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New Mindful Yoga Therapy study shows significant results for veterans with PTSD

Originally published on the Mindful Yoga Therapy blog

Veterans With PTSD Benefit From Mindful Yoga Therapy

Veterans benefit from yoga – Veterans struggling with the growing problem of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have new hope in helping to alleviate their symptoms with Mindful Yoga Therapy (MYT), according to research that finds the specific yoga practices in its protocol can help improve their physical and psychological well-being.

A group of academics from several nationally renowned health centers recently revealed the results of the research that found MYT significantly helped veterans deal with their PTSD, including reductions of almost 30 percent in their scores on the PTSD Checklist — one of two systems known as the gold standard of assessing whether people are reducing their symptoms of PTSD.

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MYT is a therapeutic yoga training program for already certified yoga instructors. In this training, they learn specific practices which are worked into a 12 week protocol that uses yoga to help teach veterans (or other populations who have experienced trauma) how to work through symptoms of PTSD. The advanced (100 hour) MYT training allows instructors to combine this protocol with clinical therapy to help develop veterans’ self-control and mindfulness as a strategy to improve their wellbeing. That’s critically important at a time when suicide, addiction and substance abuse due to PTSD are increasing among veterans.

The peer-reviewed study, presented at the American Academy of Health Behavior’s March conference in Tucson, Arizona, offers promising findings for promoting MYT to help veterans. A group of 17 veterans — six women and 11 men – took part in the research, attending weekly classes to learn about different yoga practices including Pranayama, Asana, Yoga Nidra, Meditation, and Gratitude, and changes in their well-being were tracked using various scales.

Among the findings, the research showed that veterans who took part in MYT over several weeks perceived their own well-being to have improved after each session. For example, one participant who was asked to rank their well-being gave it an initial score of 2.5 at the first session and showed a constant improvement over the course, including a peak of almost 3.5 at the sixth session.

Mindful Yoga Therapy study

The research also showed that the veterans’ perceived levels of their own stress plummeted after taking part in the yoga program, showing a direct connection between MYT and reduced PTSD symptoms. Using a Perceived Stress Scale that ranks participants’ belief of their own stress levels from the low of zero to the high of 40, veterans who practiced MYT, overall, recorded a drop from roughly 27 on the scale to about 20 — a major reduction that promises to help people recovering from PTSD.

Mindful Yoga Therapy studyThe research also indicates that the practices have benefits beyond yoga, because several participants said they used the skills developed during MYT — such as managing anger and relieving pain — to better inform other aspects of their life, further helping them cope with their PTSD.

The findings help to show why MYT gets such rave reviews from yoga instructors who have taken the advanced therapeutic trainings. “I had prior training in many of the yoga practices but this training was like the PhD of trauma yoga,” said Mary Beth Ogulewicz, who attended one of the MYT trainings in 2015.

The research was conducted by the REAL Human Performance athletic training facility in collaboration with the Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Interact for Health, which awards grants for programs that aim to improve health and well-being. The team’s results are so promising that further studies are planned to assess the long-term impact of MYT.

View the full results from this study

Damaris Maria Grossmann: From Battle Warrior To Peaceful Warrior

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This is an interview with Damaris Maria Grossmann, a Registered Nurse, yoga therapist, and wellness educator. I met her at the 2016 World Affairs Conference at the University of Colorado, where she was invited to speak because she was “blessed to find yoga in 2006 when struggling with transitioning from the military of over 5 years in the US Navy during Global War on Terrorism.” She has vowed a life of nonviolence and to make the transition from battle warrior to peaceful warrior of the heart. She teaches veterans with the non-profit organization Team Red White and Blue, and has taught children in lower- income schools in Newark and Paterson, NJ, as well as at the Hackensack Cancer Center with the non-profit organization Kula for Karma. She is currently a Doctoral Candidate at Rutgers University, working on integrative health care for health professionals who want to lessen stress and burnout, and a Certified YogaNurse®.

Rob: What originally motivated you to do this work, and what continues to motivate you?

