An invitation to yoga teachers: help to save Veterans in 2016

Mindful Yoga Therapy 100-Hour Program

The new year is a time to set our intention for the coming seasons — to identify and commit to practices that help us make a greater impact in engaging with our life’s purpose and serving others. What’s your goal for the coming year?

As a member of our yoga service community, perhaps your vision is to add valuable skills and knowledge to your teaching toolkit in 2016, or to connect with underserved or at-risk populations in your neighborhood to share yoga. If so, Mindful Yoga Therapy program director Suzanne Manafort has an important message for you: there’s never been a better time to make a difference. 


An Invitation to Yoga Teachers: Help Us To Save Veterans in 2016

For many of us, the practices of yoga have changed our lives. That statement may seem dramatic, but it’s true. These practices teach us to turn inward, to pay attention, and to notice without judgment. They enable us to find balance in our bodies and minds, as well as develop our overall well-being. Because of those benefits, yoga is an invaluable asset for Veterans who are coping with trauma-related psychological difficulties.

Every day in the United States, an estimated 22 Veterans a day are committing suicide. We want to change that. One way we’re making a difference is through the Mindful Yoga Therapy program, developed to help Veterans to find a calm and steady/mind and continue productive and peaceful lives through the support of the mindful practices of yoga and education.

Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans is an empirically-informed, clinically tested program comprised of five practices: Pranayama (breathing), Asana (postures connected with breath), Yoga Nidra, Meditation, and Gratitude. Each practice is a tool Veterans can use to cope with Post Traumatic Stress, and together they form a comprehensive system – a toolbox – that will carry Veterans into a life of strength and resilience.

For certified yoga teachers who are interested in sharing this proven protocol, our 100-Hour Mindful Yoga Therapy program offers a deep exploration of this trauma-informed system. The 100-hour certification program consists of five modules, presented over five weekends, that prepares graduates to offer both the Beginning Mindful Yoga Therapy Program and our new next-level Resilience Program in clinical or community settings. 
Both programs include a 12-week protocol that includes Embodyoga® supports and all five “Tools” from the “Tool Box.”

Suzanne-ManafortYoga practices are a powerful complement to professional treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress. A mindful, embodied yoga practice can provide relief from symptoms and develop the supportive skills that Veterans need in their everyday lives. Yoga has proven to aid in a Veteran’s healing journey; and we believe that Mindful Yoga Therapy, used in conjunction with psychotherapy, can make a positive impact on the number of veterans we lose each day. Our hopes and aspirations are that we can make a difference.

Losing 22 veterans a day to suicide is unacceptable. Please help us to change that.

Suzanne Manafort, Founder & Director
Mindful Yoga Therapy

 


 

Mindful Yoga Therapy’s next scheduled 100-hour certification training begins in March 2016 in Newington, CT. A limited number of scholarships are available for teachers who are veterans or active duty service members. For more information on scholarships, email connect@mindfulyogatherapy.org. To register for the 100-hour program or view all upcoming Mindful Yoga Therapy trainings, visit the Give Back Yoga Trainings & Events page.

Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans 100-Hour Certification in Newington, CT • Begins March 18, 2016

Mindful Yoga Therapy

This 100-hour Embodyoga®-based training for yoga teachers offers an in-depth study of our trauma yoga protocol.

Mindful Yoga Therapy is an empirically informed, clinically tested program comprised of five practices: Pranayama (breathing), Asana (postures connected with breath), Yoga Nidra, Meditation, and Gratitude. Each practice is a tool Veterans can use to cope with Post Traumatic Stress, and together, they form a comprehensive system – a toolbox – that will carry Veterans into a life of strength and resilience.

Give Back Yoga is proud to support the third session of Mindful Yoga Therapy’s 100-Hour Certification program, beginning in March 2015 at Newington Yoga Center in Connecticut. Led by GBYF board members Suzanne Manafort and Ann Richardson Stevens, the program consists of five modules presented over five weekends, covering both the Beginning Mindful Yoga Therapy Program and a new Resilience Program. 
The 12-week Resilience Program is the follow-up to the Beginning Mindful Yoga Therapy Program. Both programs include a 12-week protocol that incorporates Embodyoga® supports and all five “tools” from the Mindful Yoga Therapy “toolbox.”

Yoga practices are a powerful complement to professional treatment for Post Traumatic Stress. A mindful, embodied yoga practice can provide relief from symptoms and develop the supportive skills that Veterans need in their everyday lives. This in-depth certification prepares teachers to share Mindful Yoga Therapy with veterans in either a community or a clinical setting. If you’re a certified yoga teacher, we invite you to help support the healing journey of Veterans in your area.

Highly beneficial for anyone dealing with trauma, anxiety and stress, the Mindful Yoga Therapy program also offers limitless real-life applications for broader populations.

