February 2020 Newsletter 

Words of Welcome

Dear All,

Winter has definitely arrived, with the December frenzy being diminished by the calming and stabilizing darkness of January. In February, days are still short and the minimal light makes us realize the importance of balancing even the good things—when too much darkness becomes bleak and depressing.

With our practice of yoga, we develop, along with physical prowess, practical ways to balance and strengthen the mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of our being, all of which helps us to counteract the outside stressors over which we have no control. With our practice we are able to turn these negatives that deplete us into positives that restore and enhance our very being.

With increased physical and psychological health and strength, we can manage, reduce, and transform stress leading to significant reductions of fear, anxiety, depression, and the silent killer—inflammation. With increased breathing capacity, we have more energy and light to shine on our emotional and spiritual needs increasing our creativity, optimism, and overall peace, contentment, and joy.

These are not idle promises or wishful thinking. These benefits are being reported and supported by modern science. Researchers who are delving into our sacred, ancient yoga teachings are finding ways to use this valuable information to deal with the ever-present and increasing neurological and medical problems plaguing the population, young and old alike.

We can join YTA on the second Saturday of each month to bring the practice and gifts of yoga into our own lives and our communities at large. We can study with well-known presenters enabling us to keep the sacred traditions of yoga relevant:

No slick packaging! 

No cheap tricks! 

No hype! 

Just a time-honored practice. 

Yours in Yoga,
Paula Renuka Heitzner

2020 Workshops

Saturday, February 8

Yoga Nidra and 
Restorative Yoga 

with Mona Anand

Yoga nidra is a guided meditation practiced in savasana and used for many purposes, including deep relaxation and experiencing an expanded state of consciousness. Participants enter into the hypnogogic state, a state on the threshold of sleep where the mind and body are able to replenish and let go.

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 40-minute yoga nidra. Visualizations, pranayama, and mantras will be integrated throughout the practice to help release inner tension and experience an expanded state of awareness. 

The yoga nidra will include all 9 steps of “Mona Anand’s ISHTA Yoga Nidra,” a system designed by Mona and Alan Finger. The practice will be followed by a discussion of the science behind this profound technique and its numerous benefits. Mona will discuss what she did in each of the 9 steps, and participants will have the opportunity to share their experiences and have their questions answered. 

Read more from Mona about the restorative yoga and yoga nidra combination below.

Mona Anand is a co-owner of ISHTA Yoga and a Yoga Master in the ISHTA lineage. Fifteen years ago she created her signature restorative/yoga nidra workshops, a style now emulated by teachers around the world. Mona has 2 yoga nidra trainings, Mona Anand’s ISHTA Yoga Nidra and Yoga Nidra and the Chakras, which she teaches internationally. She has an online subscription, “Yoga Nidra with Mona Anand,” on ISHTA online. Yoga nidra has been an integral part of Mona’s practice since she was first introduced to it in her teens growing up in Mumbai, India. 

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.

Future Workshops

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 ... 

April 11
Tristana: The Three Pillars of Ashtanga Yoga
with Stan Woodman
Be led by the traditional sweet sound of Sanskrit counting through the Primary Series of Ashtanga Yoga with emphasis on posture, breathing, and a steady gaze. These three pillars of Ashtanga Yoga help develop the witness inside of us. Read more ...

May 9
Yoga for Pain Relief: Steps to an Extraordinary Life
with Lee Albert
Most pain is foundational, resulting from imbalances in the musculoskeletal system. Yoga can correct these imbalances in a relatively short time with the practice of appropriate postures. Read more ...

June 13
Eternal Youth
Through Yoga

with Tao Porchon-Lynch 
More information to come soon!

From the January Workshop
with Ingrid Bacci


The Restorative and Yoga Nidra Combination

by Mona Anand

Why I Love Restorative

The impact restorative yoga has had in releasing stress and tension for me is very personal. 

About 14 years ago I had a bout of serious asthma attacks that were life-changing. I was continually in and out of the hospital and put on high levels of cortisone for an extended period that created extreme anxiety and panic attacks. 

No amount of trying to talk myself out of the situation helped because my whole system was stuck in a heightened state of tension and anxiety. I needed to learn to bypass my mind and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is exactly what restorative yoga does.

I started practicing restorative yoga, which was an integral part of my recovery. Restorative calmed my nervous system, relaxed my body, and released tension from my breath. The effects of this practice released the fear of future attacks.

Why Restorative Is So Powerful 

Modern life is fast-paced and filled with stressors that contribute to a constant level of low-grade stress that we're often unaware of. This continuous state of sympathetic nervous system arousal has led to many modern-day illnesses such as asthma, cancer, heart disease, and stress disorders. 

Restorative yoga provides the perfect antidote to stress because it creates a supported pause. By completely supporting the body and being still for extended periods, the breath, the mind, and the nervous system begin to calm. 

Different restorative poses can be used for different purposes, though they all help to calm and quiet the nervous system. There are poses that open the breath and lift our spirits when we're feeling depressed, poses that are supportive and nurturing when we're feeling anxious, and poses that target specific parts of the body where tension accumulates. 

