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Yoga Therapy

6/04/15 - Yoga’s Path of Strength, Resilience, and Peace of Mind     
Beryl Bender Birch     

Yoga offers exceptional tools for building resilience and healing from trauma. Scientific study has proven the effectiveness of yoga in engaging the relaxation response, sharpening the mind, improving recovery time, and promoting psychological well-being. Beryl Bender Birch has used the Yogic tools of postures, breathing techniques, and meditation to help first responders and survivors of 9/11, as well as helping military servicemen and women to find their way as warriors, heal from injury, and adapt to a peaceful life at home. Join regular guest host Dr. Laurel Trujillo and author and yoga teacher Beryl Bender Birch in a conversation about how we all can gain strength, resilience, and peace of mind though yoga. 

Beryl Bender Birch, eRYT, Founder and Director of The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute, is the best-selling author of several books on yoga, including Power Yoga and Yoga for Warriors: Basic Training in Strength, Resilience & Peace of Mind– a book on yoga for veterans. As an avid student of classical yoga, meditation, and the study of consciousness, she traveled to India in l974 to further her studies and has been training yoga students and teachers for nearly 40 years. She is a long time leader in speaking out on the critical importance of spiritual revolution, the combination of activism and practice and is also the co-founder of the Give Back Yoga Foundation which supports yoga teachers world-wide in developing give back projects in their communities.  

5/28/15 - Self-Discovery Through Yoga  
Anil and Ashwini Surpur

Self-discovery lies at the heart of yoga practice. The Sanskrit word yoga means oneness, union, or unity -- the bringing together of our attention and awareness with our essential spiritual nature or returning to our original wholeness. Yoga’s central practices of self-study, self-discipline, and self-surrender all rest on continuous self-discovery. Yoga is a process of finding out more and more deeply who we are, and then living from that realization. Join regular guest host Dr. Laurel Trujillo, with guests Anil Surpur, President of Yoga Bharati and Ashwini Surpur, Director of Yoga Education at Yoga Bharati, in a conversation that explores self-discovery through yoga at all levels of our being: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

Anil Surpur, ERYT, MBA, BE, is President and co-founder of Yoga Bharati. He received BKS Iyengar yoga training, Chennai, in 1986 and has been practicing Yoga since. He completed Yoga Teacher Training (YICC, VYASA) in 2003 and is on the faculty for Yoga Bharati YICC and Meru Institute YTT.

Ashwini Surpur, ERYT, has a Diploma in Yoga Therapy from Vivekananda Yoga University (SVYASA), Bangalore, India and is Director of Yoga Education at Yoga Bharati. She has spoken at conferences on Yoga and Hindu philosophy and has written articles for magazines and news media on Yoga. 

5/14/15 - Keeping Yoga in Yoga Therapy  
John Kepner

The word yoga means union, oneness, or unity. The purpose of the many practices of yoga is to help us realize our true spiritual nature, to unite our attention and awareness with our own essence of being. Yoga Therapy uses yogic techniques to improve health holistically, in body, mind, and spirit.  How can Yoga Therapy remain true to the original purpose of yoga while meeting individuals where they are? When and how might yoga therapy be used? Join Yogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian and guest John Kepner, Executive Director of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, in a conversation that draws from the roots of yoga and Yoga Therapy.

John Kepner was a founding director of the renewed International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) in 2003 and has been the executive director since 2004. He is a practicing Yoga teacher and therapist with a professional background in economics, finance, and non-profit management. John holds teacher and therapist certifications from the American Viniyoga Institute and a teaching certification from A.G. Mohan in Chennai, India. His work for IAYT and his writings often have an economic and public policy perspective. In recent years, John has focused on organizing IAYT's practitioner and research conferences, developing educational standards for the training of Yoga therapists, providing accreditation services for programs that meet those standards, and, most recently, developing a structure and process to provide certification services for individuals.

5/07/15 - The Heart of Yoga: How to Improve Your Cardiac Health
Dilip Sarkar, MD

Heart health has many facets: physical, emotional, and spiritual. The practice of yoga is ideally suited to improve cardiac health on all levels: body, mind, and spirit. Many studies have documented improvements in heart disease and prevention through yoga.  Retired Vascular Surgeon, Ayurvedic practitioner, and Yoga Therapy teacher, Dr. Dilip Sarkar’s journey in Integrative Medicine began with his own heart attack and bypass surgery in 2001.  Join Yogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian in a conversation with Dr. Sarkar about the ways that yoga can contribute to heart health and vitality.

