According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, some 11%-20% of veterans who partook in recent wars or armed forces operations now suffer from PTSD. One of many contemporary organizations of helping vets cope with trauma, The Veterans Yoga Project takes a holistic approach to therapy.
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The educational and advocacy organization holds events for veterans with PTSD around the country. Working in partnership with veterans, active-duty military personnel, student veterans organizations and other non-profit organizations, the project supports recovery and promotes resilience among veterans, their families, and communities. For founder of the Dr. Dan Libby, founder of the Veterans Yoga Project, yoga can be an invaluable part of the recovery process for veterans and their communities.
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“These events allow civilians and veterans and yoga communities everywhere to express gratitude to the men and women and families who serve and protect in the Armed Forces," he explains in this Health.com piece.
The Project focuses on teaching veterans to use five tools to control symptoms and relieve stress. These include: breathing, meditation, mindful movement, guided rest, and gratitude. The program began with just 14 classes in 2014, and has since grown to over 400. This year, they expect to have classes in all 50 states.
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"We only in the past year have begun efforts to measure the effectiveness of these classes," says Libby. One facility—the Northport VA in Long Island, New York—offered six weekly classes in 2015, serving 58 veterans. About "76% of the time it resulted in a decrease in pain scores, and 79% of the time it resulted in a decrease in stress scores," says Libby.
You can check out this interactive map to find a Veterans Yoga Project class near you. You can also donate to the project, or teach your own donation-based class to help spread the positive cause.
Know of more worthy causes to fight PTSD? Tell us about them in the comments.