I injured my back when I was in the Navy. The injury was the result of a traumatic and emotional situation that was out of my control. I found myself alone, depressed, and living my life in pain, anger, and full of post-traumatic stress. I was introduced to yoga as movement therapy, and I was so surprised it helped. Yoga helped save my life. In my darkest moments, I learned to see the light. My motivation is to teach yoga and integrative health practices to help facilitate others’ healing, now that yoga has helped me. Yoga is whole-body medicine, and should be a part of all medicine.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your teaching experience?

I feel rewarded when I see the way my students are able to relax and reset. I’m so thankful to see someone be successful who has struggled to relax. The mat is an opportunity for them to be in present time, and to let go in ways that help them find space to forgive themselves and others. The best part of teaching is watching the moment when a person learns the power of their breath as a way of healing and as a source of unconditional love.

What are some of the things your students have taught you?

I’ve learned to be patient, and to listen to the answers within. My students also have helped me to understand the opportunity in the struggles we all face, and that we can find the best part of ourselves.

In what ways do you think yoga addresses some of the societal factors facing the veterans you work with? In what ways does it not?

Most of the yoga classes offered in studios across the country may be inaccessible for veterans, either because the approach may be based on assumptions about the clientele that don’t apply to veterans, or simply because they are too expensive. I’m thankful to studios and non-profit organizations like Mindful Yoga Therapy and Kula for Karma that offer free classes for veterans.

What, in your mind, is the relationship between a practice of mindfulness and greater social change?

To me, the practice of mindfulness is not just about being aware of the present moment. We can use those moments to make a change in the world, because we become more mindful of the direction in which we would like our action to lead. Connecting with ourselves through mindfulness will bring both calm into our lives, and allows us to make positive change in the world.

What advice would you give to someone who is going to teach the veterans that you work with? What would be the most important thing for them to carry?

When you teach veterans, take time to pause and observe your judgments about what they may have done in their work. Try to accept them where they are, and believe they are our best teachers. I suggest being mindful of your words, and of the transition poses. Be open and genuine, expressing any emotion, or none at all. The breath and quietness of yoga and meditation may be scary moments for veterans. Always reiterate they are here on the mat, in their breath and safe. Take the time to be aware of options and modifications of poses. Always let a group know that any amount or any pose is a beautiful pose; it’s about the time for them to listen within.

What are some of your ideas about, or hopes for, the future of service yoga in America in the next 10 years?

I believe yoga is a very important part of American healing! Most all of us suffer in some manner with pain or illness. My hope is that yoga will be available to all populations. Actually, one of my greatest passions is complete integrative health within hospitals, communities, and health clinics. Yoga is a way of facilitating healing for the mind-body and spirit. As a nurse veteran and yogi I have seen the impact it has had on my own health and well-being. I intend to promote yoga and wellness as a necessary part of healing in health care communities worldwide.

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Interested in helping veterans to find a calm body/mind? Learn more about Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans and join a teacher training near you.

Does Meditation Among Veterans Really Work?

By Pamela Stokes Eggleston, Meditation Teacher
for the Veterans Collection on Meditationstudioapp.com

Meditation with Pamela StokesMeditation has significant, transformative healing benefits. The practice can help the practitioner fully connect to body, mind and spirit. But how is meditation accepted within the military and veteran communities? Studies show that meditation helps veterans find peace through decreasing sympathetic activity (fight-flight-freeze) reactions and increasing parasympathetic activity (rest and digest). Veterans are empowered to find a safe space and peace within. Those dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can especially benefit from the profound practices of mindfulness and meditation.

However, not all veterans suffer from PTSD. The belief that all veterans return home ready to snap at any given moment is completely false. In fact, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, between 11 and 20 percent of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) veterans suffer from PTSD, many dealing with chronic pain, nightmares, hyper vigilance and insomnia. The VA is slow to fully accept the advantages of meditation and mindfulness, but it’s coming as the scientific studies are steadily demonstrating undeniable benefits.