“The training has changed the quality, content and presentation of how I guide any and all yoga classes.”

– Cheryl

Training Location:

Newington Yoga Center
122 Market Square
Newington, CT 06111

To view a list of all upcoming 15-hour and 100-hour trainings, visit our Mindful Yoga Therapy Teacher Trainings page. To be notified of new dates as they are added, find out about scholarship opportunities and receive program updates, join the Mindful Yoga Therapy mailing list.

Faculty:

Faculty includes experienced yoga teachers and Veterans. You’ll study with:

Suzanne Manafort, Mindful Yoga Therapy Founder
Robin Gilmartin, Clinical Therapist
Patty Townsend, Embodyoga® founder
Ann Richardson, Adaptive Yoga teacher
Amy Lawson, senior faculty member

Modules:

Module 1 : March 18-20, 2016
Guiding Principle – Support Precedes Action – The MYT Supports
Why Mindful Yoga Therapy for PTSD
The Toolbox – Pranayama, Asana, Yoga Nidra, Meditation, and Gratitude
Breath and the Nervous System
The Breathing Practices
Practices for the Mindful Yoga Therapy Beginning Program
Practices for the Resilience Program
Teaching Practicum
Military Culture- The Branches and Ranks

Module 2: April 15-17, 2016
Guiding Principles – Safety, Control, and Predictability
Acceptance, Inclusion, and Non- Judgment
The Brain and The Endocrine System
Teaching Practicum
The Mindful Yoga Therapy Asana classes and its Variations
Asana for the Mindful Yoga Therapy Beginning Program
Asana for the Resilience Program
Military Culture – Veterans Connections and Camaraderie

Module 3: May 20-22, 2016
Guiding Principle – Mindfulness
Yoga Nidra
Warrior Nidra
Adaptive Yoga and PTSD
Teaching Practicum
Military Culture – The Different Wars

Module 4: June 10-12, 2016
Meditation and the Brain
The Mindful Yoga Therapy Meditation Practices
Meditation Practice for the Mindful Yoga Therapy Beginning Program
Meditation for the Resilience Program
Recovery and Post Traumatic Growth
Meaning, Purpose and Growth
Social support
Teaching Practicum
Military Culture – Coming Home, Transition, and the Veteran Suicide Epidemic

Module 5: July 8-10, 2016
Gratitude
Reviewing all of the practices and finding the most effective way to implement them
The 12-Week Protocol for the Mindful Yoga Therapy Beginning Program
The 12-Week Protocol for the Resilience Program
Overview of treatment and complementary therapies
Teaching Practicum
Families of Veterans
Taking Mindful Yoga Therapy into the world
Vicarious Traumatization and Self Care
Military Culture – Treatment and Recovery from a Veterans Perspective

Graduation Requirements:

Completion of all modules
Competency presentation

Continuing Education:

100 hours of Yoga Alliance continuing education credits are available.

Prerequisites, Cost and Registration:

The prerequisite for this program is a minimum of a 200 hour training. Cost for the full program is $1500. You may also elect to make 3 payments of $600 each.

Scholarship Opportunities:

Veterans and Active Duty Servicemembers: A limited number of scholarships are available to support yoga teachers who are veterans or active duty service members. For more information, email Mindful Yoga Therapy at connect@mindfulyogatherapy.org.

Register for the Mindful Yoga Therapy 100-Hour Certification at Newington Yoga Center.

Phoenix Patriot Foundation Partnership Supports Yoga for Veterans

Phoenix Patriot FoundationGive Back Yoga is honored to partner with the Phoenix Patriot Foundation, an organization that provides direct support to post-9/11 wounded and injured veterans enabling them to fully “Recover, Reintegrate and Remain Engaged” in service to their communities and country. Phoenix Patriot Foundation aids veterans by developing and implementing an individually-tailored program to ensure independence and lifelong sustainability.

Through the foundation’s Wellness Program, veterans now have access to free Mindful Yoga Therapy and Yoga For Warriors practice guides offered through Give Back Yoga, providing an opportunity to begin experiencing the healing benefits of yoga. Phoenix Patriot Foundation is also co-funding scholarships with Give Back Yoga to help post-9/11 veterans complete a Mindful Yoga Therapy teacher training and share this beneficial practice with their peers.

This partnership was established with the help of PPF’s Development Director, Audrey C. Dalton. The daughter of a wounded WWII Purple Heart recipient and the wife of a former Marine who also practices yoga, Audrey shared her thoughts on why wounded warriors can benefit from the tools of yoga.

