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GBYF To Support Non-Profit Operation of Mindful Yoga Therapy For Veterans

The Give Back Yoga Foundation announced this week that it will assume the non-profit operation of Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans, a merger that will allow service leaders to more effectively reach tens of thousands of veterans with a complementary therapy that can offer relief from symptoms of post-traumatic stress.

“Give Back Yoga Foundation already has a non-profit infrastructure that’s both effective and efficient,” said GBYF Executive Director Rob Schware. “By freeing up key Mindful Yoga Therapy staff members, we can allow them to focus on what they do best — teaching and helping veterans.”

An estimated 1 in 5 veterans who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan are now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. And the number of active-duty military and veteran suicides is on the rise, prompting the Huffington Post to caution that “the warning signs of an approaching wave of suicide are unmistakable.”

Clinical studies and firsthand feedback from veterans show that yoga and mindfulness practices can be an effective adjunct therapy to help vets recover from symptoms of post-traumatic stress, such as insomnia, hyperarousal and feelings of fear or guilt.

Together, Mindful Yoga Therapy and the Give Back Yoga Foundation have already brought clinically tested, empirically informed Mindful Yoga Therapy “toolkits” to 44 VA facilities and 9,000 vets, free of charge. Designed with the input of veterans, these multi-media training guides help individuals to start a personal yoga practice.

By the close of 2015, the Give Back Yoga Foundation aims to bring these free toolkits to 30,000 vets and at least half of all VA facilities nationwide. The organization also aims to train 120 yoga teachers per year, including at least 25 veterans, to share Mindful Yoga Therapy with the veteran population. These training resources will continue to be offered under the Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans brand, through the continued leadership of its experienced staff.

Download the press release: Give Back Yoga Foundation To Support Non-Profit Operation Of Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans

Rob Schware: The State of Yoga Service

As Executive Director of the Give Back Yoga Foundation and President of the Yoga Service Council, Rob Schware is proud to be part of a growing movement of yoga service providers who are helping to address societal problems such as school dropout rates, substance abuse, PTSD and high rates of re-imprisonment through therapeutic yoga outreach. Today, yoga service providers are reaching an estimated  200,000 individuals each year – including abused women, veterans, at-risk youth, cancer patients, prisoners and the homeless.

In “The State of Yoga Service,” Rob weighs in on:

  • the science behind yoga’s ability to change neurobiology
  • why the true experience of yoga inspires service
  • the progress of yoga service to date
  • how yoga outreach can benefit society
  • two important conversations that will take place in 2014
  • the impact of donations to Give Back Yoga
  • how to be inspired by stories of service, and how to contribute your own talents

 

If you believe in the power of yoga to plant the seeds of grassroots social change and healing, you won’t want to miss this special report on the state of yoga service in 2014.

 

Download “The State of Yoga Service.”

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Join us in giving back from your mat! By donating the equivalent cost of one yoga class – just $15 per month – you can bring yoga to a veteran, prisoner, at-risk teen or another person in need. Your contribution could transform a life.

Discover Yoga For Eating Disorders With Chelsea Roff & Off The Mat Colorado

At age 15, Chelsea Roff nearly lost her life to anorexia. Medical and mental health interventions saved her life, but it was discovering a yoga practice that helped Chelsea to make a full recovery and progress from “surviving” to “thriving.” Today, Chelsea is a nationally-recognized author, speaker and the founder of Yoga for Eating Disorders®, a program that’s being introduced to treatment clinics and yoga studios nationwide. Learn more about Chelsea’s story in the campaign video that launched Yoga for Eating Disorders®.

This February, Give Back Yoga Foundation and Off The Mat Colorado invite you to discover Yoga for Eating Disorders® through two weekend trainings in Denver and Boulder. These 15-hour trainings offer individuals practical, yoga-inspired tools to overcome eating disorders or body image issues at all ends of the spectrum. They also give yoga teachers and mental health practitioners the knowledge and skills they need to support students and clients in recovery. Graduates will be eligible to receive Continuing Education Credits through Yoga Alliance, and to become facilitators for Yoga for Eating Disorder® programs.

Training Schedule

Yoga, A Game-Changer in Eating Disorders – Friday, 6pm-8pm: 
Opening circle and group discussion about the role yoga can play in healing food and body image issues at all ends of the spectrum.

