Give 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.
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.
I 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