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.


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.

New Campaign Incentive: Share the Gift of Yoga With 1,000 Veterans

We’ve added a very special incentive to our crowd funding campaign to bring yoga toolkits to 2,000 veterans – this gorgeous handcrafted lap quilt, donated by Navy employee and San Francisco Quilt Guild member Patricia McFadden.

This work of art, crafted by a quilter who Give Back Yoga co-founder Beryl Bender Birch calls “incredibly talented,” will be gifted to one donor who makes a tax-deductible campaign contribution of $7,500.

Through this generous donation, we can bring yoga books and CDs to 1,000 vets and soldiers, offering them simple practices to recover from post-traumatic stress. Learn what real vets are saying about the yoga toolkit.

To make a donation, visit our campaign page.

Sidelights Imperial Bloom Quilt:

  • Size: 65.5″ x 50.25″ – use as a lap quilt or wall hanging
  • Fabric: Robert Kaufman Fabrics Imperial Collection, high-quality 100% cotton
  • Colors: dark brown, almond, taupe, rust, sage, gold and frosted almond; flowers outlined in gold
  • Reverse: matches quilt border
  • Care: Washable; hang-dry

Gina Garcia: Yoga for Everyone, Everywhere. Yoga Across America

Executive Director Rob Schware talks with Yoga Across America founder Gina Garcia for The Huffington Post Blog to learn how her non-profit is bringing yoga to high school students and vets.

“With the suicide rate among veterans at an all-time high, sharing yoga with these men and women is a gift for everyone. This is not about anyone’s view on war, it’s about humanity. Connecting through this practice allows me to share from the heart. When I hear a service member tell me “I found my freedom,” or “Yoga saved my life,” I experience the power of this practice in its purest most beautiful form. It’s a journey of support, healing and love, and our veterans deserve it.”

– Yoga Across America founder Gina Garcia

Click here to read more of Gina’s thoughts on why yoga teachers need special training and support to work with wounded warriors, and how serving others changes your life and your yoga practice.

Image courtesy of Carmen Salazar Photography.


Help Give Back Yoga Foundation to share the gift of yoga with 10,000 veterans in 2013.  Through December 31st, when you donate $10 or more to our crowd funding campaign to bring free yoga toolkits to veterans, you can receive a gift of thanks in return. Or support our work with veterans by purchasing a copy of the toolkit for yourself.

Vets Helping Vets: GBYF Launches Crowdfunding Campaign on Piglt

Give Back Yoga is excited to announce the launch of a crowd funding campaign on a new platform called Piglt. The campaign aims to raise $15,000 by December 31st, with the goal of sharing yoga toolkits with 2,000 veterans.

Piglt (pronounced “piglet”) is a disabled-veteran owned-and-operated business.  Piglt’s co-founder, Casey Wallace, served 5 years on active duty in the Air Force as an Acquisitions Officer. With the support of co-founder Vidya Chokkalingam, Casey offered hands-on assistance to further GBYF’s fundraising efforts, with the goal of making an impact on veterans and their families across the world.

Most of Casey’s classmates (USAFA ’05) are still on active duty, put in harm’s way every day. Through this fundraiser, Casey hopes to improve their access to the healing practices of yoga and meditation – proven through clinical research to be effective in helping trauma survivors to recover from the symptoms of PTSD.

“Give Back Yoga Foundation is bringing peace of mind and transforming human consciousness for thousands of veterans in the world,” says Casey. “Everyone at Piglt is honored to help spread the word to thousands more.”

Check out our campaign here!

Donor incentives:


The Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans toolkit features simple but effective yoga practices that were developed to help returning soldiers cope with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and depression. When you purchase this multi-media guide for yourself or someone you know, you’ll gain a valuable tool for dealing with stress and support Give Back Yoga Foundation’s programs for veterans.

Suzanne Manafort: Bringing Mindful Yoga Therapy to Veterans

Executive Director Rob Schware talks with Give Back Yoga Board Member Suzanne Manafort for The Huffington Post Blog about the roots of the Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans program, and the amazing transformation that vets are experiencing through the practice of yoga and mindfulness.

“I watch the men and women as they begin in my 12-week program look as if someone has dimmed their inner light. After a few weeks, their interests in the practices begin to increase, and slowly it looks as if they brighten up. It truly is a visible change. So many men and women taking our program combined with psychotherapy are getting well and leading productive lives. It has been my honor to be a part of this.”

– Suzanne Manafort, founder of the Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans Program

Click here to read more of Suzanne’s tips for yoga teachers who want to work with veterans – and how she serves as one link in the chain of “spiritual revolutionaries” that teacher Beryl Bender Birch is sending out into the world to make a difference.

