“With yoga, you can become a vehicle of transformation, shining your light to inspire others to find their inner strength.”
When you think of yoga, you may think of many different things. A quiet studio filled with lithe & limber bodies, the gentle rise and fall of meditative breath, or the quiet tremble of muscles as they hold, hold, and hold an asana. What you may not consider when conjuring up images of what yoga could be is a group of seasoned war veterans. Toughened men and women with hardened faces and no-nonsense attitudes. Haunted eyes that have seen more than they would ever talk about and buried trauma that no one talks about. Yes, yoga can be full of light and wonder, ebb and flow. However, for some, yoga can also be a relief, acceptance. A way to learn to deal with the deeply buried pain and fear. A reclamation to their lives from the turmoil within. Because yoga is about living in the moment, being present breath by breath, veterans are able to forge a mind-body connection that is healing.
Many veterans, young and retired, are turning to yoga to help them deal with PTSD. PTSD or post traumatic stress syndrome is defined as (according to Mayo Clinic) a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event –– either experiencing it or witnessing it. To cut it down, post-traumatic stress is a natural reaction to an unnatural occurrence. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. Most people who go through traumatic events may have a hard time adjusting and coping. The good news is that yoga has been shown to help veterans deal with un-attaching from the intense emotional and physical waves of trauma symptoms. For some veterans, practicing the asanas as well as the pranayamas, moving through poses and concentrating on the breath helps with connections that may have been disrupted by living in a constant fight-or-flight state. For those experiencing PTSD, practicing yoga can help with feeling and trusting physical sensations such as natural limits within a particular pose, and it allows veterans to witness the experience instead of feeling shame or fear. Yoga is helping the brave men and women who have served our country, allowing us this beautiful freedom we live, learn about sitting with themselves, and each other, for long enough to accept who they are.
By developing a mindful, embodied yoga practice it is possible to transform fear and anger, sleep better, and live at one’s own pace. Hatha, Kundalini, and Yin yoga are great types of yoga that have been shown to help with PTSD. At its best, a steady and committed yoga practice helps veterans to become aware, clear-sighted, and brave away from the war zone. Yoga helps with recognizing reactive self. PTSD can be harrowing. By practicing yoga you can realize that when you are overreacting, or becoming super anxious, or highly emotional it is PTSD at work. When this is recognized, there is a better chance to work through it. Yoga helps with this.
If you are interested in learning more about yoga or would like to attend a class, feel free to reach out to Krista at https://www.alignedwithgreen.com/.