Indeed, meditation is a therapeutic modality. While not a cure, it can certainly help mitigate the symptoms of PTSD with regular practice. It helps to rewire the brain and recover from combat stress. It creates neuroplasticity – the ability to change neural pathways in the brain. And it quiets the mind and calms the spirit. Accordingly, it’s considered a viable complementary and alternative practice to other forms of therapy and prescription drugs.

Using the principles of mindfulness, we can practice loving-kindness, open our hearts to true understanding and individual needs, and look at meditation in its myriad forms to guide the work that so desperately needs to be done within the veteran and military communities. The more meditation and mindfulness instructors can offer this from a place of authenticity, the more widespread meditation will become.

We offer up these complimentary meditations for Veterans, Families of Veterans and to those continuing to serve in the Military.

Compassion meditation for veterans and their families from Pamela Stokes Eggleston:

 

Mindfulness for Trauma meditation, from Suzanne Manafort:

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Access more resources : listen to guided meditations for military families and caregivers.

Mindful Yoga Therapy 100-Hour Certification in Virginia Beach: Begins September 23, 2016

The 100-hour Mindful Yoga Therapy certification offers an in-depth course of study based on the techniques of embodyoga®, and proven protocol developed as an alternative complementary therapy for veterans being treated for post-traumatic stress in clinical settings.

The 100-hour Mindful Yoga Therapy certification is an in-depth course of study, offering protocol developed as an alternative complementary therapy for veterans being treated for post-traumatic stress.

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 fourth session of Mindful Yoga Therapy’s 100-Hour Certification program, beginning in September 2016 at Studio Bamboo Institute of Yoga in Virginia Beach. Led by GBYF board members Suzanne Manafort and Studio Bamboo founder Ann Richardson Stevens, the program consists of five modules presented over five weekends, covering both the Beginning Mindful Yoga Therapy Program and the next-level Resilience 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 Institute of Yoga
2861 Lynnhaven Drive, Ste. 108
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

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 : September 23-25, 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: October 14-16, 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: November 11-13, 2016
Guiding Principle – Mindfulness
• Yoga Nidra
• Warrior Nidra
• Adaptive Yoga and PTSD
• Teaching Practicum
• Military Culture – The Different Wars

Module 4: December 2-4, 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: January 6-8, 2017
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. (If you are not yet a 200 hour certified yoga teacher, the Mindful Yoga Center offers a teacher training program.) 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 Studio Bamboo.

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.

Looking Back on 9/11: Beryl Bender Birch & Yoga for Post-Traumatic Stress

Beryl Bender BirchOn September 11, 2001, Give Back Yoga co-founder Beryl Bender Birch was living in New York City, where she taught yoga to athletes. Two days after terrorists attacked the Twin Towers, her friend JoAnn Difede — director of a program that studied anxiety and stress — asked Beryl to come to her offices to help the families of burn victims who had escaped from the towers. That moment would shape the course of her career, as Beryl began using yoga practices to help first responders and those with post-traumatic stress.

Later, the medical community would realize just how helpful the broad spectrum of mindful yoga therapies could be when used as a complementary treatment for anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress. Thanks to JoAnn’s urgent call for help after 9/11, Beryl was able to help lead the way, becoming one of the first yoga professionals to apply yoga methodology to the integral treatment of post-traumatic stress. 

On this 14th anniversary of 9/11, we honor the memory of this tragedy and our hope for the future with an excerpt from the preface to “Yoga For Warriors: a System For Veterans & Military Service Men And Women,” written by Beryl and published by Sounds True.


“When I walked into a small room in the hospital burn center, I was nervous. It was filled with comfortable couches and chairs, a plain wooden table, and just a few men and women — relatives of the people who were wrapped in bandages from head to toe and heavily medicated for relief from unbelievable pain. Many were dying, others struggling for life. Their family members sat in stunned silence.

They all looked up as I came into the room, hoping for news of someone, somewhere. They looked exhausted. No one had slept since the towers collapsed. I didn’t assume anything. I didn’t assume I could help. I didn’t assume I knew anything that could be of use. Faced with such incredible suffering, how could anyone go on with the mundane activities of life? There was such a sense of despair in the room. I just sat down quietly at the table and put my head in my hands.