Want to learn more? Visit Give Back Yoga’s Youtube channel to hear from four veterans who are working with Suzanne to bring yoga and mindfulness to their peers, in the Veterans on Mindful Yoga Therapy Hangout. Or visit our store to check out the “new and improved” Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans practice guide, now available in an updated third printing. We aim to bring this valuable multi-media resource to 30,000 vets, service members and their families by 2015 – you can support this work with a recurring or one-time donation towards “Yoga for Veterans.”


Do you want to bring the transformational power of yoga and meditation to underserved populations? Join Suzanne Manafort, Beryl Bender Birch, James Fox and other leading experts in Sedona, AZ in February for a two-day Mindful Therapeutic Yoga Practices for Veterans teacher training. Learn clinically-proven techniques to help students recover from trauma and emotional stress at this intensive pre-conference training, hosted by the Sedona Yoga Festival in association with Southwest Institute of Healing Arts.

YogaHOPE: Evidence on the Power of Mind-Body Healing

Evidence continues to grow for the power of mind-body practices to help trauma survivors heal from the effects of traumatic stress. The latest promising news comes from a research brief on the effectiveness of the Trauma Informed Mind Body (TIMBo) program, developed by YogaHOPE founder Sue Jones.

The TIMBo program offers women mind-body tools to help them recover from the physical and mental effects of chronic trauma, addiction or abuse. Through an 8-week curriculum that includes group discussion, asana practice and meditation, the TIMBo program helps women:

~Master simple coping strategies that they can use anywhere, anytime.
~Gain awareness of their bodies, so they can defuse the endless feedback loop of emotional traumatic memory.
~Gain awareness of their inner experience, so they can begin to reconstruct their belief in themselves.

After assessing the impacts of the TIMBo program, mental health professionals found that women who had completed the course showed a significant decrease in symptoms of depression, anxiety and trauma. Even more powerfully, they had begun to change their inner dialogue and talk to themselves in a more self-compassionate way.

“I have re-found my faith in myself, and my confidence,” wrote one woman, about the impact of the TIMBo program.

Kudos to YogaHOPE for reinforcing the mounting evidence that mindfulness can aid in trauma recovery – and for changing the world by empowering women and stopping the cycle of violence in families and communities.

Learn how Sue Jones used yoga to overcome debilitating depression, and how she’s passing it on to other women:

Spotlight: How Yoga is Changing the Lives of Prisoners Worldwide

“If it wasn’t for prison I wouldn’t have got involved in yoga, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today. I would probably be dead…at one point I actually became grateful for being in prison because I could feel this massive evolution, this change that was happening within me through yoga. So I almost became like a grateful convict, happy to be where I was, paying the time for my crime and rehabilitating myself.”

– Nick, a former prisoner who served time in Argentina’s Villa Devoto, speaking to BBC News 

From Argentina to England, America to Kenya, a growing number of prisons are offering yoga and meditation as a way to help incarcerated men and women deal with intense stress and create a more peaceful atmosphere. Click here to read the BBC News spotlight “How Yoga is Helping Prisoners Stay Calm.”

Give Back Yoga Foundation is proud to be a part of this worldwide movement by supporting Prison Yoga Project, a transformational organization founded by James Fox to help prisoners to heal their lives through yoga and mindfulness. For incarcerated men and women, yoga offers a path for embracing self-compassion while taking responsibility for past crimes. It also helps prisoners to change trauma-induced, unconscious behavioral patterns like impulse control issues, mood disorders, violence, addiction and PTSD – usually, the behavior that landed them in jail in the first place.

To learn how you can help prisoners to find peace, compassion and a fresh start, visit our Prison Yoga Project page.


Want to help Give Back Yoga to put yoga and mindfulness guides in the hands of 10,000 prisoners this year? Purchase Prison Yoga Project’s powerful book, A Path for Healing and Recoveryfor yourself or on behalf of a prisoner.

Lilly Bechtel: How Yoga Supports Veterans in the Return Home

Executive Director Rob Schware talks with author Lilly Bechtel for The Huffington Post Blog to learn how yoga is saving the lives of veterans, and how she’s striving to open up dialogue between military and yoga communities.

“Hugo Patrocinio is a Marine who had served in three deployments and had just been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress. On the day of his first yoga class he was suicidal, suffered from insomnia, flashbacks, sleep paralysis, and he was on eight different medications. Hugo had never done yoga before. He sat down reluctantly on his mat. He noticed his breath. Forty-five minutes later when class was over, the teacher woke him up. ‘And that’s when I realized that I felt rested for the first time in years,’ Hugo told us….”I believe that yoga saved my life.'”