Dilip Sarkar, MD, is a retired vascular surgeon and Fellow of the American Association of Integrative Medicine. A certified Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher, Dr. Sarkar teaches classes in yoga therapy, Ayurvedic wellness, and integrative medicine, combining forty-five years of experience in conventional medicine with knowledge of Ayurveda and yoga.  Dr. Sarkar currently serves on several healthcare boards, including the American Heart Association (AHA) and as President, Board of Directors, International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT). He is a life member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association and also serves as Board Chairman for the Life in Yoga Institute and Chairman of the School of Integrative Medicine at Taksha University in Hampton, VA. Visit 

4/30/15 - Yoga Is for Everyone!
Matra Raj

As a complete path of Self-realization, yoga offers a wide variety of practices that can be adapted to individual circumstances, including one’s body-type and stage of life. Join Yogacharya O’Brian and Matra Raj, certified yoga therapist, and discover how practices from the yoga tradition can contribute to your vitality and enhance your ability to experience excellence in all aspects of your life.

  • Learn how regular people with busy schedules can experience enhanced health and well-being through asana, the physical postures of yoga
  • Explore the benefits of non-asana practices, including mudra—powerful gestures which rejuvenate the nervous system and restore hormonal balance
  • Gain insight into the many benefits—physical, emotional, and spiritual—that come from a well-balanced yoga program
  • Let go of limiting beliefs about what yoga is – and about what is possible for you!

Matra Raj is an occupational therapist, a perinatal educator, and a yoga therapist. She has integrated therapeutic yoga in acute, clinical, research, and community wellness settings. For the past 30 years, Ms. Raj has presented at national and international conferences, published several papers, and conducted workshops and seminars for professionals and community wellness programs. Ms. Raj serves on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. She is the author of Yoga for Pregnancy, Birth, and Vibrant Life and has created educational DVDs for pre-natal and mother-baby yoga.

4/23/15 - Breathe Easy with Pranayama    
Amy Wheeler, Ph.D.  

Breathing is essential to life, and unique in that breathing can either happen unconsciously or be controlled deliberately. Pranayama, or conscious breath regulation, is one of the eight limbs of yoga described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the primary text of classical yoga. Amy Wheeler, Ph.D., Professor of Kinesiology at California State University at San Bernardino, yoga therapist, and yoga teacher trainer, joins The Yoga Hour’s co-host, Dr. Laurel Trujillo, for a conversation about pranayama.

  • Find out about the proven health benefits of pranayama
  • Learn how pranayama can help you adjust your moods • Explore the effects of pranayama to calm and steady the mind
  • Tune in and begin to breathe easier!

Amy Wheeler, Ph.D., is on the Board of Directors for the International Association of Yoga Therapists. Over the last 25 years, Amy’s life purpose has been to educate people in yoga, psychology and wellness. Amy has studied yoga and yoga therapy in India, Europe and the United States. During the past 15 years, Amy studied extensively in the T. Krishnamacharya Tradition. Amy has been certified as a yoga teacher, yoga teacher trainer and yoga therapist in this tradition. Prior to this, Amy completed teacher training certifications in several internationally popular styles of yoga and yoga therapy. Amy teaches Yoga Therapy at the Loyola Marymount University Yoga Rx Program, and is on the LMU Faculty offering one of the first Masters Degree Programs in Yoga in the United States. Visit

4/09/15 - Stress Less with Yoga and Meditation  
Carrie E. Demers, M.D.

The ancient system of yoga is ideally designed to counteract the effects of stress in our fast-paced lives. While medical research has linked chronic stress to negative health consequences and even many diseases, research has also documented the improvements available through the use of yoga and meditation. These ancient approaches not only reduce tension, they can also help us adjust our emotions and attitudes so that we experience more relaxation. Carrie Demers, MD, Director of the Himalayan Institute Total Health Center, joins The Yoga Hour’s co-host, Dr. Laurel Trujillo, for a discussion of the many tools within yoga and meditation that help us reduce stress and live with more peace and joy.

Board-certified in Internal Medicine, Carrie E. Demers, M.D. is a holistic physician who blends modern medicine with traditional approaches to health. After receiving her medical degree from the University of Cincinnati and completing her residency at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, Dr. Demers went on to study massage, homeopathy, nutrition, herbal medicine and Ayurveda. She is on the faculty of the Himalayan Institute, and is Medical Director of the Institute’s Total Health Center. Dr. Demers has been interviewed by numerous magazines and newspapers, and lectures nationally on holistic health and ayurveda. She is a frequent contributor to Yoga International

3/26/15 - The Dynamic Balance of Ayurveda and Yoga
Felicia Tomasko

Change is a constant element in life. Learn about essential tools that allow us to live in peace, harmony, and joy despite the ever-changing world. In Yoga, balance extends beyond the physical skill we build doing postures to our mind, emotions, and spiritual life. Through Ayurveda, diet and lifestyle practices help us to harmonize our innate constitution so that we experience optimum wellbeing. Felicia Tomasko, Editor-in-chief of LA Yoga Magazine, joins Yogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian for a conversation about the unique tools and perspectives that Yoga and Ayurveda provide to help balance our lives.

