Today is Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2013. It is a day that we, as a country, have set aside to honor the men and women who have gone to battle and/or served to protect our country. Unfortunately, for many of our veterans, the war is within.
I honor this day, all of the women and men who have served, and the family of our military. However, I do have a hard time with war; and especially the lack of tools and resources that are offered to our current service members and veterans on healing and working through the inevitable trauma that war leaves in one’s body, mind, and spirit.
Soldiers undergo physical training before deployment, but they often lack emotional tools to cope with trauma.
The statistics available on the number of service members and veterans committing suicide daily and suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are staggering and heart breaking. PTSD can manifest as depression, severe anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, anger and overall dis-ease.
Our country has chosen to treat many veterans with medication, but medication does not heal the wounds, and sometimes creates dependency, which creates more problems to overcome.
One simple and very accessible resource available now, due to the internet, that I hope you will share with anyone you know who may be suffering, is Yoga Nidra. At some VA medical centers, veterans take classes in Yoga Nidra, an ancient practice that resembles guided meditation. The technique uses relaxation and breathing exercises to deconstruct the thoughts and emotions which trigger PTSD.
“In combat there’s trauma and you feel helpless, and then you go to the VA and you’re on medication and you feel helpless,” said Lynch, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. “Yoga gives control to the vets, allowing them to take charge.”
Therapists suggest that yoga and meditation can be preventative measures, not simply therapies.
The definition of Yoga is ‘to yoke’ or unite. It is my wish, the we can work together to support our veterans in helping them to re-unite with their health and happiness that we all should have access to.
Below are a few links that give information on the use of Yoga Nidra as a healing modality for veterans with PTSD. If you have any questions or need assistance with finding additional resources, please feel free to reach out to me directly!
1. iRest Yoga Nidra has been developed over the past twenty-six years by Richard Miller, PhD, a clinical psychologist, author, researcher and yogic scholar, and is uniquely suitable for a Western audience. http://www.irest.us/projects/veterans
2. The Give Back Yoga Foundation is committed to offering free yoga and meditation resources to veterans nationwide. http://givebackyoga.org/
3. Listen: To be guided into yoga nidra by Richard Miller, listen to the audio at: yogajournal.com/livemag.
Most yoga studios offer complimentary Yoga Nidra to veterans. If you are in the Phoenix area, please join me for Yoga Nidra on Fridays at 12 Noon held at the Sunnyslope Community Center, located at 802 E. Vogel in Phoenix, AZ. http://phoenix.gov/parks/centers/sunnyslopecc/