– author and yoga teacher Lilly Bechtel, recounting the story that inspired her work with veterans

To read Lilly’s full Huffington Post interview, including the story of how she discovered yoga and how she’s seeing the practice change the lives of veterans, click here.

And don’t miss Lilly’s Elephant Journal series At Attention, At Peace, featuring conversations with veterans, teachers and military officials on how yoga can help returning soldiers to heal from post-traumatic stress.


Help Give Back Yoga put free yoga and mindfulness guides in the hands of 10,000 veterans this year by making a one-time or recurring donation in the amount of your choice. Gifts of any size are welcome – every dollar counts!

Letter from a Reader: Gratitude For “Daring To Care”

Here at Give Back Yoga Foundation, every note of encouragement or thanks that lands in our inbox gives us more inspiration to carry on with our work…like this wonderful letter we received last month from supporter Margaret Westley.

Margaret, thank YOU for sharing your story and words of encouragement. It means the world to us!


Dear Give Back Yoga team!

My name is Margaret. I am a writer and a fundraiser for various causes and non profit organizations based in Wash. DC, but I work lots of other places.

I was reading this month’s Origin Magazine and was once again SO inspired and SO moved by all of the amazing work people are doing and have been doing for some time. I have heard of the Give Back Yoga Foundation before and have always been really touched by the work you all are doing.

I wanted to take the time to send this e-mail to you because I feel it’s really important to me to acknowledge other people–to actually take the time and say thank you because tomorrow is not guaranteed. When a person is acknowledged, they have a sense of personal value and when people feel valued they go out into the world with purpose.

I truly believe purpose is what we need–we all need to find a purpose in our lives whether that means we work in a bar, at a coffee shop or as a lawyer. No matter who or what we do–we all can make a difference and be the difference in our own ways.

Expressing gratitude is very important to me–I learned this during a hospitalization following a near death accident I had when I was 18 years old–after being run over by a bus–I broke my right ankle and badly damaged my left leg which eventually had to be amputated six inches below the knee.

Though the accident was painful and the recovery was tough–I would not change a single thing. I am so grateful to be alive, considering I almost did not make it. One step saved my life.

Just now I was writing something about the disease of disconnect—of how cell phone and other technology things are (in some ways) appropriate, but for the most part–I feel they are disconnecting us even more.

Yes, there can be a balance, however if that balance is not already tapped into—there will never be a sense of balance—and this is where yoga and other healing modalities come in—they bring a sense of balance to a person’s life so they are better able to handle certain situations.

So, thank you! Thank you for all of the work everyone involved in this collective is doing to help people feel important, to heal, and to go out into the world with that sense of empowerment. I know this works because yoga and other healing modalities have been so key to my personal healing from severe symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder–and I am so grateful to all of you for daring to care–for going into the world and spreading these teachings.

I truly believe this is what will pave way to the possibility of a future–it will be hard at time and it may not always be bright–but there is a possibility–and that’s huge.

Please put me on a mailing list if there is one–I’d love to stay updated on the progress you make.

Also, I noted your main offices are in Colorado and I am hoping that everyone is safe from the floods that were happening there–and if people were affected I hope they have the support they need— I will keep everyone in my thoughts!

Thanks for all you are and do!

I am beyond grateful,



You can help us meet our goal of putting evidence-based Yoga For Veterans Toolkits in the hands of 10,000 returning soldiers this year by making a one-time or recurring donation in the amount of your choice. Gifts of any size are welcome – every dollar counts!

Video: Veterans on Mindful Yoga Therapy Hangout on Air

Learn why four veterans want to share the transformational practice of yoga and mindfulness with other returning soldiers in this Google+ Hangout on Air, which features Mindful Yoga Therapy For Veterans founder Suzanne Manafort and some of her faculty and students.

“I want veterans to know that I can help them to lift their spirits. Because when my spirit needed lifting, it seemed like there was no one there. Until I met Suzanne, I was struggling. And I feel a great relief right now, and I want to bring that to other veterans. I definitely intend to teach other veterans about this wonderful, breathing, living experience that is yoga. “

– Air Force veteran Michael Riley, who is now completing his teacher training to become a Mindful Yoga Therapy instructor


You can help Give Back Yoga Foundation meet our goal of putting evidence-based Yoga For Veterans Toolkits in the hands of 10,000 returning soldiers this year by making a one-time or recurring donation in the amount of your choice. Gifts of any size are welcome – every dollar counts!