

Make sure your "list" includes attending the monthly YTA workshops that are held the second Saturday of each month at Club Fit in Briarcliff. See the exciting lineup of workshops and presenters below and on our website. And keep in mind the third annual YTA retreat!

Yours in yoga, 
Paula Renuka Heitzner

2020 Workshops

Yoga Meets
the Alexander Technique
with Ingrid Bacci

In this 100 percent experiential workshop, Ingrid will share how to dramatically increase ease and flow in your yoga practice by integrating principles based on the Alexander Technique, a famous approach to movement education that has often been called Western Zen. 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 meditative practices. You will explore using specific thought processes to release unconscious tensions in your body; the critical role that the neck and hip joints play in fostering tension or ease; how to move more easily by releasing both neck and hip joints, and how to continually initiate, moment by moment, more freedom of movement in everything you do.

Saturday, January 11, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
The Yoga Studio at 
Club Fit
584 North State Road
Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510

Ingrid Bacci, PhD, CST, CAT, is an Alexander Technique teacher, yoga teacher, and craniosacral therapist in private practice in Cortlandt Manor, New York. She is the author of three books on self-healing, including the bestselling The Art of Effortless Living and Effortless Pain Relief, which was featured in Oprah’s magazine. She has taught her unique approach to self-healing throughout the United States, Europe, and South America.

Read about Ingrid's journey to yoga below!

Register Now

Future Workshops

February 8
Yoga Nidra and Restorative Yoga with Mona Anand
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. Read more ... 

March 14
Mudras: Empower Your Practice and Your Teaching with Deirdre Breen
Mudras are a powerful tool of self-care that influence the expression of the doshas (kapha, pitta, and vata), the biological forces that govern the expression of nature’s five elements both within and around us. Read more ... 

More information on the following workshops coming soon!

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 

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.

From the December Workshop
with Sandra Anderson

What Is Yoga?

by Ingrid Bacci

Some of us come to yoga in a quest to resolve problems with pain, to reduce stress, or to explore our fascination with the body. Others come as part of a spiritual journey, in a quest for greater meaning and personal transcendence. Still others come to yoga seeking emotional balance, freedom from negative emotions, and liberation from a karmic inheritance. Because yoga is a profound discipline, wherever we begin our journey, we eventually find ourselves addressing all these dimensions of healing: physical, emotional, and spiritual.

I was introduced to yoga in 1975 when I was a young professor of philosophy, through the renowned philosopher Mircea Eliade’s classic book, written in 1936, Yoga: Immortality and Freedom. Yoga, as Eliade described it, is the pathway to direct knowledge, or the ability to liberate ourselves from illusion. But if ultimate wisdom and the freedom it brings is the goal of yoga, why and how must we use the body to get there? What is it that we are looking for through bodily exploration, beyond greater strength, stability, focus, and alignment? And why can bodily self-awareness lead us to the truth with a big capital “T”? The challenges I faced in my own life led me to explore those questions. The answers to those questions all revolve around one thing: the body is the seat of what is unconscious ourselves. What lies beyond consciousness includes both our restrictions and limitations (all the forms that ego takes), and our higher self. The path into the body brings what is unconscious to light in order to let go of what binds us and become free.

My own life took me out of a purely intellectual journey as a philosopher and into intensive somatic self-exploration. In 1976 I began to suffer from severe chronic pain. No amount of hospitalization or conventional medical care helped me. Over the years I came to realize that my dis-ease was the result of a combination of factors: on the physical level, scoliosis and a tight ligamentous structure; on the mental level, a hard-driving, self-critical type A personality; and on the karmic level, buried emotional conflicts dating to infancy and before. I was tied up in knots, and it was my body, not my mind, that was showing me that.

I spent years studying meditation with an Indian spiritual teacher, all of which helped. Then I discovered the Alexander Technique in the late 1980s and its study opened the door to a complete change in understanding of who we are and how to heal. The Alexander Technique is a specific approach to learning how to identify and release unconscious physiological tension. While this tension is physical, it affects every aspect of our being: our thought processes, emotional reactions, and so on. You can’t change those thought processes or emotional reactions more than marginally through mental analysis or psychotherapy, because ultimately the body rules the mind. FM Alexander, the founder of the Alexander Technique, showed that all of us carry excess physiological tension all the time, and demonstrated that this unconscious tension underlies physical disease, as well as mental and emotional stress. He developed ingenious methods for helping people identify, observe, and release this tension. The consequence of putting your primary attention on noticing, feeling,and releasing physiological tension is that life as a whole becomes increasingly effortless, the mind becomes more peaceful, perception becomes more accurate, health improves, and it becomes easier to stay detached in the face of life’s bumps.Does this sound like yoga? It is. It’s not the same as yoga, but it shares a lot of yoga’s ultimate aims. It just uses different tools, a different terminology, and comes from a different culture.

The path into the subtle body in yoga is the path into more and more refined sensation and perception. It’s a path toward effortlessness. We move from the grosser to the subtler sensations and perceptions. As we learn to do this, we are increasingly able to release negative karmic issues, tied to heavier and grosser sensations (being more tamasic or rajasic), and move toward lighter, more expansive and sattvic states. This process of refinement can only happen if we make effortlessness—softening and letting go—more important than achieving, being right, or any other ego issue. The deeper we move into refined physiological sensation, the more we let go of outer compulsions and reactions. The commitment to the exploration of lighter and lighter states of being is a very important aspect of higher yogic practice. This is a process of ever subtler physiological awareness.