Restorative yoga releases tensions on physical, mental, and emotional levels. Since our bodies store all our past experiences, when we let go of the holding in the physical body we often have strong emotional releases. The suppressed emotions and past experiences locked in the body bubble up to the surface and are then released. 

One of the advantages of a restorative practice is that it can be applied universally to everyone. People who aren't physically able to practice asana, such as the elderly and physically challenged can reap the benefits of deep relaxation and energetic rebalancing. 

What Exactly Is Yoga Nidra?

I was first introduced to yoga nidra as a teenager in Mumbai, India, and the stillness it led me into had a profound impact on my practice and my teaching. 

Yoga Nidra is a guided auditory meditation technique practiced lying down in savasana. In Sanskrit, nidra means sleep. Yoga nidra is often referred to as the “sleepless" sleep because it induces a state between being awake and being asleep known as the hypnogogic state in which the mind and body deeply relax. This powerful state on the threshold of being asleep and being awake can be used for many purposes that include deep relaxation, releasing memories locked in the subconscious and unconscious, and creating an expanded state of consciousness.

Yoga Nidra’s roots lie in an ancient tantric technique called nyasa in which practitioners held their awareness on different parts of the body and through concentration and the chanting of mantras were able to bring more consciousness to different parts of the body. We use a variation of nyasa in yoga nidra to move our awareness through the body in a particular order and to create a circuit of energy through the brain that allows us to enter the hypnogogic state.

Yoga nidra is highly adaptable both in length and purpose. It can range from just a few minutes to an hour-long practice depending on the purpose and time available. Most practices are between 15 and 40 minutes. 

Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra

When I started teaching adults I included yoga nidra at the end of every class. Most students didn’t know what it was at the time but they kept coming back for more. One of my fellow teachers advised me not to include yoga nidra in classes in New York City. My colleague said students would get frustrated and leave because New Yorkers couldn’t slow down, but the opposite happened and people came back for more. It’s exactly what we need in NYC but we often don’t know it. I found that adding yoga nidra at the end of the practice was very powerful because the restorative postures led students into a place of deep stillness which when followed by yoga nidra induced an even deeper state of surrender enabling the release of past experiences locked in the subconscious and unconscious. 

I’ve now been teaching my restorative/yoga nidra workshops for the past 12 years. I've worked with Alan Finger to develop a 9-step approach to yoga nidra called, "Mona Anand's Ishta Yoga Nidra." 

I design yoga nidras for different imbalances such as insomnia, depression, and anxiety. I also design yoga nidra practices for chakra and dosha imbalances, which I teach in restorative/yoga nidra workshops. I am currently writing a book with Alan Finger on yoga nidra and the chakras.

To learn more about Mona, visit monaanandyoga.com.

Yoga Q & A

Are classes with repetitive formats better than none at all or should there be variety? 

The full scope and curriculum of a yoga practice is designed to awaken, stimulate, and strengthen the practitioner. When classes focus on Surya Namaskar, for example, a classic series of movements, these benefits are satisfied. When the salutation is taught segmentally, for full understanding and awareness of the transitions needed, it is a thorough warm-up, and a beautiful vinyasa when flowing through the 12 positions it comprises. 

When you choose to embrace the practice of yoga, this is a wonderful piece of that practice, but why limit yourself when yoga is so varied and has so much else to offer? The physiological, neurological, anatomical, and cardiovascular systems of the body have asanas and pranayama practices known and used to enhance each and every cell making up our varied parts. 

I vote for variety, but if you want to be self-limiting for whatever reason, it is your prerogative. Yoga endorses flexibility. Any practice of yoga will lead one to the high road! 

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 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 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


Poses 2 Pints FUN-raiser with Anna Moore

Feb 2 (Sun, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.)

Support CYP's mission to empower vulnerable teen girls toward positive change. Find your flow, energize your mind, body, and spirit at this fun-raiser, followed by your choice of a handcrafted brew at Sing Sing Kill Brewery! $25
Sing Sing Kill Brewery, 75-77 Spring Street, Ossining, NY.  
Limited tickets available in the taproom or on Eventbrite:


Devi Ma Yoga 
Kelly Devi Swails, RPYT, E-RYT, CCCE, MA

yoga devi.mom

Adapting Asana for Moms-to-Be
5-Hour Continuing Education Workshop for Yoga Teachers 
March 1 (Sunday, 1:30–6:30 p.m.)
If you teach yoga to the general population, you've probably had a few moms-to-be in your classes. But do you feel completely confident when a pregnant woman arrives in your class? This workshop includes information that is not covered in general teacher trainings and sheds light on the most common assumptions and misunderstandings about asana during pregnancy. You will learn when and how to suggest modifications, as well as common “red flags” that many yoga teachers are surprised they did not know. Appropriate for y
oga teachers who are not prenatal certified and yoga teacher trainees; male yoga teachers welcome and encouraged to attend.  $95
This training takes place at Radiate Yoga in Pelham, NY. Click here to register.

Donna Laughter Yoga
Donna Bernstein
Briarcliff Manor, NY


Certified Laughter Yoga Leader Training (CLYL)
Feb 1 & 2 (Sat & Sun, 9–5 p.m.) OR Feb 4 & 5 (Tues & Wed, 9–5 p.m.)
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. 