Yoga For Veterans: The Need for the Power of Possibility

I see a huge need for the Mindful Yoga Therapy toolkit. The trouble veterans often encounter is that they experience post-traumatic stress, and as a result may become deeply depressed. In many cases, veterans who already feel isolated feel as if there is no answer. Many veterans do not even know that options outside of conventional therapy exist. Often they have never tried Yoga, either as a form of exercise or a form of therapy, thinking it either odd or too Eastern, or viewing it as having only a religious connotation. Whether they have limited motion due to injuries or are missing a limb or limbs, veterans may think of Yoga as outside of their scope, even though they are trained warriors.

Mark Zambon

Photo: Sakal Times

In the past when I taught Yoga classes, many of my students had limited movement and I used adaptive techniques so that they could participate. All veterans can practice Yoga, even if the practice is limited to Yogic breathing techniques. In many instances, the mindset of a warrior only enhances their ability to concentrate. The body is joined with the spirit, and I feel all who come to appreciate Yoga see possibilities, not limitations.

Many veterans return from battle without limbs and on drugs prescribed for pain control. When they deployed from the U.S. for combat, some were fresh out of high school with no college or vocational training. When veterans transition back into civilian life, it is as if they have stepped out of a time warp. Technology has advanced light years within the timeframe from when they initially enlisted. Job prospects may exist, but many of the jobs that are available require training or college. Veterans may not have learned how to structure a resumé, and often feel frustration mount as they are faced with few options to pursue as sources of income.

The most poignant aspect of all is that these men and women swear an oath to serve, and when they return from duty, the prospects seem grim. Nothing could be further than the truth. These veterans are heroes and Patriots, and we can all learn from their experiences and from their wounds, as tragic as they may be. There is a great depth to all those who travel the road of the military, and there are many good lessons garnered from military experience. Veterans need to see that civilians deeply appreciate their sacrifices.

Audrey DaltonI see Yoga as a saving grace available to all people, and a phenomenal opportunity for veterans to find a way out of darkness and despair. The very definition of Yoga is “to yoke” the union of the spirit or Supreme being with the body. That is what makes it so beautiful, and so powerful.

Audrey C. Dalton
Development & Marketing Director
PHOENIX PATRIOT FOUNDATION

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Veterans and servicemembers: request free yoga resources through the Give Back Yoga Foundation.

 

Warriors For Healing Event Draws Yogis, Veterans

On June 28th, 2015, more than six hundred yogis from around the country joined us for the first live Warriors For Healing event at Yoga Journal LIVE! in San Diego. The inspirational 90-minute practice celebrated the service of veterans and raised awareness for the potential of helping warriors to heal from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress (PTS) through the healing science of yoga. The event was coordinated through Warriors For Healing, a foundation launched by teacher Bhava Ram that’s supported through the fiscal sponsorship of Give Back Yoga.

Welcoming dozens of veterans who came to practice alongside the yoga community, Mayor Casey Tanaka proclaimed it “Warriors for Healing Day” in the City of Coronado, where the Yoga Journal conference was held. Among those in attendance was Give Back Yoga’s Veterans’ Outreach Coordinator Anthony Scaletta, the leader of our Warriors For Healing crowdfunding campaign. With Anthony’s help, Give Back Yoga raised more than $8,250 to support our mission of yoga outreach to veterans.

We owe a debt a gratitude to each partner and community member who supported the Warrior For Healing event and crowdfunding campaign. With your help, we connected with many veterans who are benefitting from yoga, while inspiring a growing number of yogis to join us in practicing selfless service. View some of their stories on our Warriors For Healing video playlist.

Video spotlight: Warriors for Healing come together in San Diego.

Join us as a Warrior For Healing.

Ena Burrud: Helping Map the Path Home for Veterans

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 9.10.32 AMThis is an interview with Ena Burrud, E-RYT500, a certified yoga therapist working with veterans in Colorado and Wyoming. Herself diagnosed with PTSD from chronic trauma, she has been offering iRest (integrative restoration) since 2012; and began sharing the practice in VA facilities in 2014.

Rob: What originally motivated you to do this work, and what continues to motivate you? How, if at all, has that motivation changed over time?

Abuse and traumas in my life drove me to express myself initially as an actress in college, and then professionally. Although successful, I was drawn to dig deeper. Yoga and iRest meditation put me in the trenches, both in my personal work, and in teaching yoga. In my first iRest training, the class consisted of 70 percent veterans and those working with them. The sense of duty and pain were palpable.

My father is ex-Navy. I was briefly in civil air patrol as a teen, and later denied enlistment in the Air Force for health reasons. I’ve always been attracted to warriors; yogic texts, like the Bhagavad Gita, flesh out the metaphor of battle. Those stories help us identify personal forms of conflict and resolution. Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to the men and women who have given their time, hearts, minds, and skills to protect our liberties. I am compelled to help them come home, inside and out.

Is there a standout moment from your work with the veteran population?

