” Within the first five minutes of my first yoga class, I was knocked out and I slept through the whole class. But when I woke up,  I felt rested for the first time in years. I actually felt like I had some good sleep. And that was a big, big turning point for my healing.”

-Hugo Patrocinio, former marine who served two deployments in Iraq

This past Friday, September 16th at 11 am EST / 8 am PST / 9 am MST we turned our gaze to the large population of those who are returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan, exploring the question of how yoga can be of service to our troops. (Click here to listen to the show archive).

We welcomed former marine and soon to be yoga teacher Hugo Patrocinio onto the air to share his unique perspective on yoga as well as Rob Schware, a board member of the Give Back Yoga Foundation and contributor of the soon to be released ‘Give the Gift of Yoga to Vets’ campaign.

With the shared knowledge and experience of these two guests, we explored some of the following questions:

*What is significant about the practice for those who are returning from war?

*How does the concept of warrior change after transitioning from active duty to a yoga practice?

*What are some of the ways that the community at large can be more receptive to and understanding of its veterans?

*How can the yoga community and the military community potentially acknowledge common ground and what, if anything, do they have to teach each other?

The ‘Give the Gift of Yoga to Vets’ campaign is currently raising money to help distribute these materials to veterans and their families beginning in early December. (to make a contribution to the Give the Gift of Yoga Campaign, click here and for a complete list of individuals and organizations offering yoga to vets, see below).

This was truly a special show. We invited both personal testimony as well as discussed the concrete steps towards providing the service of yoga to those who have already served. So whether you are interested in hearing about the power of yoga in a new and powerful context or interested in finding a way to give back, then tune in to listen to the show’s archive.

We would be honored if you would pass this message along to those whom you know who might benefit from, or be interested in contributing to, the ‘Give the Gift of Yoga to Vets’ campaign.

“Over the past few months, this meditation has helped me realize how closely connected my physical and mental pain are. I told my wife that I feel like i’m untangling a big knot. I didn’t know which strand was which when it was all knotted together, but as I do the meditation, I feel myself unwinding. As I undo the knot, I see what was mental and what was physical and how letting go of each helps the other.”

-Jon, Vietnam Veteran

Organizations Serving Veterans with Yoga and/or working in Tandem with the Give Back Yoga Foundation 

*Adaptive Sports Foundation: an organization bringing sports to disabled youth and is the recent founder of the Warriors in Motion program which works to provide veterans with a basic knowledge and practice of wellness. http://www.adaptivesportsfoundation.org

*Yoga for Vets: Yoga for vets maintains a list of studios, gyms and teachers that offer at least four free classes to war or conflict veterans that served, or are currently serving, in the United States Military. http://www.yogaforvets.org/

*Warriors At Ease: Trains yoga and meditation teachers to teach in military settings. http://warriorsatease.com/

*Wounded Warrior Project: An organization that seeks to raise public awareness, assist injured service members and provide programs to meet the needs of men and women returning home. http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/mission.aspx

*Healing Combat Trauma: Provides resources for and about healing combat trauma with a focus on providing medical, psychological and legal care for veterans and their families. http://www.healingcombattrauma.com/

*There and Back Again: Provides reintegration support services to veterans of all conflicts. http://thereandback-again.org/

*The Veterans Yoga Project: Brings together information and resources for anyone interested in the use of Yoga as a therapeutic practice for Veterans. http://www.veteransyogaproject.org/

*Yoga for Vets NYC- Offers Bi-weekly Yoga classes to Veterans at the Integral Yoga Institute

*Yoga Basics: Provides free online support and information for those seeking to establish or maintain a yoga practice. http://www.yogabasics.com/

*Yogadownload.com: Offers online customized yoga classes for anyone seeking to establish or maintain a yoga practice. http://www.yogadownload.com/

*Yogis Anonymous: Provides both online and in person classes in a safe, non-judgmental atmosphere. http://yogisanonymous.com/

*War Retreat: Yoga & wellness events, resources, and articles for those who go through wars, conflicts and disasters. Formerly The War Photographers’ Retreat.

*Vets 4 Vets: A non-partisan organization dedicated to helping Iraq and Afghanistan- era veterans to heal from the psychological injuries of war through the use of peer support.

Individuals Serving Veterans with Yoga and/or working in Tandem with the Give Back Yoga Foundation

*James Fox, Founder of the Prison Yoga Project and co author of Finding Peace: A Yoga Guide for Veterans. http://prisonyoga.com/

*David Emerson:  Head of the Yoga Program at the Trauma Center in Brookline, MA and co-author of Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga: Reclaiming Your Body. http://www.traumacenter.org/clients/yoga_svcs.php

*Beryl Bender Birch: Director and founder of The Hard and the Soft Yoga Institute, co-founder of The Give Back Yoga Foundation and co-author of Finding Peace: A Yoga Guide for Veterans

* Patty Townsend, director of Yoga Center Amherst, developer of embodyoga teacher training programs and co-creator of the CD: Deep Relaxation with Yoga Nidra, donated as part of the Give the Gift of Yoga to Vets Campaign: http://www.yogacenteramherst.com/teacher_patty.html

*Rod Stryker, Para Yoga: Founder of Para Yoga, author of the Four Desires, and co-creator of the CD: Deep Relaxation with Yoga Nidra, donated as part of the Give the Gift of Yoga to Vets Campaign: http://www.parayoga.com/

Suzanne Manafort: serves as a board member of the Give Back Yoga Foundation and is the creator of the CD: Breathe In, Breathe Out: Quick and Easy Breathing Practices to Help Balance the Nervous System, donated as part of the Give the Gift of Yoga Campaign.

*Daniel Hickman, Nosara Yoga: Creator of For VetsYoga, an introductory yoga dvd for veterans, featuring interviews with vets who have found yoga to be essential for their healing process .https://www.nosarayoga.com/faculty-bios/daniel-e-hickman

*Robin Carnes, Walter Reed Army Medical Center: The yoga and iRest yoga nidra meditation instructor for a multi-disciplinary PTSD treatment program and the CEO of Warriors at Ease. http://yoganidranow.com/

*Karen Soltes, LCSW. Washington DC Veterans Hospital, War Related Illnesses and Injuries Study Center (WRIISC). iREst Yoga Nidra Teacher for several groups of Veterans with a range of challenges, including PTSD, Substance Abuse, and traumatic Brain Injury. Creator of the CD “iREst Yoga Nidra: Easing Into Stillness”

*Lilly Bechtel- Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Instructor offering a weekly yoga class for men and women at the James J. Peters Veteran’s Hospital in the Bronx.