LifeForce Yoga for Depression
Yoga teacher Amy Weintraub writes of the “fog of depression” that weighed on her for years and years. A life-changing turning point came when until she attended a weekend yoga retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Since that very first yoga experience, Weintraub has been a leading advocate of using yoga’s powerful mood-enhancing effects to help people struggling with depression. By taking up a regular yoga practice, Weintraub herself was able to completely get off antidepressant medication. She has since devoted her life to show other people how to harness the benefits of yoga for depression, and train yoga teachers in how to use yoga therapy to help people elevate and balance their moods.
LifeForce Yoga, as Weintraub calls her specific type of yoga targeting depression, includes energizing and cleansing movements (kriyas), deep breathing routines (pranayama), along with more traditional standing postures, forward and backward bends, and twists. Weintraub also includes elements not commonly found in traditional yoga classes, including mudras, chanting, and therapeutic long holding of postures. Weintraub recommends concluding with a long Yoga Nidra relaxation phase to produce calming and relaxing effects and allow the body to integrate the profound healing benefits of the yoga practice.
Depending on the student targeted, LifeForce Yoga for depression can be introduced at different levels of difficulty, from a gentle to a more demanding set of routines. Some of the routines can be learned quickly, but others will need instructions from a yoga therapy teacher who has gone through yoga therapy training under Weintraub’s tutelage.
Weintraub offers her LifeForce Yoga for Depression Practitioner training program in two 40-Hr. courses, Level I and Level II. Level I offers training in the LifeForce Yoga for Depression techniques described above, and it prepares yoga teachers to work with both groups and individuals. Level II continues the training in LifeForce techniques for balancing mood, but puts more emphasis on giving one-on-one yoga therapy sessions and leading workshops for people suffering from depression. The LifeForce Yoga training programs are open to yoga teachers certified at the 200-Hr. level by Yoga Alliance, and to mental health professional with an on-going yoga practice. Health professionals who do not meet either of these criteria will be considered on a case by case basis.
Weintraub describes the job of the LifeForce Yoga® practitioners is to learn “to create and maintain a safe and compassionate container for our students and clients, so that in an atmosphere of acceptance and love, they can learn the tools to clear their own inner space of whatever is preventing them from realizing and sustaining their positive mental health.”