Coming Home to the Body – Saturday, 12pm-1:30pm, 2:30pm-6pm
Learn how to use yoga to develop a healthier relationship with your body through yogic techniques for tracking hunger and fullness signals, coping with emotions, and cultivating a sense of “home” in your own skin. Includes asana session, group discussion, interactive exercises, and meditation.

The Double Edged Sword – Sunday, 12pm-1:30pm, 2:30pm-6pm: 
Despite the tremendous value yoga can offer in the recovery process, yoga can be a double-edged sword for people with eating disorders. On one hand, the practice can teach essential skills for long-term recovery, but the wrong approach to yoga can actually exacerbate food and body image issues. Learn how to use the practice of yoga for health and wellbeing, rather than as a crutch for acting out in their eating disorder. Includes asana session, group discussion, interactive exercises, and meditation.

Register

Trainings are capped to maintain the personal and intimate setting required for this deep work. Both trainings are expected to sell out, so please register as soon as possible. Several scholarships are available – for more details, please contact Chelsea Roff.

Yoga for Eating Disorders: Boulder

Friday, February 21st – Sunday, February 23rd
Neurosculpting Institute
3055 47th Street
Boulder, CO 80301
Cost: $199
Register through Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/yoga-for-eating-disorders-boulder-tickets-9289688709

Yoga for Eating Disorders: Denver

Friday, February 28th – Sunday, March 2nd
Samadhi Center for Yoga & Meditation
639 East 19th Avenue
Denver, CO 80203
Cost: $199
Register through Eventbrite: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/yoga-for-eating-disorders-denver-tickets-9289853201

Sponsors

Thanks to these sponsors for supporting Give Back Yoga Foundation and Off the Mat Colorado in bringing Yoga for Eating Disorders® to the Front Range:

Off the Mat, Into the Worldpart of the Engage Network | The Neurosculpting Institute | Samadhi Center for Yoga & Meditation | Yoga Pod | Yoga Loft Boulder| Colorado Athletic Club, Boulder | Radiance Power Yoga | Kira Grace | Outlaw Yoga | Breathe Studio | Kindness Yoga | Yama Yoga Village | Hanuman Festival | Mudra Yoga Studio | Karma Yoga Center

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Can’t make it to the training, but want to support Yoga for Eating Disorders®? Make a life-saving donation to this project through our Donate Today page. For every $5,000 raised, we can bring Yoga for Eating Disorders® to one more treatment center and help individuals with eating disorders to discover their own true beauty.

 

Helen Lynch: MediYoga As A Viable Alternative To Existing Medical Treatments & Programs

This is an interview with Helen Miller Lynch, a certified X-ray Technician/Nurse Practitioner specializing in cardiovascular intervention. She has broad experience in cardiovascular disease from the University Hospital in Örebro, Sweden, and the heart clinic Feiringklinikken, Norway. She became curious about MediYoga after some colleagues attended sessions during stress-related sick leave, and returned to work with a whole new vitality. She is now a certified MediYoga Therapist and MediYoga International teacher.

Rob Schware, GBYF Executive Director: I’m interested in the origin and growth of MediYoga in Scandinavia. What is it?

Helen Lynch: MediYoga was established and developed by Göran Boll at the Institute for Medical Yoga in Stockholm, Sweden. MediYoga has its origin in classic Kundalini yoga and started to take shape as early as 1998, when an initial partnership project was launched with the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. This consisted of a study of what yoga could offer patients with chronic back pain. Many different studies have been undertaken since then involving MediYoga and its effects on various patient groups, and on medical disorders in general. These include studies performed at large companies, such as the Post Giro Stress project in 1999, and the Swedish Enforcement Authority Stress project in 2009.

Read more: MediYoga can save society millions of dollars each year.

Since 2004, MediYoga has been one of the most popular rehabilitation options for employees on long-term sick leave at AstraZeneca Corp. MediYoga is now recommended by healthcare professionals throughout Sweden and Norway as a simple and therapeutic form of yoga that anyone can do, whatever their physical or psychological limitations.

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

Scientific research shows that stress in various forms is the underlying cause of most of what we call illness, and that powerful tools are needed to re-establish and maintain balance in our lives. MediYoga is a practical tool that has shown measurable effects on back and sleeping problems, high blood pressure, ventricular fibrillation, various emotional problems, and other medical disorders.