It occurred during an iRest training session: a beautiful female veteran stood up, took the microphone, and began to cry. She said that when pressed to find a symbol for her safety, she couldn’t decide between her newborn baby or her weapon. The entire room was quiet. She spoke not only for a soldier’s surreal dilemma, but also for a woman’s place in modern warfare.

What did you know about the population you are working with before you began teaching? What were some of the assumptions you had about this population, and how have those assumptions changed?

I’m quite familiar with facing life after trauma. I had not, however, heard the details of these exquisitely personal war stories of the veterans I teach. How can anyone experience war and NOT struggle back home? The rules of engagement for war are based on strategy and staying alive. We watch war movies, the news and other media from the comfort of our couches. It’s neither right, nor wrong. It is simply our present-day reality. But it is startling that we do not seem to have enough resources for our vets’ needs back at home; veterans are very underserved. My experience as a vendor for the VA is that we need smoother, more expeditious systems in place, as well as more providers and diversity of treatments.

What are two distinct ways that your teaching style differs from the way you might teach in a studio, and what are the reasons for these differences?

In a typical studio group class, my approach is based on theme, requests, Ayurvedic assessment, and often the seasons. The cadence and style are light or contemplative, with breath work geared to philosophical and spiritual growth. In private sessions and veteran groups, I use a structured approach for sense of success and familiarity. iRest has a protocol, but each session shifts its inquiry within the framework. Some deconditioning is the result of this slower-paced journey; that can be uncomfortable. Calming breathing techniques, grounded poses, lifestyle choices and applied yoga psychology are part of the work we do together.

What has been the greatest challenge in your teaching experience, and what tools have you developed for addressing that challenge?

Personal agenda is a sneaky creature. It pops up right when a client is having an insight and finding words to express it. Through the years, the greatest moments of healing come from my listening and presenting the work while I remain somewhat invisible. The challenge is to keep things simple, easy to take home and to duplicate, to not overload too much information. There is such a wealth of text out there with incredible philosophical content that can radically alter outlook. But we can only digest a little at a time; it takes a while to feel the difference. That “felt sense” (iRest vernacular) is the catalyst for change.

What advice would you give to anyone who is going to teach in the population you work with?

Do it! This is an amazing group of people. Enroll in specific training and procure professional mentorship of those who are already doing the work. Seek advice from western and eastern medical fields, and nurture those relationships. Stay optimistic when a group series yields attrition; we can’t know what kinds of struggles keep our vets from regularly attending sessions. Keep the pacing slower, the language easily digestible, and intuit when to shift the class or session plan. Cultivate the skill of synthesizing yoga philosophy with other cultural and religious belief systems. Finally, develop strong personal and professional boundaries. This will elicit respect and reverence for all involved.

What are some of your ideas about, or hopes for, the future of “service yoga” in America in the next decade?

The wounds of our veterans permeate all realms: physical, psychological, and spiritual. Posted on The Huffington Post, January 10, 2014, “veterans make up nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population, they account for roughly one in five suicides, according to an analysis conducted by News21, an investigative student journalism initiative, CNN reported in September.” Their needs are immediate. Yet our nation struggles to allocate resources. Implementing more models in which non-VA care providers network and advertise directly to this population would be advantageous for all involved. Websites that categorize grant-funded, nominally- and competitively-priced services would facilitate greater access to more care. Our imperative is to assist these brave men and women with re-integration into the very culture they have fought hard to protect. Training for war is intensive. Training to return to their home lives is crucial.

How has this work changed your definition of service? Your definition of yoga? Your practice?

Needs are dynamic in the continuum of healing, and iRest and yoga therapy are flexible approaches that can serve anyone on that continuum. This is important, because healing doesn’t occur in a linear fashion. Service here is now defined by an explorative quality of being with, rather than “dealing” with, a condition. Classical definitions of yoga practice from my early years had markers of progress. Now, charting those markers has become less concrete. There is a soulful artistry in allowing pain, joy, confusion, loss, and success move through our open hands like water. Nothing here is permanent. This realization has fostered deeper appreciation for me. I am in each soldier’s story. My personal practice more deeply honors the chaotic and the mundane for the gifts they bring. My teen children need me to just do nothing with them sometimes, to listen to them talk of friends and new shoes. I am also compelled to listen to the pain a vet shares when remembering unimaginable destruction. Those relationships are the union to which the definition of yoga refers. That is the practice now. I listen, breathe, and feel the sacredness of it all.

Originally published on The Huffington Post Blog on April 27, 2015

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Help us to expand awareness about the healing powers of yoga: learn how you can become a Warrior for Healing  by participating in our upcoming event and crowdfunding campaign.

