Yoga for Veterans
- Yoga reduces anxiety, stress, depression, anger and fear
- Reduces PTSD symptoms and improves functioning of traumatized individuals by helping them tolerate physical and sensory experiences associated with fear to increase tolerance
- Improves flexibility, balance and strength
- Calms the fight or flight stress response, creating a sense of balance and union between the mind and body
- Helps veterans manage anger and aggression, and find comfort in their own skin
Nearly 5.3 million American men and women have served in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. Rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among veterans may be as high as 30 percent. In addition, many veterans suffer from major depression, anxiety, chronic pain, traumatic brain injury, and substance abuse, sometimes leading to violence, aggression, legal issues, homelessness, and even suicide. The Veterans Health Administration (VA) provides a wide range of standard treatment options for these conditions, such as medication and psychotherapy. However, negative perceptions of antidepressants and opiates among veterans may be a barrier to treatment of pain and psychological symptoms. Therefore, there is increasing recognition that treatment regimens that include complementary therapies, such as yoga and meditation, may be preferable for some veterans for their anxiety, depression, and pain.
Over one-quarter of VA PTSD treatment programs currently offer yoga as a complementary part of treatment. Mindful yoga therapy has been shown to improve sleep quality, reduce anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation, improve self control and aggressive behaviors, and improve overall well being. Yoga also has been successfully integrated into mental health and addiction treatment programs for veterans and active-duty military across the United States.
Transformation Yoga Project provides programs for veterans at local VA hospitals. Our programs utilize a trauma-sensitive yoga practice to release deeply held, unresolved trauma, allowing veterans to become aware of mental patterns and habits and how those patterns relate to behaviors. Our objective is to provide veterans with access to yoga programs that teach mindfulness and practical solutions for dealing with anxiety, PTSD, chronic pain and depression.