Yoga Warriors came to the forefront of my life in March of 2005. I had been teaching yoga for over 20 years. Central Mass Yoga and Wellness, Inc. (CMY) had been open for 5 years. Michael Dziokonski, a long time CMY yoga student and Vietnam veteran asked me to teach a yoga class to his friends at the Vet Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. I didn’t have an understanding of trauma at the time but knew my dad (WW2 Vet) had experienced a deep pain that he had never talked about. I simply thought that I would be happy to find more men that would like to come to classes at Central Mass Yoga. Much to my surprise, this one hour free yoga class changed my life. Six of the 20 men asked for a yoga class specifically for veterans. I explained that a yoga center would be a wonderful place to experience the peace and serenity they may be looking for, promising them that it would “change their life”.
As time passed and the classes grew, I became more and more interested in trauma and how it affects the body and mind. I started researching PTSD on the internet, reading books and attended a workshop. I designed a special program for these men using positive affirmations coupled with specific yoga poses. I practiced the poses over and over again while noticing how positively the words affected me in the pose. I asked them to fill out surveys and sent the surveys home with them. I wanted to see
if their families saw the positive changes that I was seeing. Yoga Warriors has proven results (“Effects of Sensory-Enhanced Yoga On Symptoms of Combat Stress in Deployed Military Personnel” American Journal Of Occupational Therapy, January 2012) and many veterans now say it not only works but it “saved their life”.
Today, Yoga Warriors International is the first and largest program in the nation for healing combat veterans through yoga. Unlike other yoga disciplines and treatment modalities, Yoga Warriors was designed specifically to help veterans suffering from PTSD. Yoga Warriors has many active-duty military and combat veterans serving as teachers.
Yoga Warriors classes are now being held all over the nation at the bases and in yoga centers. Yoga instructors from 29 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and Cambodia have undergone Yoga Warriors training. Instructors in countries including Germany, Sweden and England have inquired about the program
May you find, as we all have, more than you came looking for Not only relief from your trauma, back pain, arthritis, or an antidote for depression, but a path that leads you into your own soul... into the deep depths of grace.