 

Gaiam Partners With GBYF For A 3-Year Corporate Sponsorship

Gaiam donates to Give Back Yoga to provide veterans with the tools to experience the gift of yoga

NEW YORK, April 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/Gaiam, a leading yoga, fitness and wellness company, today announces a three-year partnership with the Give Back Yoga Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to making yoga available to those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to cultivate a regular practice- including at-risk youth and veterans with PTSD. With the goal of sharing and spreading the transformative benefits of yoga, the Give Back Yoga Foundation embodies Gaiam’s philosophy of providing “Yoga for Everyone.”

Courtesy of Robbins Point Photography for Yoga for Warriors

As part of the partnership, Gaiam is making a special financial contribution to the Give Back Yoga Foundation’s Light the Way for Heroes™ initiative, a campaign designed to provide the proper tools to veterans so they can practice and use yoga as a means of “navigating life after war” which will strengthen connections with loved ones and improve quality of life. With a goal of providing for 30,000 veterans, Gaiam and Give Back Yoga aim to empower veterans to use yoga as a means of living a peaceful, productive life.

Gaiam is also inviting their loyal online shoppers to support the cause by donating $2 specifically to Light the Way for Heroes with every purchase on Gaiam.com. The customer donations through Gaiam.com will help to provide veterans with therapeutic yoga toolkits, which offer resources including practice guides, meditation audio and Gaiam yoga mats that can help veterans experience how a personal yoga practice supports a calm and steady body and mind. One hundred percent of the donations collected are passed along to Give Back Yoga.

“We are thankful to partner with Give Back Yoga and provide aid to those who may not otherwise be able to discover and use yoga,” said COO Cyd Crouse. “We hope that by providing the tools to experience this powerful practice, we can help share the inner peace and comfort that comes from a regular yoga practice.”

Light the Way for Heroes™

“Time and again, we have received testimonials from veterans who have access to our Mindful Yoga Therapy practice guide, and who tell us ‘Yoga has changed my life. Yoga has saved my life,’” says Give Back Yoga Executive Director Rob Schware. “Through Gaiam’s partnership, we can bring these resources to many more returning warriors, giving them a valuable tool to lead a peaceful and productive life.”

Gaiam will also be donating yoga mats to the Give Back Yoga Foundation, for use in all of their initiatives.

About GAIAM
Gaiam, Inc. (Nasdaq: GAIA) is a leading producer and marketer of lifestyle media and fitness accessories. With a wide distribution network that consists of over 38,000 retail doors, close to 15,000 store within stores, 5,000 category management locations, along with e-commerce and digital subscriptions platforms, Gaiam is dedicated to providing solutions for healthy and eco-conscious living. The company dominates the health and wellness category. For more information about Gaiam, please visit www.gaiam.com or call 1.800.869.3603. View the original press release on PRNewswire.

 

Make a donation through Gaiam to help Light the Way for Heroes. 

 

 

Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans 100-Hour Certification in Virginia Beach • Begins July 17, 2015

Our 100 hour Embodyoga®-based training for yoga teachers provides an in-depth study and certification.

Mindful Yoga Therapy is an empirically informed, clinically tested program comprised of five practices: Pranayama (breathing), Asana (postures connected with breath), Yoga Nidra, Meditation, and Gratitude. Each practice is a tool Veterans can use to cope with Post Traumatic Stress, and together, they form a comprehensive system – a toolbox – that will carry Veterans into a life of strength and resilience.

Give Back Yoga is proud to support the second session of Mindful Yoga Therapy’s 100-Hour Certification program, beginning in July 2015 at Studio Bamboo Institute of Yoga in Virginia Beach. Led by GBYF board members Suzanne Manafort and Ann Richardson Stevens, the program consists of five modules presented over five weekends, covering both the Beginning Mindful Yoga Therapy Program and a new Resilience Program. 
The 12-week Resilience Program is the follow-up to the Beginning Mindful Yoga Therapy Program. Both programs include a 12-week protocol that incorporates Embodyoga® supports and all five “tools” from the Mindful Yoga Therapy “toolbox.”

Yoga practices are a powerful complement to professional treatment for Post Traumatic Stress. A mindful, embodied yoga practice can provide relief from symptoms and develop the supportive skills that Veterans need in their everyday lives. This in-depth certification prepares teachers to share Mindful Yoga Therapy with veterans in either a community or a clinical setting. If you’re a certified yoga teacher, we invite you to help support the healing journey of Veterans in your area.

Highly beneficial for anyone dealing with trauma, anxiety and stress, the Mindful Yoga Therapy program also offers limitless real-life applications for broader populations.

“The training has changed the quality, content and presentation of how I guide any and all yoga classes.”

– Cheryl

Training Location:

Studio Bamboo Yoga
2861 Lynnhaven Drive, Ste. 108
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

Our next 100-hour certification session begins January 2016 in Newington, CT. To be notified of new training dates, scholarship opportunities and program updates, join the Mindful Yoga Therapy mailing list.