There’s nothing better to hear after a class than, for instance, that someone with high blood pressure who’s been on medication for years is able to cut down on their prescription medication intake, or to eventually completely stop. That’s motivation for me. Just to see their faces after a yoga class, quiet and peaceful with eyes that radiate, it goes straight to my heart.

Is there a standout moment from your work with MediYoga, or with heart patients?

A personal memorable moment was when I received my Gold MediYoga teacher/therapist pin, and realized all the hard work and hours and hours of time had elevated me into a dedicated group of individuals striving to help others.

What advice would you give to anyone who is going to teach in hospitals, and with patients?

Invite the Board of Directors at the hospital for an experience in MediYoga. They have to experience the effects of yoga themselves to be able to better understand them.

Be humble: you are meeting people with various medical conditions who mostly have never tried yoga before. Demystify the experience, and make the participants feel safe and relaxed. Build up a trust between you and your clients–let them know you are there for them.You also always have a solid foundation to build on with all the scientific research that is done on MediYoga.

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

A great challenge has been introducing yoga into the medical community that is so accustomed to scientific means and results. When I started to implement my ideas here at the Feiringklinikken heart clinic for open heart surgery, cardiovascular intervention, and heart rehabilitation, there were many questions: what is MediYoga, how does it work?

I developed a research presentation on specific heart patients and heart diseases that involved MediYoga and presented it to the Board of Directors of Feiringklinniken. The President of the clinic is a very open-minded leader; he saw and believed in my passion for MediYoga and the way it works. We developed a six-month trial project for MediYoga in the Rehabilitation Department.

Patient and staff feedback and reviews indicated the trial was a great success. Now for the second year, Feiringklinikken includes MediYoga as a rehabilitation option twice a week for heart patients. Feiringklinikken was the first hospital in Norway to offer MediYoga to its patients; many other major medical institutions have begun to offer programs similar to our clinic’s.

We talked about your plans to introduce MediYoga to the US. What are some of your ideas about, or hopes for, the future of “service yoga” in America in the next decade?

My hope is that MediYoga will become a standard part of medical treatment offered throughout society.  I hope educating MediYoga instructors in California in February 2014 will be the start to integrating MediYoga in the U.S., as it was in Sweden and Norway.  MediYoga is now a treatment and rehabilitation option offered in over 120 hospitals and primary care units in Scandinavia.

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?

What makes us unique and differentiates us from all other forms of yoga is that everyone who works with MediYoga–instructors and yoga therapists–has health profession qualifications and understands the effects of yoga from a medical perspective. From our health education we are able to understand possible side effects, the emotional impact of a diagnosis, and how to offer safe yoga practices. Most patients have never participated in a yoga class before, so this is something completely new to them.

For example, here at the heart clinic I have 20 participants in each class between the ages of 20 and 80. They all have some kind of cardiovascular disease, so my approach is to use MediYoga programs with breathing exercises, postures, and meditation that targets heart diseases. No matter what group you are targeting, you have to approach them with the right set of tools that you know works on just that specific disorder.

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

Instead of it being an individual practice on the yoga mat at home, I now have the possibility to share with others. When applying my service in the MediYoga programs I am not affecting only a single person, but everyone around them and connected to them when they leave the room.

What other organizations do you admire?

There are too many to list! Nothing but good comes from supporting them. I’m particularly impressed with the vision of the following organizations:

~Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus’s inspiration for the Grameen Foundation, which helps the world’s poorest people reach their full potential, connecting their determination and skills with the resources they need.

~The Give Back Yoga Foundation, for its commitment to helping to bring yoga to diverse segments of society that have limited or no access to yoga in their communities.

~The Inner City Garden projects, bringing a healthy alternative of self-sustaining local neighborhood/community garden areas.

Editor: Alice Trembour

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Dharma. Service in Action. SYF Gives Back: Mindful Therapeutic Yoga Practices for Veterans. Join us at this two-day pre-conference teacher training hosted by the Sedona Yoga Festival in partnership with the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, and learn techniques and practices that are clinically proven to offer relief to veterans affected by PTSD, TBI, and other trauma and emotional stress. February 6-10, 2014 in beautiful Sedona, Arizona.

