Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans is a powerful tool to promote tranquility and healing for the body. In this succinct program, my dear friend Suzanne Manafort introduces the practice of Yoga to our heroes. The wisdom contained in this program is now a significant part of my personal and professional life.
Throughout the years, I have combined my military career with a fulfilling yoga practice. My warrior quests have taken me all over the world. I have served in two major armed conflicts and worked at the largest center for military strategy, the Pentagon. Despite my triumphs and adventures, I have also experienced a few downfalls. Due to the high demands of my military service, I too, have found myself depressed and stressed for periods of time. Additionally, I have seen the reality of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) up close and personally: in friends, co-workers, and my brothers and sisters in uniform. It is not easy when someone you love falls into a dark place of isolation, anxiety, and despair.
As a yoga teacher and a military veteran, I wanted to connect the dots and develop my own conclusions for what I believe to be an effective, accepted, and comfortable yoga approach to support our veterans and their families. While working on my advanced yoga certification, I decided to write my final thesis on “Yoga for Veterans Coping with PTS.” As I embarked on this journey, I met wonderful teachers, and learned and experienced different methods. I have no doubt that Mindful Yoga Therapy is by far the soundest approach available to the veteran community. The combination of intentional practices of breathing, asana, yoga nidra, meditation, and gratitude offer a wide range of possibilities to teachers and veteran practitioners. Moreover, I admire Suzanne’s efforts to promote the program at minimal or no cost to veterans. Her love for our heroes, dedication, and hard work in partnership with the Give Back Yoga Foundation has made the program widely accessible to our community.
I am happy to say that I have successfully included Mindful Yoga Therapy principles in the yoga classes I teach at the Pentagon Athletic Center and at various workshops and Wounded Warrior Camps. For a teacher, there is nothing more rewarding than completing a hero’s yoga practice and feeling the joy and tranquility permeating the space. As a veteran practicing yoga, the feeling of connection to other warriors, and the sense of being safe and grounded while nurturing rest and healing, is priceless.
Mindful Yoga Therapy focuses on supporting veterans, but I truly believe this approach also serves as a physical and mental resilience-building tool for people from all walks of life. By applying Suzanne’s “toolbox” while cultivating a steady yoga practice, you will experience a wonderful and positive transformation for living well and better! It is my honor to present it to you.
RYT500 Yoga Teacher and Captain, United States Air Force