Military Connection: Veterans Turning to Yoga: By Debbie Gregory

yoga for veteransVeterans of all generations suffer from a broad spectrum of ailments, including arthritis, joint and muscle pain/stiffness, substance abuse, depression, traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Due to the attempts to treat their conditions, Veterans are among the most medicated population in America. But not every Veteran is keen on the idea of taking pills. For that reason, many Veterans have been seeking alternative methods of treatment.

A surprisingly high number of Veterans have turned to yoga. Even more surprising is the number of Vietnam-era Veterans who are taking up the discipline, or at least trying it out.

Across the country, yoga instructors have been offering free classes for Veterans. Some instructors have reached out to local Veterans service organizations to form  partnerships. But there have also been several reports of local Veterans organizations recruiting instructors to come to their posts and clubs in order to provide yoga to Veterans.

While those who are unfamiliar with yoga may link it to Hindu or Buddhist practices, yoga has been a popular physical fitness regimen in the U.S. for about thirty years. Yoga is a low-impact exercise that still elevates the heart rate.

The obvious benefits of yoga as a regular exercise routine are increased flexibility, strength and range of motion, as well as relieving back pain and other muscle and joint pain.

But there are also other benefits that are not as easily gauged. The number of Veterans who have claimed that yoga has helped them with PTSD and other mental or emotional ailments cannot be ignored.

One of the root definitions of the word “yoga” is combining. People around the world believe that yoga is the practice or discipline of combining one’s mind and body. But when utilizing the poses just for physical fitness, yoga is the combining of stretches, poses, breathing control and concentration that give both your body and your brain a workout.

Maintaining any type of exercise routine has proven to keep people both physically and mentally fit. But running, lifting weights, and playing sports just isn’t an option for some people. Yoga is proving to be a great alternative for Veterans who may not be able to PT the way that they used to.

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Military Connection: Veterans Turning to Yoga: By Debbie Gregory