Faculty:

Faculty includes experienced yoga teachers and Veterans. You’ll study with:

Suzanne Manafort, Mindful Yoga Therapy Founder
Robin Gilmartin, Clinical Therapist
Patty Townsend, Embodyoga® founder
Ann Richardson, Adaptive Yoga teacher
Amy Lawson, senior faculty member

Modules:

Module 1 : July 17-19, 2015
Guiding Principle – Support Precedes Action – The MYT Supports
Why Mindful Yoga Therapy for PTSD
The Toolbox – Pranayama, Asana, Yoga Nidra, Meditation, and Gratitude
Breath and the Nervous System
The Breathing Practices
Practices for the Mindful Yoga Therapy Beginning Program
Practices for the Resilience Program
Teaching Practicum
Military Culture- The Branches and Ranks

Module 2: August 7-9, 2015
Guiding Principles – Safety, Control, and Predictability
Acceptance, Inclusion, and Non- Judgment
The Brain and The Endocrine System
Teaching Practicum
The Mindful Yoga Therapy Asana classes and its Variations
Asana for the Mindful Yoga Therapy Beginning Program
Asana for the Resilience Program
Military Culture – Veterans Connections and Camaraderie

Module 3: September 11-13, 2015
Guiding Principle – Mindfulness
Yoga Nidra
Warrior Nidra
Adaptive Yoga and PTSD
Teaching Practicum
Military Culture – The Different Wars

Module 4: October 16-18, 2015
Meditation and the Brain
The Mindful Yoga Therapy Meditation Practices
Meditation Practice for the Mindful Yoga Therapy Beginning Program
Meditation for the Resilience Program
Recovery and Post Traumatic Growth
Meaning, Purpose and Growth
Social support
Teaching Practicum
Military Culture – Coming Home, Transition, and the Veteran Suicide Epidemic

Module 5: November 13-15, 2015
Gratitude
Reviewing all of the practices and finding the most effective way to implement them
The 12-Week Protocol for the Mindful Yoga Therapy Beginning Program
The 12-Week Protocol for the Resilience Program
Overview of treatment and complementary therapies
Teaching Practicum
Families of Veterans
Taking Mindful Yoga Therapy into the world
Vicarious Traumatization and Self Care
Military Culture – Treatment and Recovery from a Veterans Perspective

Graduation Requirements:

Completion of all modules
Competency presentation

Continuing Education:

100 hours of Yoga Alliance continuing education credits are available.

Prerequisites, Cost and Registration:

The prerequisite for this program is a minimum of a 200 hour training. Cost for the full program is $1500. You may also elect to make 3 payments of $600 each.

Scholarship Opportunities:

Military Spouses: Studio Bamboo is registered with the MyCAA program, which provides partial or full tuition for Career Advancement programs for military spouses. For more information, contact Studio Bamboo Yoga.

Veterans and Active Duty Servicemembers: Mindful Yoga Therapy has received a grant from The Sampson Foundation to fund scholarships that will help veterans and active duty servicemembers to attend any upcoming Mindful Yoga Therapy training. For more information, email Mindful Yoga Therapy at connect@mindfulyogatherapy.org.

Register for the Mindful Yoga Therapy 100-Hour Certification at Studio Bamboo.

Meet Anthony Scaletta: Reaching Out To Veterans, With Your Help

We’re honored to introduce you to a new member of the Give Back Yoga team: Anthony Scaletta, our new Outreach Coordinator for our Yoga for Veterans programs.

From 1998-2003, Anthony served as a US Navy Special Warfare Combatant Crewman (SWCC) with Naval Special Warfare Group 1 out of San Diego, CA. An 11 Meter RHIB operator, he did two deployments to the Northern Arabian Gulf region, conducting Maritime Interdiction Operations and reconnaissance missions. As a result of his service, he was diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, depression and OCD, while also suffering chronic pain and a spinal fusion surgery. It was through these “opportunities,” which he used to call obstacles, that yoga found Anthony. The practice immediately resonated with him as a way to heal and reintegrate after his military service.

Today, Anthony’s post-military mission is to be of service by bringing the transformational practice of yoga to others — especially veterans — as a way to ease their suffering and empower them toward healing. As a combat veteran and a certificated yoga teacher, Anthony is uniquely aligned to help lead the way for this current generation of veterans as a yoga teacher and advocate. In his role as Veteran Outreach Coordinator, Anthony will help Give Back Yoga to reach our goal of sharing free yoga and meditation resources with 30,000 veterans.