The quest for effortlessness, with everything it implies, both mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, has been a guiding force in my understanding, study, and teaching of both the Alexander Technique, craniosacral therapy (which I have practiced and taught internationally since 1994), and yoga. It has also been the focus of my three books on self-healing: The Art of Effortless Living, Effortless Pain Relief, and Fear-Less Now.

The practice of yoga extends far beyond our workout on the mat, in which most of our attention is on strengthening, stabilizing,and expanding the body. As yogis, we all seek to release our own samskaras (grosser physical, spiritual, and emotional restrictions) and become more attuned to our more refined, sattvic selves. And this is a process that takes place every moment of every day. The conscious pursuit of physiological effortlessness, which is identical with deepening peace, can be a great adjunct to the yogi’s journey, and can help deepen one’s understanding of the core meaning of ancient yogic practices.  

Yoga Q & A

Are itchy hands and feet when doing restorative yoga the result of toxins leaving the body?

Restorative yoga accesses deep relaxation and focus on the breath by using props to support the different parts of the body. This practice helps to release the stress and tension patterns that block and lock up our energy flow. By entering a supported position, we are better able to release the fear, anxiety, and pain that often appears.

We learn how to manage these tense and frightened muscles, which puts us on the path of redoing the physicality of any given asana by changing our habitual approach. 

As this pathway of energy and circulation flows more easily, the blocks being removed, the freed energy, and Prana could result in itching, tingling, vibrating, etc, as the balance is being restored. Deep, slow breathing and hydration is always good at these times, taking care of any toxicity that may arise.

This section is dedicated to answering your questions about yoga—as a student or as a teacher. Questions? Comments? Send them to ytaeditor@gmail.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 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 at the New Age Center in Nyack. 

Learn more about Paula at nyackyogacenter.com.

Member Events 

YTA members (individuals and studios) are invited to include their events here. Send details to ytaeditor@gmail.com 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 ytadirectory@gmail.com.

Crossover Yoga Project 
Elisha Simpson, RCYT, EYRT, YACEP
Executive Director

Empowering marginalized teen girls through trauma-informed yoga, mindfulness, and art.

Poses2Pints at Sing Sing Kill Brewery
Jan. 5, 11:30 a.m.
Support CYP's mission to empower vulnerable teen girls through trauma-informed yoga, mindfulness, and art by joining us for a fun vinyasa flow and handcrafted brew at SSKB! $25
Sing Sing Kill Brewery, 75-77 Spring Street, Ossining, NY

Trauma informed Training at Well Haus of Westchester
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.
Well Haus of Westchester, 202 Sparks Avenue, Pelham, NY   


Donna Laughter Yoga
Donna Bernstein
Briarcliff Manor, NY

Certified Laughter Yoga Leader Training (CLYL)
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
Jan 4 (Sat, 11:45 am-12:45 pm)
Learn the basics of this method of classical yoga for all. Preregister by email. $25

Back Care & Scoliosis
Jan 4 (Sat, 1:45-3:15 pm)
Learn about the asymmetrical pulls and turns of your spine and how to take care of your back. We use both strengthening and traction actions (rope wall and props) to learn. $25

Jan 4 (Sat, 3:30-4:45 pm)
Learn how to work with your breath in this “gateway practice” to presence. $25 (cash or check)

Sutra Tea 
Jan 4 (Sat, 5-6:10 pm)
Welcome the New Year with good intentions guided by the Sutras of Patanjali. No fee, but feel free to bring a small treat to share.

Yoga Culture
105 Mill Plain Road
Danbury, CT 06811

Yoga Nidra Guided Meditation and Relaxation
with Allison Ray Jeraci

Jan 10 (Fri, 7:30-8:30 pm)
We will explore a receptive state of relaxation through setting an intention, becoming aware of the sensations lingering in the body, feeling the breath and the energetic body around us and coming to a place of detachment, a time for self-reflection and deep relaxation. $30

Super Deep Restorative Semi-Private with Beth Perlman
Jan 23 (Thurs, 6-7 pm)
Just when you thought you couldn't love restorative more! Join Beth for this super propped practice. This semi-private will allow for abundant propping that supports this well crafted restorative sequence. Come rest, and breathe into a richer restorative experience. $35

Final Thoughts

New Year’s Morning 

Helen Hunt Jackson 

Only a night from old to new
Only a night, and so much wrought!
The Old Year's heart all weary grew,
But said: "The New Year rest has brought."
The Old Year's hopes its heart laid down,
As in a grave; but, trusting, said:
"The blossoms of the New Year's crown
Bloom from the ashes of the dead."
The Old Year's heart was full of greed;
With selfishness it longed and ached,
And cried: "I have not half I need.
My thirst is bitter and unslaked.
But to the New Year's generous hand
All gifts in plenty shall return;
True love it shall understand;
By all my failures it shall learn.
I have been reckless; it shall be
Quiet and calm and pure of life.
I was a slave; it shall go free,
And find sweet peace where I leave strife."
Only a night from old to new!
Never a night such changes brought.
The Old Year had its work to do;
No New Year miracles are wrought.

Always a night from old to new!
Night and the healing balm of sleep!
Each morn is New Year's morn come true,
Morn of a festival to keep.
All nights are sacred nights to make
Confession and resolve and prayer;
All days are sacred days to wake
New gladness in the sunny air.
Only a night from old to new;
Only a sleep from night to morn.
The new is but the old come true;
Each sunrise sees a new year born.

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 at the door)

Board of Directors

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  



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