Yoga program focuses on wounded warriors


By Debbie Gregory.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder, usually occurring after an extremely stressful event, such as the threat of violent death or serious injury.

Working in the psychiatric ward at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Lt. Col. Shaye Molendyke has seen PTSD and the effects of war, up close and personal. A number of years ago, after a severe injury, Molendyke began yoga training.  Many years later, she decided to take her love of yoga to the next level, combining her counseling skills honed at Landstuhl with her knowledge of yoga, developing a new program called “YogaFit for Warriors”.

YogaFit for Warriors has been specifically developed to help wounded warriors, emergency responders, and those who suffer from PTSD, stress, anxiety and other mental and physical traumas.

The stigma of PTSD prevents members of the military from coming forward and seeking help. A new study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine indicates that active-duty troops are using some alternative therapies such as massage therapy, meditation and guided imagery therapy for stress reduction at rates up to seven times higher than civilians.

When most people think about the military, a calm yoga room is probably the last thing that comes to mind. But with veteran unemployment, substance abuse, and suicide rates due to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on the rise, the U.S. Armed Forces are using yoga to do what conventional drugs and therapy cannot. Trauma-sensitive yoga helps people suffering from traumatic stress, with the added benefit of increased strength, flexibility, agility and relaxation

Over the next six months, Molendyke plans to visit Army bases that include Fort Campbell, Ky.; Fort Bliss, Texas; Joint base San Antonio and Fort Belvoir, VA., to train yoga instructors in trauma-sensitive yoga. It’s always great to see new progress when it comes to helping those with PTSD.

While yoga is not a cure for PTSD, it has already become an important tool used to treat PTSD effectively and efficiently.