As lead ambassador for our Warriors For Healing crowdfunding campaign, Anthony is also raising funds and awareness for Give Back Yoga’s mission of sharing yoga with veterans — while providing leadership for other supporters who are getting started with their own crowdfunding team. Here’s two ways that you can give him a helping hand and have a direct impact on bringing yoga to more veterans:

1.) Help Anthony travel to the Warriors For Healing event hosted by Yoga Journal LIVE! in San Diego this June. This is an amazing opportunity for Anthony to work one-on-one with fellow veterans and yoga teachers who share the goal of making yoga more accessible to returning warriors. By making a donation of $10 or more to our crowdfunding page, you can help to cover the costs of his trip.

2.) Set up your own crowdfunding team. You can fundraise as a studio community, an individual, or with your friends. The Warriors For Healing foundation is offering crowdfunding incentives for each team that earns at least $250 (including valuable promotional spots that can benefit your studio or business). And all funds raised through Give Back Yoga’s unique crowdfunding page stay with our organization, supporting the growth and development of our veterans’ programs. As lead ambassador, Anthony can help you get set up as a GBYF Warriors For Healing team, and add you to a Basecamp project that will help to keep the fundraising ideas flowing.

Make an impact: donate $10 or more to help fund Anthony’s outreach trip to San Diego, or contact Anthony@GiveBackYoga.org to learn how to get started with your own Warriors For Healing crowdfunding team.

 

 

 

Warriors for Healing: Join the Movement to Support Yoga For Veterans

Give Back Yoga is honored to announce a partnership with Warriors for Healing, a new foundation created by former NBC News war correspondent Bhava Ram to bring the healing power of yoga to veterans nationwide.

Bhava was on the front lines of conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, covered drug wars in South America, social upheaval in Central America, apartheid in Africa, and reported from several of the largest refugee crises of our times. A broken back and failed surgery ended his career. Confined to a body brace and unable to sit up to eat a meal, Bhava fell into the abyss of prescription medications, depression and PTSD. Then came stage four cancer from exposure to depleted uranium in the Gulf War and the prognosis that survival was impossible. Literally on the brink of death, Bhava embraced mind/body medicine and the deeper practices of Yoga and its sister science, Ayurveda. Through this process, slowly and often painfully, he healed himself physically and emotionally. He now devotes his life to helping others reclaim their inherent power of self-healing, find their authentic voices, and manifest their fullest potential. Watch Bhava’s story in a video from the Chopra Center’s Weekend Within.

Now, Bhava has teamed with Yoga Journal LIVE! to create a premier event at the San Diego Conference this June to honor our veterans and to raise funds for Give Back Yoga. All who support this effort are invited to join us in selfless service by creating a Warriors for Healing fundraising team on Crowdrise, reaching out to family and friends for support, and helping grow the movement.

To help us create a groundswell of support for this mission, we invite you to like the Warriors for Healing Facebook page and share your story of how yoga has helped you or benefitted a veteran that you know and love. Then, let your friends know — help us to spread the word and expand awareness of the healing powers of yoga, and the movement to give back to those who have given so much.

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Become a Warrior for Healing with Give Back Yoga! Learn how you can bring yoga to veterans through our crowdfunding campaign.

All donors or teams who raise $250 or more will be reserved a mat space at the Warriors for Healing live event in San Diego in June 2015. If you can’t join us in person, you can choose to donate this space to a veterans’ scholarship fund, and share your energy by tuning in to a live stream of the event.

For help in getting started with your fundraising team, email ann@warriorsforhealing.org.

Katrina Kopeck: Serving Veterans Through Yoga

This is an interview with Katrina Kopeck, a vinyasa yoga instructor since 2011. I first met Katrina at a 15-hour Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans teacher training in Boulder, Colorado early this year. Soon thereafter, she began teaching at the Boulder Vet Center, offering a mindful yoga practice open to veterans and therapists. — Rob Schware, GBYF Executive Director

Rob: What originally motivated you to do this work, and what continues to motivate you? How, if at all, has that motivation changed over time?

Katrina: I grew up with a great respect for the military. My dad was an officer in the Coast Guard and is a founding member of the Warrior’s Watch, and my brother served in OEF/OIF as a flight medic in the Air Force. My maternal grandfather served as a gunman in World War II for the British Canadian Navy and my paternal grandfather served as a lieutenant in the signal corps in the US Army.

I was never in the military myself. I’ve had lots of jobs in various careers but chose to pursue yoga as my passion and career. Teaching yoga to the men and women who have dedicated themselves to service is a way to connect my two worlds and give back to a population that deserves a lot more respect and attention. I’m continually motivated by stories of what these people went through and how civilians treated them after their return.

Is there a standout moment from your work with veterans?

Simple moments hit me the hardest: a couple of weeks ago a vet told me that he noticed it’s easier for him to tie his shoes. It’s something most people take for granted, but it makes his day just a little bit easier. That’s huge.

