In her weekly column for the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington wrote this week about how yoga is being used to help returning veterans:
The embrace of yoga — especially among onetime skeptics in “hard-core military circles” — is a step forward in our efforts to give veterans the care they need and deserve. It’s also in line with the latest research and thinking about the destructive force of stress in our lives. The adrenaline-fueled hyper-vigilance that’s so vital to our soldiers in combat zones becomes, for many, a nightmare of anxiety that makes it difficult to function when they come back home. That was the case for Sgt. Senio Martz, a 27-year-old Marine who was knocked unconscious by a roadside bomb when leading his squad through southern Afghanistan in 2011. Today, yoga relieves him from the need to closely monitor his surroundings during the day — an obsession that was also keeping him up at night. “Last night after yoga, I had a good sleep,” he says. “That’s a place I haven’t been in a long, long time.”
Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs researchers have found that yoga’s stretching, breathing techniques and meditation can help calm the part of the brain that the stresses of war kicks into a state of hyper-arousal. And more and more yoga teachers are bringing these practices to the vets who need them. Robin Carnes, who helped develop a program called iRest, found that meditation helps draw patients’ attention inward, away from outside stresses. She also founded “Warriors at Ease,” which trains and certifies yoga teachers to bring calming yoga practices to even more soldiers in need.
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For more information about yoga for veterans, check out the Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans Coping with Trauma in the Intent Shop. This resource guide was developed by yoga instructor Suzanne Manafort and Dr. Daniel Libby to provide a set of simple, but powerful practices to help veterans dealing with PTSD and other psycho-emotional stress.