Warrior Pose

The U.S. military is turning to meditation, stretching and mindfulness to enhance the performance of troops. They see it as mental preparation in order to better handle stress. According to a January 2013 article in the NY Daily News, “Mindfulness-based Mind Fitness Training” or “M-Fit” was designed by former U.S. Army Capt. Elizabeth Stanley, a professor at Georgetown University who found relief doing yoga and meditation for her PTSD.”  http://www.mind-fitness-training.org/faq.html

Image credit: Yoga Across America website
Image credit: Yoga Across America website

The National Institute of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says yoga can be beneficial for many people. The benefits can include a reduction in stress and anxiety, relief of back pain, increased physical fitness and a sense of general well-being. According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included a comprehensive survey on the use of complementary health approaches by Americans, yoga is the sixth most commonly used complementary health practice among adults.

Yoga Warriors International is one organization that aims to combat stress and post traumatic stress disorder through yoga. Another organization targeting service members is Warriors for Healing. According to their website, “The mission of Warriors for Healing is to spread awareness about the transformational science of yoga and its effectiveness in combating stress and PTSD – we do this by holding major events throughout the year.” These programs are not gender exclusive, both men and women service members can participate and benefit.

Tim Godlove, a director at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and former Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, says he would have tried yoga if it was offered when he served twenty years ago. Through the availability of these programs and the recognition of the benefits of yoga by the military, male and female troops are learning more about the benefits of this transformational practice.

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