MEDIA REVIEW: Yoga for Your Mood Deck, by Amy Weintraub
Review by Kathryn Shafer
Whether you are new to yoga or a seasoned yogi, Amy Weintraub’s Yoga for Your Mood Deck: 52 Ways to Shift Depression and Anxiety will be an excellent resource. I also recommend it for healthcare providers exploring research on how yoga works in a clinical setting, trauma survivors, and those who simply need suggestions for their own self-care.
Weintraub, author of Yoga for Depression, makes yogic tools accessible for use in a variety of settings through this innovative card deck. The Yoga for Your Mood Deck guides the yoga teacher, psychotherapist, or newcomer to yoga in learning which pranayama (breathing), mudra (hand gestures), or asana (posture) they might want to explore in various states of mood. Just pick a card or several to access the yogic technique you need in a moment’s notice.
These 52 cards present what the author considers to be the most therapeutic yoga practices for managing your mood, along with basic instructions and illustrations to follow. She also provides the benefits of each technique so you can choose the right practice for your temperament. The deck’s color coding guides users to help lift depression (red), calm anxiety (blue), or ground for balance (green). As a yoga practitioner, I found that the color-coded scheme deepened my understanding of the benefits offered by each practice.
I especially recommend this deck to therapists interested in learning the benefits of yoga and how to integrate yogic tools into psychotherapy sessions. Various cards can be helpful for calming hyperarousal, stabilizing mood swings, supporting sobriety maintenance, or as “homework” between sessions so clients can practice self-soothing exercises on their own. Individuals can use this deck to learn how to set an intention for motivation at the start of the day, or learn different self-regulation skills for calming the reactive mind and tense body within minutes—no mat or dress code required!
Goddess Mudra (Kali)
Break through constricting thoughts and limiting emotions with the mudra that represents Goddess Kali, who destroys the darkness of our ignorance.
In a seated position, interlace your fingers and extend your index fingers to point upward.
Hold this hand position at your heart as you breathe 5 to 20 breaths.
You can enhance the effects with the statement, “Fearlessness breathes through me now.”
You can also try holding the mudra in front of your brow point as you breathe through the nostrils, visualizing light at your brow.
Excerpted from Yoga for Your Mood Deck: 52 Ways to Shift Depression and Anxiety by Amy Weintraub. Illustrated by Juliet Percival. Copyright© 2021 Amy Weintraub. To be published by Sounds True in August 2021.
Whether you are on the go, in the office, brainstorming themes for your yoga class, integrating mindful skills into a psychotherapy group, or navigating recovery, this deck can work as a set of on-demand wisdom cards. The evidence-based practices include down-to-earth instructions, making Yoga for Your Mood Deck a valuable tool in everyone’s self-care toolkit!
Kathryn Shafer, PhD, LCSW, C-IAYT, is a psychotherapist and yoga therapist in private practice in Jupiter, Florida. Author of the FUN program, she also provides consultation and continuing education training for licensed psychotherapists and yoga therapists.