 

An Offering of Peace: Join Desiree Rumbaugh For a Yoga Workshop To Benefit Vets

Nearly one out of three soldiers who served in Iraq or Afghanistan now suffers from post-traumatic stress, major depression or traumatic brain injury. And tragically…every 36 hours…a soldier commits suicide. Yoga and mindfulness can help veterans to find peace of mind and relief from symptoms of PTSD.

You can help Give Back Yoga Foundation to share yoga with veterans by joining Advisory Board Member Desiree Rumbaugh for An Offering of Peace: A Yoga and Music Fundraiser For Veterans on Saturday, January 18th. Led by Desiree and her friend Camilla Sinclair, this donation-based yoga workshop will feature live music by Steve Gold, with all proceeds supporting Give Back Yoga’s campaign to share free Mindful Yoga Therapy toolkits with veterans. You’ll also practice alongside some veterans who have served our country and hear personal stories of how they’re now benefitting from yoga.

Event Details

What: An Offering of Peace: A Yoga and Music Fundraiser for Veterans with Desiree Rumbaugh, Camilla Sinclair and Steve Gold
When: Saturday, January 18th from 4 pm to 5:30 pm
Where: Yoga Del Mar, 2652 Del Mar Heights Road, Del Mar CA 92014
Details: By donation (suggested minimum donation of $20). Cash and check accepted at the door; make checks payable to Give Back Yoga Foundation.

About Desiree

Desiree Rumbaugh travels the world teaching yoga workshops and trainings. She enjoys meeting people and finding out how much we all have in common. She is the creator of the DVDs Yoga to the Rescue, and is a regular presenter at Yoga Journal Conferences as well as a contributor to the magazine. Her classes can now be viewed on My Yoga Online and Yoga Glo. She serves on the Advisory Boards of The Art of Yoga Project, bringing yoga to teenage girls in the juvenile justice system, and the Give Back Yoga Foundation, providing yoga for US military war veterans. Her 20-year-old son, a former Marine Reservist, was murdered in an unrelated incident in 2003 and as a result, Desiree is fiercely dedicated to inspiring others to find emotional as well as physical healing through Yoga.

About Camilla

Camilla Sinclair has been dedicated to yoga and the healing arts for 25 years.  She teaches yoga at several studios in the San Diego area and is on the staff of the San Diego Veterans Hospital teaching yoga classes for veterans who have chronic back pain.   She is also the lead instructor for the newly implemented 4 year study: “Yoga Therapy for Veterans with Chronic Low Back Pain.” Camilla is a Holistic Health Practitioner and Certified Yoga Instructor. She offers workshops in Therapeutic and Restorative Yoga throughout the region and incorporates the beneficial practice of Yoga Nidra to deepen the healing experience.

 

About Steve

Steve Gold is a conduit for spontaneous transformation using singing and storytelling. He creates powerfully positive music that heals and inspires. His rendition of So Much Magnificence, the title track of his first album, can be heard in yoga studios around the world. Steve teaches “Mantras for Manifestation” and “Voice of Magnificence” workshops, showing people how to use music and intention to actualize their deepest desires. His latest album, Let Your Heart Be Known, has been called “a soulful genre-buster, destined to be a classic” by LA Yoga magazine.

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Can’t make it to this event? You can still help Give Back Yoga to put free yoga toolkits in the hands of 10,000 veterans this year by making an online donation. Just choose “Yoga for Veterans”when selecting a project for funding.

Rob Schware for Yoga Teacher Magazine: From Inspiration to Effectiveness

In a special interview for Yoga Teacher Magazine, Executive Director Rob Schware talks with YTM editor Ivan Nahem about the roots of the Give Back Yoga Foundation, where the organization is headed, and how yoga service is transcending stereotypes and transforming lives.

“We already have a growing number of yoga outreach programs throughout this country. Why? Because in my experience at some point in a yoga teacher’s career, they want to give back the gift of yoga they have received. It can be within six weeks, six months or six years. Invariably they want to bring this type of program to settings outside a studio, to schools, homeless shelters, residential treatment programs for veterans, prisons, and refugee camps. That’s one of the reasons why Give Back Yoga got started, to help teachers develop projects that were sustainable and that could really effect change in their communities.”

– Executive Director Rob Schware, on the work of the Give Back Yoga Foundation

Click here to read more of Rob’s thoughts on the need for yoga service, and how GBYF and the Yoga Service Council are helping yoga teachers to make a difference in their communities.