When people hear the word yoga, they often think to themselves, “I am not flexible enough” or maybe that it’s just stretching. What people don’t think about is the real practice of yoga, which is the science of the mind. Yoga is transformational. Here at Fort Hood, the impact can be life changing.

Did you know that yoga helps veterans with depression? Did you know that yoga can impact the physical ability and mental health of our veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress?

A recent study focusing on male veterans who had elevated depression scores showed a significant reduction in the depression systems by practicing yoga twice a week. The study also found an increase in mindfulness and a decrease in experiential avoidance.

A recent article related to this study in Yoga Journal quoted the study information of co-investigator Lindsey B. Hopkins, Ph.D., a research fellow at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health Care Center, “From my view, our most meaningful finding was how much these men — almost all of whom were practicing yoga for the first time — enjoyed the practice, believed it had improved their physical and/or mental health, and viewed it as a promising treatment option, suggesting that yoga could be a highly acceptable complementary approach for male veterans.”

She went on to say, “I think this is important given that people in the U.S. often think of yoga as a woman’s activity ... and, more specifically, a privileged young white woman’s activity. This study lends support that this isn’t the case, given the diversity of these male veterans in terms age, race and economic status.”

So now you know about the positive impact yoga can have on our servicemembers, veterans and their families, I want to share a little about an organization called Warriors at Ease. They are truly driving the train to increase awareness on the power of yoga and meditation for our service members, veterans, and their families.

Warriors at Ease was founded in 2009 to bring the power of yoga and meditation to military communities around the world. The founders included a retired Army physician, and they developed programs based on their extensive yoga and meditation teachings across military settings to include the VA system and Walter Reed Medical Center.

The Warriors at Ease teachers are trained in trauma-sensitive practices. As of this year, there is a growing network of more than 750 teachers who serve the active-duty military and veteran communities across the world.

The Warriors at Ease mission is to “increase awareness about the power of yoga and meditation and educate a network of professionals qualified to share evidenced-based practices through programs that support the health and healing of service members, veterans and their families.”

Their vision is to integrate yoga and meditation into military and civilian settings to support the health, resiliency, post-traumatic growth and connection of service members, veterans and their families.

Warriors at Ease classes are available in the Killeen area. Check with local yoga studios for details.

To learn more about Warriors at Ease, visit www.warriorsatease.com.

Reena O’Brien is an Army spouse and a Herald correspondent. She lives on Fort Hood.

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