April 2020 Newslette

Words of Welcome

Dear All, 

In the past, the month of April has been pivotal—winter into spring or spring into summer. However, this April is bringing in a totally new paradigm, one never faced by certainly the past few generations, or possibly ever before COVID-19. 

I don't think I have to detail what it is, where, or why. We are confronted with this pandemic catastrophe globally. As the life we know is overturned and overwhelming challenges to survive are heaped upon us worldwide, we are charged with finding a way to diminish this dread of disaster. 

The practice of yoga has never been more personally purposeful or practical. Only we can keep ourselves as strong and intact as possible, exercising the only control we hold in our hands, the only power left to us. By being mindful and compliant with the called-for patterns of behavior that will aid in eradicating this virus and by keeping our minds and hearts in light and love, will we be able to come through to the other side. 

This experience can be a tool for personal transformation and a karmic opportunity for bigger and better behavior patterns toward each other and the planet that supports and sustains us. From these shared hardships, let's bring forward more kindness, compassion, unselfishness, courage, and gratitude as a new way of life and living, after being forced to surrender what we thought to be comfortable, inevitable, and indispensable.

We are making the best of the current situation. Let's commit to carrying what we're learning forward to create a better future for all beings and the planet. It's the yogic way. It's the karmic way. 

Yours in yoga, 
Paula Renuka Heitzner

2020 Workshops

We are thrilled to announce that we will be offering our April workshop remotely via Zoom.

The 2-hour workshop will take place from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 11. Stan will cover all of the material he would have covered in three hours, but we are reducing our registration rates to $20 for members, $25 for nonmembers, with no day-of surcharges.

You will receive the Zoom meeting information in your paid registration confirmation. Please read through the instructions, download the Zoom app ahead of time, and log in early to troubleshoot any audio or video issues.

If you have already registered for the workshop, we will be in touch soon with the Zoom information and refund of the fee difference.

We look forward to coming together and connecting with you during this time.

Saturday, April 11
1:30–3:30 p.m.

Tristana: The Three Pillars
of Ashtanga Yoga

with Stan Woodman
via Zoom

Join Stan as he leads us 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 by calming the mind through concentration. Through the witness, we begin to develop Viveka, the ability to distinguish between the real and unreal perceptions and beliefs we have about ourselves, others, and the world around us. With Viveka comes Vairagya, the sense of clear physical, mental, and spiritual discernment. The workshop will begin with some simple chanting followed by a discussion of the three pillars and how to develop the witness within. Come explore ways to use your daily practice as a means to experience unconditional happiness, nonattachment, and a deeper sense of love!

Stan Woodman is a Level 2 Authorized Ashtanga Yoga teacher for the K Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute (KPJAYI) in Mysore, India. He took his first yoga class in 1991 and began a dedicated Ashtanga practice in 1997. Having first met Sri K Pattabhi Jois in New York City in 2001, Stan eventually went to the source in 2003 to study with Guruji and continues his yearly pilgrimages to Mysore today. An avid extreme sports enthusiast, Stan lives in Connecticut and teaches Mysore programs in Ridgefield and Greenwich. 

Register Now

Upcoming Workshops

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
Celebration of Tao Porchon-Lynch’s Life

and Legacy 
More information to come soon!


How I Came to Ashtanga Yoga

by Stan Woodman

Let’s begin when I took my first Ashtanga yoga class with Beryl Bender Birch and her late husband Thom Birch in 1998. I was mesmerized. I was hooked. I knew nothing of the tradition before taking the class. The flow, the breathing, the heat, the teacher, the present moment, all gave me enough insight to feel something different from this tradition than I had with other styles I had practiced before, and I looked forward to returning. 

I had just moved to the Hamptons and was looking for a yoga studio and a teacher as I had begun practicing in 1992 at the age of 19. Well, I found one. Beryl continued to share with me all she had learned and studied about Ashtanga yoga as taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. She also taught me the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the connection to what we were practicing on and off the mat. Looking back, I always feel lucky at how I began learning this tradition. I was taking 2 classes a week with Beryl or Thom, sometimes with both of them (in a room of 10-12 people) and practicing at home on the other days. Beryl soon invited me to practice with her and a small group of practitioners at her house. They had turned their old garage into a beautiful yoga room. Yes, we did asana and I learned a lot more than just putting my body into different shapes. It was intense and I loved it. I learned pose by pose through all of primary and intermediate series. It was a very special, intimate, spiritual, and informative time for me, which set the foundation for the practitioner and teacher I am today. Thank you so much, Beryl!