Dear Lord, I thought, give me strength and the right words to say. A man came over and put his hand on my shoulder. We both started to cry. That was it — the icebreaker.

I introduced myself and suggested that we, all together, see if there was something we could discover, something we could do, that would help us all to sleep, to deal with the tragedy, to grieve while avoiding despair and depression. I remembered what I had done in yoga classes the night before: sitting with everyone and breathing. It was the breathing that seemed to offer the most relief and the most comfort.

‘Let’s just sit together,’ I suggested. Everyone moved into a circle around the table, and I invited them to close their eyes. What happened after that, I don’t remember very well, except that I slowly came around to teaching them a closed-mouth yoga breathing technique called ujjayi. Breathe in, breathe out — with sound. That’s all. You just pay attention to the sound and see if you can make the inhalation and the exhalation the same length and make them sound as much alike as possible.

Within minutes, everyone at the table was making the slow, controlled, aspirant sound of the inhalation and the deep, sibilant sound of the exhalation. They just got it. They hung on it as a lifeline. Time became timeless. We sat like that for nearly thirty or forty minutes, although none of us had a clue how long we had been there. I kept an eye on them. Each of them just climbed into the breath and went to a place that was quiet and peaceful — for a moment. One man fell asleep during the session; God bless him. It was joyful to see him sleeping. Another woman actually smiled and came and hugged me. I can’t say it was some miraculous cure for suffering, but it did help.

I said to the group, ‘I hope you will remember that well enough to use in your most difficult moments; it will help you to sleep and to find strength.’

The man who had been sleeping looked up and asked, ‘Can you come back tomorrow?’ So I did.”

Beryl Bender Birch
Yoga for Warriors
Published in 2014 by Sounds True

Learn how you can share “Yoga For Warriors” with those who have served.

 

Give Back Yoga Friends - Yoga for Warriors

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.

Beryl Bender Birch: Yoga for Warriors

The day after 9/11, Beryl Bender Birch, yoga teacher and Wellness Director at the time of the New York Road Runners, was called upon to help families of victims, first responders and others suffering the brutal aftermath of the attacks on New York City. She subsequently witnessed the power of the yoga practices–breathing, movement, and meditation–to help those suffering with anxiety related disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A yoga practitioner and teacher for over 40 years, Beryl is the author of three books on yoga, including Power Yoga. Her newest book, Yoga for Warriors: Basic Training in Strength, Resilience and Peace of Mind, is a guide for stressed out veterans struggling to navigate the transition to civilian life. She elaborates here on how she came to write the book, and what is it about Yoga for Warriors that makes it a perfect fit for the military.

Rob: How do you serve veterans through yoga? Has that evolved over the years?

Since 1995, I’ve required graduates of my school for yoga teacher training, The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute, to develop a “give back” project in their various communities. As certified yoga teachers, they can choose to teach yoga and meditation to a specific underserved population or create something as diverse as planting trees in a poor neighborhood. I wanted to educate people that there are many ways to practice yoga, and that yoga isn’t just about “exercise.”

One of my students, Rob Schware, and I founded the Give Back Yoga Foundation (GBYF) in 2007. Our idea was to bring yoga to under-resourced groups such as those in lower socio-economic populations. One of the Give Back Yoga Foundation’s first grant recipients was James Fox of the Prison Yoga Project. GBYF helped to fund the publication and free distribution of his book, Yoga: A Path for Healing and Recovery, written for his longtime students at San Quentin State prison. We thought what a great idea it would be to do a similar book especially for veterans — and now, three years and a lot of hard work later, here it is. In the spirit of giving back, the Give Back Yoga Foundation will be donating a copy of Yoga for Warriors to any veterans who wish to receive it. Additionally, we are working with the publisher, Sounds True, to offer a “Buy one, donate one to a Veteran” campaign.

What inspired you to share yoga with this population?

