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Vet Center Testimonial to the benefits of Yoga and Meditation

 

We have been offering veterans yoga classes in Bristol, Pennsylvania, twice a week since October 2013. The classes are offered through a partnership between the Lower Bucks YMCA and Meghan’s Foundation. The veterans who participate are both male and female, and range in age from 26 to 75, and have served in the combat theatres of Viet Nam, Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of them are dealing with post-traumatic stress and are receiving counseling at our Vet Center.

Trauma-sensitive yoga has provided a wonderful adjunct therapy for these veterans. Physically they feel better and have seen improvements in their strength and flexibility. They have also learned ways in which to manage some symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Our instructor is a skilled trauma-sensitive teacher, and spends time at the end of each class guiding a meditation or relaxation exercise. Veterans leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Also they report improved sleep and concentration, and are able to self-soothe when their symptoms flair up. Most importantly, many have incorporated yoga and meditation into their “daily practice”, which helps provide structure and support for their day. They are able to calm themselves down when they have flashbacks or intrusive memories, and are generally enjoying an improved quality of life.

As a therapist, I can’t overemphasize the difference that these classes have made to our veterans. They are continuously improving, and are grateful for this opportunity and the support that they’ve received from Meghan’s Foundation. As am active yoga and meditation participant, I can attest to the improvement in stress management, flexibility, and the overall feeling of peacefulness that yoga and meditation have provided for me. My fellow veterans and I can’t thank Meghan’s Foundation enough, and wish to thank the hundreds of supporters of this wonderful organization.

Jeff Hoerger
LCDR, USNR (RET)
Team Leader
Bucks County Vet Center 238, Bristol PA

This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. Jeff,

    What a wonderful testimonial.

    I think the best part of working with these veterans is when someone who hasn’t slept through the night in a long time finally does, and then shares it with all of us! They are so joyful to be able to do something that should come so naturally. It is wonderful to see how bodies and spirits respond to this practice.

    I truly appreciate the support that the Lower Bucks YMCA, Optimal Fitness Newtown, Meghan’s Foundation and its supporters have given this program.

  2. It is so great to hear about the wonderful things that are happening for our veterans through Meghansfoundation . Knowing the amount of work that goes into setting up a foundation and programs like these, it is just great to see them benefiting so many. Meghan would be so pleased. Keep up the great work and thank you so much.

  3. This is a wonderful report. The more the general public and our leaders hear about these consistently observed benefits, as well as more structured studies*, the closer we’ll get to having yoga and mediation programs established on a mass scale for both veterans and active duty troops. Keep up the wonderful work, Meghan’s Foundation!

    [*For example, just today (4/21/14) another interview was published about a 2012 study done on the effects of yoga on personnel deployed to Iraq. See interview by Rob Schware of Jon H. Greuel, Maj, USAF, MHR, RYT, “When Will the Joint Chiefs Practice Yoga?” (Apr. 21, 2014), at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rob-schware/when-will-the-joint-chief_b_5032353.html?utm_hp_ref=tw# (“Our study showed it is practical to have a yoga program in a combat zone and that it reduces anxiety, perhaps making it the best non-pharmaceutical, evidence-based intervention for combat stress and PTSD.”) (referring to study entitled, “Effects of Sensory-Enhanced Yoga on Symptoms of Combat Stress in Deployed Military Personnel,”by Carolyn C. Stoller, Jon H. Greuel, Lucy S. Cimini, Mary S. Fowler and Jane A. Koomar, published in American Journal of Occupational Therapy, available at http://ajot.aotapress.net/content/66/1/59.full).]

  4. I have pleased to hear about things that are happening for our veterans through Meghansfoundation as well. The idea of healing via Yoga and other organic methods are awesome. By the way, I would like to thank you to the Lower Bucks YMCA for the great support. Thanks and keep posting things like this.

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