There’s another vet I work with who has a very hard time staying still physically and mentally throughout class. But he continues to practice, and he’s changing, even if he doesn’t realize it yet. I started watching his toes in savasana (corpse pose) and his record is 30 seconds of stillness. He gets better every time.

During a yoga nidra (deep relaxation with inner awareness) practice, an OIF vet woke up suddenly and looked at me. After the practice, he shared that he had experienced a particular memory that he had only thought about one other time since Iraq, and that last time he had gotten extremely angry and physically aggressive. In this moment though, his relationship with the memory had changed into one of an observation instead of a reaction. Pretty cool!

What did you know about working with veterans before you began teaching? What were some of the assumptions you had about them, and how have those assumptions changed?

I walked into the VA the first time with the assumption that I was going to have to be very assertive to start a yoga program in a center that had never offered yoga before. I figured I would have to talk to a lot of people up the ranks and have a lot of information to back up my desire to teach yoga for vets.

Because of these assumptions, I probably entered the VA a little on the aggressive side. I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. I brought my certificates, yoga resume, and a lot of verbal information about why our vets need yoga and no, I really don’t want any money from the VA.

With great timing, a veteran publication had printed an article about yoga for vets that same week. The lead therapist at the center brought the article to our second meeting and said he thought it would be a great idea.

What are two distinct ways that your teaching style differs from the way you might teach in a studio, and what are the reasons for these differences?

In a veterans’ yoga class, I don’t offer any assists or leave my mat. This was very challenging to start as I love offering touch in my vinyasa classes, but it wasn’t appropriate in the VA setting. Partially because of this, I was able to gain the trust of the people in my classes.

I also encourage “community time” at the beginning of these classes. I set aside the first 10-15 minutes of class time to let everyone chat and connect. Sometimes they’re pretty quiet, but most weeks they’re chatty, telling stories about boot camp, war, bears, something someone saw about yoga, whatever comes up. I think this time to connect everyone on an intimate, comfortable (and sometimes crass) level before getting into breath and movement, is important in this kind of class. Just listening without judgment goes a long way in creating relationships built on trust.

What has been the greatest challenge in your teaching experience, and what tools have you developed for addressing that challenge?

The greatest challenge in my teaching experience has been adapting a class to balance younger vets and veterans who have been out of the military and living in Boulder for a long time. I ask for a lot of feedback to develop a class that serves them the best, and this population really wanted more: more core work, more Sanskrit words, more challenging poses, more energy movement. We’re finding a way to walk the line of accessibility and tradition with a mix of people who have studied yoga, as well as those who are brand new.

What advice would you give to anyone who is going to teach at a vet center?

1.) Know how you are going to present yourself and your information. Go in confidently, professionally, and with all the compassion you have. Leave judgment at the door.

2.) Get right to the point. Ask to speak to someone about volunteer opportunities, then have an “elevator speech” ready to introduce why you want to teach to vets in this location. For example, “Hi, I’m Katrina. I am a certified yoga instructor and interested in working with veterans. Is this something you would consider offering?”

3.) Bring materials for the staff to keep and look over. Offer your certifications and credentials, resume, printed articles and media, and any books that might shed light on yoga therapy for vets.

4.) Know your “why.” The first question everyone — therapists, friends, vets — asked me was, “Why do you want to work with vets?” Knowing your answer and having a concise way to explain it will help gain the trust of the vets and staff.

5.) Don’t take no for an answer. If you find resistance, ask them “Why?” Since yoga therapy is still so new, chances are the staff just isn’t that familiar with yoga or the effects of yoga therapy for veterans. Offer your materials, media, and your verbal skills to assure them that this is a positive, helpful therapy option.

What are some of your ideas about, or hopes for, the future of “service yoga” in America in the next decade?

I want to see yoga as an integral part of the military: in training, in combat and in treatment. It’s such an important tool to offer anyone who has or might experience serious trauma. I want to see trained, talented yoga instructors creating a community in which yoga is accessible to everyone.

How has this work changed your definition of yoga? Your practice?

My definition of yoga is constantly changing. In this context, yoga is a way of inclusive, supportive living using the tools to mindfully handle stresses and traumas in a healthy manner, on a daily basis.

My own practice has become more healing and intuitive through pranayama (yogic breathing) and meditation as a result. It can be very difficult to take your own advice as an instructor, but learning and living the breath and meditation practices is key to finding balance and healing, especially while working in a yoga therapy setting.

Originally published on The Huffington Post Blog on November 12, 2014

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Are you a yoga teacher who wants to work with veterans? Mindful Yoga Therapy’s new 100-hour certification program will lead you through a deeper understanding of how to support this population. Learn more at the Mindful Yoga Therapy website.