Opinion » Letters

Yoga benefits veterans

Los Osos



The therapeutic benefits of yoga for soldiers experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder have been researched, recognized, and implemented by the U.S. Department of Defense, though perhaps not locally, yet. Yoga has been clinically proven to help veterans cope with stress, anxiety and depression, anger, aggression and insomnia, brain injury, and emotional reactivity in multiple studies, including research from Harvard Medical School.

Preliminary results from a small study funded by the U.S. Defense Department, and led by a Harvard Medical School assistant professor, found that veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder showed improvement in their symptoms after 10 weeks of yoga classes, including meditation and breathing, done twice a week, and 15 minutes of daily practice at home.

Walter Reed Army Hospital has used Yoga Nidra—relaxation techniques—in the iRest model to reach traumatized soldiers with great success. iRest classes are now protocol at V.A. facilities in Miami, Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Palo Alto and Sacramento, California.

Yoga helps one identify the symptoms of trauma, rather than repress them, easing stress. Yoga is a low-risk, cost-effective measure to bring healing to the veteran’s community, including friends and family.


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