Olivia Kvitne: Serving Those Who Serve

Executive Director Rob Schware talks with “Yoga for Heroes” creator Olivia Kvitne for The Huffington Post Blog to learn how she’s introducing the scientifically proven benefits of yoga and meditation to veterans, active duty military and first responders.

“My assumptions when giving my first workshop for veterans was that I was going to have to do a lot of convincing for them to even close their eyes and take a mindful breath. I prepared to have some chuckles, resistance, and everyone would want to get to the planks and chaturanga push ups. Surprisingly, everyone enjoyed the guided meditation during final relaxation more than anything else. I could tell their nervous systems were craving homeostasis.”

– Olivia Kvitne, who offers free yoga workshops for vets, military and first responders through the Yoga for Heroes program

Read Olivia’s full interview on The Huffington Post Blog to learn what inspired her to share yoga with “real-life heroes,” and her advice for teachers who want to serve in a similar way.


Dharma. Service in Action. Sedona Yoga Festival Gives Back. Help us to bring the transformational power of yoga and meditation to 10,000 veterans who are recovering from post-traumatic stress by joining us at the Sedona Yoga Festival on February 6th and 7th for a two-day Mindful Therapeutic Yoga Practices for Veterans pre-conference training. Learn clinically-proven techniques to help students recover from trauma and emotional stress, so you can bring trauma-sensitive yoga back to your community.

Daniel Hickman on Serving Wounded Warriors

Executive Director Rob Schware talks with VetsYoga author Daniel Hickman for The Huffington Post Blog about Hickman’s work of teaching yoga to combat veterans, including amputees, at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“I teach without the chanting, and I vary the jargon…it’s about addressing the individual wounded in warfare, his or her one-of-a-kind healing process, and to meet soldiers and veterans where they are every time.”

– Adaptive yoga instructor Daniel Hickman

Read Hickman’s full interview, and learn more about the VetsYoga DVD series produced with help from Give Back Yoga Foundation.


Master Sergeant Chris Eder On The Role Of Yoga For Military Service Members

What is it like to teach yoga in a room full of M16s? In this installment for The Huffington Post Blog, Executive Director Rob Schware interviews Master Sergeant Chris Eder on the role yoga can play for military service members.

“I hope yoga will become a mainstream option for PTSD treatment. I know there is a time and place for pills, but pills should be used to initially get the ‘warrior’ in the right direction…yoga should be the treatment plan. Pills often mask or dull symptoms, never treat or cure.”

– MSgt Chris Eder, Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness Public Affairs Officer and Staff Yoga Director

Read the full post here.

VetsYoga: How Yoga Helped Two Combat Veterans Deal With PTSD

On their tours of duty, Sue Lynch and Hugo Patrocinio survived everything from SCUD missile attacks to flying shrapnel – but when they came home, the war came with them. Post-traumatic stress disorder left both veterans dealing with symptoms ranging from depression to migraines, nightmares to drinking problems and anger. Then, they discovered the healing power of yoga.

“I found this ability to manage my symptoms. I could be in charge of this PTSD that was in charge of me for so many years. I could go to my mat and feel better.”

– Sue Lynch for VetsYoga, a yoga program developed to help veterans cope with combat stress and PTSD

Rob Schware: This Independence Day, Let’s Give the Gift of Yoga To Veterans

In honor of Independence Day, Give Back Yoga Foundation Executive Director Rob Schware shares his thoughts with The Huffington Post Blog on the importance of freeing veterans from chronic stress with the help of meditation and yoga.

“Meditation has helped me realize how closely connected my physical and mental pain are….I feel like I’m untangling a big knot. As I undo the knot, I see what was mental and what was physical, and how letting go of each helps the other.”

– Jon, Vietnam veteran

Read the full post here.

Rob Schware on Yoga Therapy in Practice: Are You a Prisoner of Your Judgments?

How does a does a lifelong pacifist make it his core mission to work with veterans and active-duty soldiers? Give Back Yoga Foundation Executive Director Rob Schware shares his thoughts with The Huffington Post Blog on how examining internal judgments can help yoga teachers better reach underserved populations.

“In mid-life, I find myself standing in what appears to be a contradiction: I profess to be guided by ahimsa, [the principal of non-violence], and yet people I love, as well as those served by Give Back, are trained not just to defend, but also to attack.”

– Rob Schware

Read the full post here.

Never, Ever Give Up: How One Gulf War Veteran Transformed His Life Through Yoga

Told by his doctors that he would never walk again, disabled Gulf War veteran Arthur Boorman proved them wrong with the help of mentor Diamond Dallas Page, the DDP Yoga program, and his own determination.

“Never underestimate what you can accomplish when you believe in yourself.”

Rob Schware on Veterans, Trauma and Yoga: Are We Moving Quickly Enough?

Over 2 million service members have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.  Of those, up to 37% are struggling with serious mental health problems including post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression and traumatic brain injury.

In a piece for The Huffington Post Blog, Give Back Yoga Foundation Executive Director Rob Schware asks if we are doing enough to meet the growing health crisis.

Read his post here.

Rob Schware: Sharing the Gift of Yoga With Our Veterans

In a featured article for Yoga Therapy Today’s Spring 2012 edition, Give Back Yoga Foundation Executive Director Rob Schware sends out a call for yoga therapists to join one of the fastest-growing areas of mental health care – working with veterans suffering from mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression and traumatic brain injury.

“Many returning service members experiencing symptoms of combat stress such as nightmares, chronic physical pain (and) problems in personal relationships say they feel somehow disconnected from themselves, from their loved ones, and from life as a whole.  We see that look on the faces of veterans when they first hear about yoga class as part of a treatment program for PTSD, the one that says, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’  But often another veteran will jump in: ‘I know what you’re thinking, and I felt the same way.  It took me a while to even give it a chance, but, you know, it really helps me.’”

  – Rob Schware

Read the full feature here.