Over the next few years, I started taking Beryl’s week-long intensive teacher trainings and became her assistant for her yoga school and in the yoga room. I became one of only a few students to receive a 1000-hour teaching certificate from Beryl. I was moved by how she lived her life and what she taught me about yoga and life. I soaked it all up. I also spent a few days a week in the city and studied with Eddie Stern. He kept asking me when I was going to go to Mysore to study with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, affectionately named Guruji. I had taken a few week-long (sometimes two weeks) of primary and intermediate classes with Guruji, Saraswati, and Sharath. I then went to Mysore and began studying with Pattabhi Jois and now continue with my teacher Sharath Jois. For several years, while in the states, I continued with Eddie whenever I could, took some more trainings and workshops with Beryl, David Swenson, Tim Miller, Richard Freeman, David Williams, and plenty of self practice to further enhance my knowledge and personal experience of what this system teaches us. I am a proud and dedicated, authorized level 2, full intermediate instructor by Sharath Jois. I now teach an Ashtanga Yoga Mysore Program at one of the yoga studios my wife and I own, Kaia Yoga.

I still practice and teach Ashtanga Yoga for the system and philosophy that it is, for how I feel with daily practice, and for the experience I have had with it over the past 19 years. I strongly believe in how it was taught by Guruji and continue to be taught by Sharath Jois in Mysore, India. 

This system is greater than any one teacher. It is not Pattabhi Jois’s yoga, as he would say himself. Regardless of whether you want to think he “created the whole thing” or “it has only been around since the early 1900s,” etc. (so many people say so many things), this system is not just the asana and has not been taught as just the asana by the Jois family. What I have learned, through my experience, is the system written by Patanjali—the philosophy and eight-limb path behind his teachings. The Ashtanga asana system is not from the teachings of Patanjali, although how the asana is taught by the Jois family is grounded in the philosophy and teachings of yoga. This asana system is our daily practice to explore the minute expanse of our minds and to develop the focus and concentration to be present—to see ourselves fully, more clearly, whole. In asana we are burning toxins, healing, restructuring, and strengthening our systems to further help the mind concentrate toward the true meaning of yoga. I believe in the concept of Tristana in Ashtanga yoga and how it helps take us deeper into knowing who we truly are and giving us the ability to see God in all things. The Ashtanga yoga system, as taught by the Jois family, is teaching us to be kinder, more loving, compassionate humans.

I want to be a kinder, more loving, compassionate human, so this is why I do and will continue to practice and teach Ashtanga yoga. I have great respect for all the teachers of this lineage who have come before me, standing alongside me, and have yet to come.

Om Tat Sat

Learn more at allthingsashtanga.com. 


Yoga Q & A

Do Breathing Patterns Determine Your Life Span? 

Dr. H.J. Schunemann found in a long-term study that lung function predicts mortality. I think breathing—the function of lungs—certainly affects your life and breath, physically and mentally. Lungs that are compromised by shallow, weak, or disturbed breathing patterns lose elasticity and cannot bring in the necessary oxygen needed to support health or to release the toxins that threaten well-being. 

Minimal breath inhibits the body's physiological processes, thus engendering ongoing weakness leading to the ultimate state of decline, which may come sooner than necessary. Increased lung function supports healing and cellular regeneration, increasing one's ability to support life.

"Breath Is Life,"  "Breathe to Live,"  "Live to Breathe," says it all. 

Never before has this truism been so relevant. During this time of great stress when we are all threatened, we can use our breath to ease our sense of disaster and restore the inner calm to support our systems of life. 

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 

Online Yoga and Meditation Offerings

... from YTA Members

Birchwood Center

Gentle yoga, Level I/II, II, Metta meditation, pranayama, nadi shodhana; free videos on YouTube

Devi Ma Yoga
Prenatal, new mom, and yin classes, plus New Moon Meditation on April 22. Full April schedule will be posted soon.