Iyengar Yoga Scarsdale/Greenwich

Nancy Kardon
74 Brewster Road
Scarsdale, NY 10583


299 Greenwich Avenue, 3rd Fl

Greenwich, CT 06830


Iyengar Yoga Fundamentals 
Feb 1 (Sat, 11:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m.)

Experience a first step into Iyengar yoga with some basic fundamentals where you are taught how to make the shapes and quiet your monkey mind. Free to those new to this studio. Preregister by email. $25

Back Care & Scoliosis

Feb 1 (Sat, 1:15–2:45 p.m.) 

Learn about your asymmetry: What moves out and what moves in, what is overworking, and, most important, learn how to create space and bring balance. We will use both the rope wall and other traction action as we explore. Preregister by email. $25


Feb 1 (Sat, 3:15–4:15 p.m.) 

Prana is energy. We work with breath as a tool of presence. A regular yoga practice is necessary to be able to work “less is more.” In Iyengar yoga we first learn asana to connect with the skeletal body before beginning subtler work with the breath. Preregister by email.  $25

Sutra Tea

Feb 1 (Sat, 4:30–5:45 p.m.) 

Study and share with the yoga sutras as our springboard guide. Preregister please. No fee, but feel free to bring something to share (edible and otherwise). 

Sacred Spirit Yoga & Healing Arts Center

343 Broadway

(Located on the Campus of South Presbyterian Church)

Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522


Living with Uncertainty: Self-Hypnosis Techniques for Difficult Times with Kristin Prevallet

Feb 29 (Sat, 2–5 p.m.

Facilitate your own inner capacity for managing uncertainty and to find the opulent shield within yourself that will activate and invigorate your mind-body connection, as well as your personal resilience. Kristin integrates hypnotherapy with neurolinguistic programming, Reiki, meditation, and poetics so that you can carry a post-retreat mindset into your busy, complicated life.  $55 before 2/26; $65 thereafter

Yoga Culture
105 Mill Plain Road
Danbury, CT 06811


Yoga for Wrist Health Semi-Private with Janette Petrovich

Feb 13 (Thurs 6–7 p.m.

Study the wrist and what may be causing discomfort. We’ll take time to become aware of the wrist and all its workings and sensations, as well as learn how to modify common yoga poses involving the hands and wrist. $35

Awaken Your Soles Semi-Private with Beth Perlman
Feb 20 (Thurs, 6–7 p.m.) 

Learn stretches and self-massage techniques and how to care for your feet and your ankles and keep them supporting you through your yoga practice and your day. We will cover both simple ways to make your phalanges--or piggies--feel better and how to use your practice in the best interest of your feet and ankles. $35

Fortifying the Immune System Through Yoga Semi-Private

with Jason Boada
Feb 22 (Sat, 10–11:30 a.m.) 

Learn asanas to stimulate the lymph nodes and encourage the lymph system to remove toxins from the body. Clear the sinuses, increase breath capacity, and encourage a calm, healthy mind. $46

Adventurous Asana Workshop with Allison Ray Jeraci
Feb 28 (Fri, 7:30–9 p.m.) 

We’ll break the advanced poses down in Yoga Culture style.  Each workshop will explore different poses like Tittibasana (Firefly), Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand), Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana (King Pigeon), Eka Pada Koundinyasana, and Bird of Paradise. Create confidence, strength, and balance within your yogi self as you practice patience and focus in these demanding postures. $45

Wainwright House
260 Stuyvesant Ave
Rye, NY 10580


How to Sit: Finding Your “Steady Comfortable Seat”

with Katie Braja

Feb 2 (Sat, 10 a.m.–12 noon

In this workshop, you’ll become more comfortable and confident with meditation by finally finding a seated position that works. $45 members; $50 nonmembers

Yoga Lab: A Healthy Pelvic Floor with Iekelien Buurman

Feb 8 (Sat, 10 a.m.–12 noon) 

Learn to strengthen, stabilize, stretch, and soften the pelvic floor and create the correct foundation of each movement in the body. $45 members; $50 nonmembers

Meditation & Healing Circle to Launch the New Year

with Sarah Peck

Feb 15 & 16 (Sat & Sun, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.) 

This workshop is for those who feel called to launch into the New Year by standing strong from within. $300 members; $330 nonmembers

Yoga Nidra 15-Hour Training with Mindful Yoga Therapy

Feb 29 & Mar 1 (Sat & Sun, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.) 

This 15-hour training program is designed for 200-hour certified yoga teachers. Gain the capacity and confidence to guide students through this safe and effective practice and enrich your own experience both on and off the mat. $395 members; $434.50 nonmembers

Final Thoughts

The practice is simply this: keep coming back to your breath during the day. Just take a moment. This will give your mind a steadiness and your breath a gracefulness… There’s so much to let go of, isn’t there? Your nostalgia and your regrets. Your fantasies and your fears. What you think you want instead of what is happening right now. Breathe.

—Rodney Yee, Yoga: The Poetry of the Body

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.

 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  


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 © 2020 Yoga Teachers Association. All rights reserved.

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