Felicia Tomasko,  RN, E-RYT 500, has been studying and practicing Ayurveda since 1993, and teaching yoga since 1997. In addition to her work in yoga and Ayurveda, Felicia has degrees in nursing and environmental biology and has worked in cognitive neuropsychology and plant biochemistry research at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Felicia’s passion is the integration of yoga and Ayurveda with modern medicine and daily life. She has edited and contributed to numerous books and articles on health, yoga and Ayurveda and medicine. Since 2002, Felicia has worked at LA YOGA Ayurveda and Health magazine where she is currently the editor in chief. Felicia is on the editorial board of Light on Ayurveda Journal, on the board of directors of the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine, maintains a private Ayurveda and Yoga therapy practice in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, California and teaches Ayurveda and yoga therapy in teacher training programs across the U.S.

3/12/15 - Enjoy Your Life: Lessons from Ayurveda and Yoga
Gwen Nagano  

Among the many benefits of Ayurveda and Yoga is increased enjoyment of life.  Expanding from our awareness that all of life is connected, we develop an increased appreciation of the bounty of life from moment to moment.  Join Yogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian and Gwen Nagano, President of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, for a conversation about what Ayurveda and Yoga teach us about the importance of enjoying life. Discover the practical steps you can take right away to experience greater well-being and abundant joy every day.

Gwen Nagano is an Ayurvedic Wellness Practitioner and Educator. Firsthand experience with the day-to-day challenges of practicing the Ayurvedic profession has led Gwen to focus on initiatives to improve Ayurveda standards and availability in the United States. Gwen has been a member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association since 2008 and currently serves as President and board member, in addition to heading up the steering committee for the Washington Ayurvedic Medical Association.

8/21/14 - Yoga Therapy: Yoga as Powerful Medicine for the Body, Mind, and Spirit 
Timothy McCall

Yoga philosophy teaches that our essential nature is whole, and within us all is the healing potential needed to bring our body, mind, and spirit into balance which reflects as total well-being. This holistic approach of yoga has scientifically proven beneficial effects, which are detailed in the book: Yoga As Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing by Dr Timothy McCall, a General Internist and long-time yoga practitioner. Join guest host Dr. Laurel Trujillo and Dr. McCall as they discuss Yoga Therapy:

  • Find out how science says yoga can help you get and stay healthy
  • Learn about yoga’s holistic approach to healing and living well
  • Explore the relationship of stress on health and healing, and yoga’s proven benefits as a stress reliever
  • Discover how yoga is being used therapeutically for common illnesses such as anxiety and hypertension.
  • Join us as we explore yoga’s many proven benefits and therapeutic uses. 

Dr. Timothy McCall is a board-certified physician specializing in internal medicine, the medical editor of Yoga Journal and the author of two books, Examining Your Doctor: A Patient’s Guide to Avoiding Harmful Medical Care and Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications, and he has been a guest on numerous national radio and television programs, including two appearances on The Today Show. Timothy has traveled in the US and India spending time with many of the world’s leading yoga therapists. He became Yoga Journal’s medical editor in 2002, has written feature articles as well as a regular column for the magazine, and has led workshops and given keynote addresses at many Yoga Journal conferences. Visit

3/06/14 - Yoga Therapy for Holistic Healing: Take Charge of Your Wellness Every Day
John Kepner 

If you think yoga therapy means twisting yourself into a pretzel, you will be surprised to learn that it is nothing like that! Listen to Yogacharya O’Brian and John Kepner, Executive Director of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, and learn:

  • What yoga therapy is
  • How your day-to-day activities are influenced by conditioning
  • What research is showing about the effectiveness of yoga therapy
  • How you can make lifestyle changes for increased wellness

Take charge of your wellness now. Refine and improve how you feel every day!

John Kepner is an economist turned yoga teacher in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he receives private students and maintains an active yoga therapy practice. He often lectures on yoga and yoga therapy, and co-taught the survey course on Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the University of Arkansas Medical School for two years. John has been the executive director of International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) since 2003. In recent years, John has focused on organizing IAYT’s practitioner and research conferences, developing educational standards for the training of Yoga therapists and now accrediting programs that meet those standards.

5/02/13 - Complete Well-Being: Holistic Understanding and Practice of Yoga  
Yogashree N.V. Raghuram

Yogashree N.V. Raghuram, Spiritual Founder and Chairman of Yoga Bharati, brings his wealth of experience and knowledge to this conversation with Yogacharya O’Brian about the dynamic meeting of yoga’s ancient wisdom with modern research for health, healing and total well-being. 

Yogashree N.V. Raghuram is the Spiritual Founder and Chairman of Yoga Bharati. He is currently "Professor of Yogic Sciences" with Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (SVYASA) Bangalore INDIA. He teaches Yogasanas, Pranayama, Dhyana, cure for various ailments, along with a complete Theoretical Yogic and Scientific background through lectures. Sri Raghuram has trained under some of the most renowned exponents of Yoga in India and has been practicing Yoga for more than 30 years.