Elisha Simpson (Crossover Yoga Project)
Short meditation on discernment

Gina Callendar
Short yoga and meditation videos on YouTube, free

PranaMoon Yoga
Vinyasa, gentle, & Yin yoga classes, 60 minutes. $10; meditation, 30 minutes. $6;
virtual meditation and community circle to share how your feeling, every Tuesday, 7:30–8, $6

Riverstone Yoga
Daily live-streamed online yoga and meditation classes, $15 

Sacred Spirit Yoga & Healing Arts Center

All Levels Yoga Class with Chris Glover, Apr 4 (Tues, 9:30-10:45 a.m.). $15

Wainwright House

Yoga & movement classes, $10 members; $15 nonmembers; meditation classes. $5 drop-in

Willow Tree Yoga
All-level, Kundalini, stretch, and Vinyasa flow classes, by donation

Yoga Culture

New student pass 30 days for $39; drop-in $19

Yoga Garden
Mixed level, yoga basics, calm and gentle; $10–$20

... from YTA Presenters

Al Bingham, encourageyoga.com: Online classes, $5 or free

Alison West/Yoga Union, yogaunion.com: Online classes, preregister

Amy Weintraub, amyweintraub.com: Remote Relief Series, free

Christa Rypins, intelligentbody.net: Tues, Thurs, Sat, 9–10:15 a.m. PT

Colleen Lila Yoga, colleenlilayoga.com: 60-minute online vinyasa Level 2/3 class, suggested donation $10

Daniel Orlansky, yogaofenergyflow.com: Online classes daily, 4/6–10, 3–4:30 p.m., $10, and ongoing, Mondays, 9:15 a.m. and 5:45 p.m., $10–$20

Deirdre Breen: Free meditation, Mondays, 5:30–6:30. Zoom meeting ID: 310 398 6443; PW: Calm

Jennifer Reis, jenniferreisyoga.com: Online Yoga Nidra Teacher Training, 4/4-5 & 4/7-8; $870

Mona Anand, monaanandyoga.com: Daily 4/1–3; Restorative/Yoga Nidra workshop, 4/9, $30 before 4/6, $40 thereafter

Priti Robyn Ross, lifeasyoga.com: Commumity gatherings via Zoom, Tues, 2 p.m.; Thurs, 6 p.m.

Ravi Singh, raviana.com: Wed, Fri, Sun, 9 a.m. PST, $12

Rudy Peirce, gentleyogi.com: Dynamic chair yoga, daily, 8:30-9:00 a.m., 4/1–10; chair yoga, Tues, 5–6 p.m., 4/7 & 14

Stan Woodman, allthingsashtanga.com: Ashtange Primary Series, every day, 8–9:30 a.m., $20

Todd Norian, ashayayoga.com: Facebook Live Series, Inner Peace Through the Five Elements, 9–10 a.m., 4/1–5  (recordings available on Facebook afterward), free or by donation

... from YTA Friends

Eileen Fisher, womentogether.com, Interactive Live Stream, Connection, Thurs, 4/9, 12-1pm, $5; Embodied Creativity, 4/23, Thurs, 12-1 pm, $5

Integral Yoga Institute, iyiny.org,  Mon, Tues, & Wed classes, by donation

Karma Road, karmaroadyoga.com: Vinyasa, gentle, & Yin yoga classes, 60 minutes. $10; meditation, 30 minutes. $6

Nueva Alma, nuevaalma.com: Open level and yin classes, plus daily sound bath meditations, $18–25

Radiate Yoga, radiateyoga.com: Vinyasa, gentle, & Yin yoga classes, 60 minutes. $10; meditation, 30 minutes, $6

Yoga Shivaya, yogashivaya.com: Tues-Sun, beginner, all levels, gentle, slow flow, intermediate, & meditation. $20

Final Thoughts

by Kitty O’Meara

And the people stayed home. 

And read books, and listened, and 

rested, and exercised, and made art, 

and played games, and learned new

ways of being, and were still. and 

listened more deeply. some 

meditated, some prayed, some 

danced. Some met their shadows. 

And the people began to think differently. 

And the people healed. 

And, in the absence of people living

in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, 

and heartless ways, 

the Earth began to heal. 

And when the danger passed, 

and the people joined together again, 

they grieved their losses, and made 

new choices, and dreamed new 

images, and created new ways to live

and heal the earth fully, 

as they had been healed. 

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, ERYT 500

Special Events
Gina Callender, ERYT 200, ERYT 500; CEP

Terry Fiore Lavery, ERYT

Newsletter Design & Layout
Lisa Sloane, MA, ERYT




Copyright © 2020 Yoga Teachers Association. All rights reserved.

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