Lifeforce Yoga to Beat the Blues: Level 1 with Amy Weintraub

Writer Amy Weintraub struggled under what she calls “a fog of depression” for years until a weekend yoga retreat in 1989 at the Kripalu Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, changed her life. From her very first class, Weintraub felt better, and—over time—she says, she found yoga’s mood-elevating effect so powerful that she no longer needed antidepressant medication. Today, Weintraub is a senior Kripalu teacher at her LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute in Tucson, Arizona, and devotes her energies to spreading the message of yoga’s ability to help people lift and balance their moods.

This DVD presents Weintraub’s basic program, which begins with several joint warm-ups comprising a series of energizing moves, such as standing on one leg while making circles in the air with the opposite foot. Next comes a centering meditation followed by Pranayama, warm-up poses, standing postures, backbends, forward bends, and twists. She concludes with a calming Yoga Nidra practice. Weintraub accompanies much of the program with chanting.

Although she calls this a “gentle practice,” it includes poses—such as Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) and Purvottanasana (Upward Plank Pose)—that may be challenging for beginners. She does offer some modifications, but only in flashes, and presents some complex mudras and breathing practices—including Bhastrika, Kapalabhati, and Ujjayi—with little explanation.

Because of the complexity of pranayama, this DVD would be of most benefit as an aid to a home practice for a student who’s already studying with an experienced teacher but needs a little nurturing or pick-me-up.