In addition to James Fox, I was also inspired by my student, friend, and colleague, Suzanne Manafort, who is the founder of Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans. Her experience working with veterans who have PTSD has been life changing for her. Also, after talking with veterans, having them in my yoga classes over the years, and seeing how so many of them have benefitted from their yoga practices, it seemed a natural progression to write a book specifically for them — to give back, so to speak.

What is your vision in writing Yoga for Warriors?

My personal ordeal with and treatment for post traumatic stress helped me to realize how much my yoga practices — not only asana, but especially meditation and the breath work — had empowered me to be a more peaceful, present, happy, and healthy human being. I went for years without full awareness of my hyper-vigilance, traumatic memories, and avoidance behaviors. I wrote this book because I wanted to share this terrific methodology with those who really could use it.

What benefits can veterans get from a regular practice of yoga? 

My book is for all military personnel. These practices can help veterans returning from a war zone, whether from Afghanistan, Iraq, or even Vietnam, and struggling with post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, or with any difficulty in transitioning to civilian life. The practices are grounding, calming, and pro-active. They help a person develop a sense of control and a safe connection to the present moment. They also strengthen resilience and can help to prevent PTSD, so they are also a terrific aid for those who are about to deploy to a conflict area. In a broader sense, this is a practice for anyone who hopes to be healthier and happier and effectively deal with the traumas of life — whether past or future.

Imagine if you spent a year or two on life-threatening, radical high alert — every moment — think how tough coming back to home life would be. So many veterans tell me, “I was depressed. I just couldn’t relate to the things that people at home think are a big deal. After experiencing the horrors and high intensity of combat, civilian life seemed pretty tame. All I wanted to do was go back.” These men and women have an unpredictable and often continuous stream of stress hormones blasting. If you have never experienced living with unrelenting danger, convoying in dangerous sectors, or being shot at with constant threat of attack, there is no way you can imagine what the lives of our veterans must be like. How do you come back to every day life after that experience? Yoga helps.

What was one of your most fulfilling moments in doing this work?

The moment I opened the FedEx from Sounds True (the publisher) and actually held a copy of the book in my hands. My mind was momentarily blown–“Wow, we actually got this done! Here it is!” Anyone who has worked on a long-term project and seen it come to fruition, I am sure can relate. Seeing the photos of the veterans who are the models for the postures in the book was especially moving. They are all gorgeous. They were a diverse group, and each and every one of them just jumped into the project with both feet. Some were students who came to my classes and workshops, and others were students of Suzanne Manafort and Ann Richardson Stevens (a student of mine and teacher in Virginia Beach, VA who specializes in adaptive yoga). The students are of varying ages, sizes, races, and both men and women are represented. I wanted to show a broad picture of veterans, and made sure as many populations as possible were included so that this book would speak to everyone.

Is there anything else that you feel is important to cover?

I don’t think of military training and yoga training as that dissimilar. Both focus on learning to pay attention. The primary difference is that men and women in the military are taught to have high external awareness. Yoga practitioners are taught to practice high internal vigilance. Both groups are warriors, although in quite a different way. For veterans, then, it is simply about reversing the direction of attention — from the external to the internal world. I was Wellness Director for the New York Road Runners Club for 20 years and worked with all kinds of athletes, so I am used to working with highly trained and very tight bodies. Military personnel are elite athletes. Because they are used to strong training and discipline, the sequences in Yoga for Warriors that incorporate strength and structure are a natural fit. My personal asana practice for the past 40 years has been the classical astanga vinyasa system. The physical asana sequences in all three of my previous books, from Power Yoga to Boomer Yoga, are based on this method. It is a good example of outstanding and balanced posture sequencing. B.K.S. Iyengar introduced the concept of alignment into the Western world of yoga in the early 70’s. His teachings, as well as my studies of anatomy and physiology, have helped me to develop appropriate modifications of all the postures for all bodies.

Originally published on The Huffington Post Blog on October 8, 2014

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Learn how you can help to bring free copies of Yoga For Warriors: Basic Training in Strength, Resilience and Peace of Mind to veterans and active duty service members through a limited time Buy One, Give One campaign, or by making a donation.