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  • LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training: Module A

    by Amy Weintraub, MFA, E-RYT (500)

    My beloved child, Break your heart no longer.

    Each time you judge yourself, You break your own heart.

    ~ Swami Kripalu/Carolyn Delluomo

    Sivananda Ashram, 2014

  • LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training: Module A Page 2

    Amy Weintraub 2013 www.Yogafordepression.com

    Table of Contents

    Learning Objectives ......................................................................................................................................... 3

    What is LifeForce Yoga?.................................................................................................................................. 3

    Two Guiding Archetypes ................................................................................................................................. 3

    The Compassionate Container ........................................................................................................................ 4

    LifeForce Yoga as differentiated from exercise ............................................................................................. 5

    Physiological/Biochemical benefits of Yoga practice ................................................................................... 5

    Psychological effects of Yoga practice .......................................................................................................... 5

    Principles of LifeForce Yoga as Positive Mental Health ................................................................................ 6

    Yogic Breathing (Pranayama & Kriya) ............................................................................................................ 8

    Yogic Breathing in a Clinical Setting .............................................................................................................. 8

    Six Yogic Breaths to Lift a Depressed Mood ............................................................................................. 8

    Five Yogic Breaths to Calm an Anxious Mood ........................................................................................ 10

    Interrupting a Panic Attack........................................................................................................................ 11

    Other Breathing Best Taught by a Qualified Yoga Instructor or Yoga Therapist .................................. 12

    Nada Yoga ...................................................................................................................................................... 14

    LifeForce Yoga Chakra Clearing Meditation ................................................................................................. 15

    LifeForce Yoga Chakra Clearing Meditation Energizing ...................................................................... 16

    LifeForce Yoga Chakra Clearing Meditation Calming ........................................................................... 17

    Meditation Beyond Mindfulness .................................................................................................................... 18

    Sample Group Class ...................................................................................................................................... 19

    General Principles for Meeting the Mood with Practice .......................................................................... 20

    General Class Elements ~ Suggested Flow ............................................................................................. 21

    Guiding Pravaha (Flow) in a LifeForce Yoga Class ................................................................................. 21

    Yoga Class to Meet the Tamasic Mood .................................................................................................... 22

    Yoga Class to Meet the Rajasic Mood ...................................................................................................... 23

    Yoga Nidra ...................................................................................................................................................... 24

    Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) .................................................................................................... 26

    Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) ............................................................................................................... 27

    Svadhaya: Nondual Strategy ......................................................................................................................... 28

    Resources....................................................................................................................................................... 29

    In Consultation ............................................................................................................................................... 30

    Chants ............................................................................................................................................................. 32

  • LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training: Module A Page 3

    Amy Weintraub 2013 www.Yogafordepression.com

    Learning Objectives 1. Identify clients who would benefit from a Yogic approach. 2. Apply eleven Yogic breathing and three meditation techniques for mood management, including depression, anxiety,

    and OCD. 3. Implement sound, breath and visual imagery to address both depression and anxiety. 4. Learn a Yogic strategy that incorporates body awareness, imagery, and dialoguing to address negative self-talk and

    the seeds of self-loathing. 5. Understand the current research in the field of yoga and mental health. 6. Implement a Yogic technique to end a panic attack. 7. Identify Yogic strategies effective in the treatment of PTSD.

    What is LifeForce Yoga?

    LifeForce Yoga is Yoga plain and simple. It doesnt really need a name, but in this day and age, when there are so many ways of practicing that are called Yoga, its important to identify a practice that is intentionally designed to work with and manage the mood. The many styles of Yoga practice that are flowering in the West are like doorways. Eventually, each door opens the practitioner to a deeper connection to Self, an inner and outer knowing that we are not separate. Yoga, no matter the training style, begins, as you practice regularly, to unite the polarities within and without. The sense of separation, which is the literal source of depression, is diminished and the sense of connection to oneself and others is enhanced. As a psychotherapist, are these not your goals as well?

    Among the many doorways to Yoga or union that exist in the West, some focus on fitness and strengththe literal meaning of Hatha or physical force. Others focus on structural therapeutics. Other doorways take as their mission to raise the Kundalini energy, or to reach Nirvana or union with the Source. But reaching implies absence. LifeForce Yoga understands that there is no separation from the Source, that we are intimately, eternally connected. LifeForce Yoga is practiced as the first yogis practiced, resting on the fundamental belief that all that we need is already within us; that we are that which we seek.

    To make it simple, LifeForce Yoga is a practice of compassion that creates a big enough container to embrace and accept all the dualities of mood. The practice is adapted to the student, so each individual can move into a more balanced (satvic) and positive emotional, mental, and physical state of equanimity and self-awareness. As psychotherapists, you are facilitating that same ability for self-observation and compassion. In this manual, Ive included simple somatic tools gleaned from the timeless teachings of Yoga that you can share with your clients. We will be discussing comfortable ways to introduce these tools to those you serve. The Yoga tools included here are appropriate for a clinical setting. They can empower your clients to self-regulate, increasing feelings of self-efficacy and control, while at the same time enhancing the therapeutic relationship.

    Two Guiding Archetypes In LifeForce Yoga, we call upon two representational archetypes of human values, deities from the Hindu and Buddhist tradition. First, we look to Shiva, depicted in his guise as Nataraja, the fire dancer. In the context of LifeForce Yoga, Shiva represents standing in the fire of truth, even when its almost too painful to bear. Shiva symbolizes the awareness that allows us to face our emotions in challenging situations, without numbing out by turning on the television or hanging out in front of an open cabinet full of carbohydrates or pouring the extra glass of wine or whatever default strategy has been habitually used to avoid feeling. Shivas fire represents that burning away of old patterns and defenses that are no longer serving your clients. Finally, Shiva represents staying present, not only to our own personal truths, but also to the political and social and ecological world that so desperately needs our attention.

    To dance in the fire without self-immolation, we need an anesthetic, a kind of asbestos layer that protects without either smothering our feelings or putting the fire out. For this, we invoke the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Kwan Yin. Her name literally means, She who hears the cries of the world. This balance of fiery self-awareness, contained in the arms of compassion, makes the difference in our personal lives, our professional lives as healers, and in our lives as conscious b