Yoga Therapy Is Helping Veterans

Veterans are stepping outside their comfort zone and exploring yoga therapy to help heal their emotional, physical and spiritual wounds.

The yoga therapy program for veterans recently began at Explore Yoga – Shreveport with Monica Carlson, E-RYT (Experienced-Yoga Teacher) teaching the class.

Carlson describes why yoga therapy is important. “I believe that the greatest affect yoga has on people is learning to pay attention,” Carlson said. “With a focus on breath patterns, the practitioner is able to slow down the heart rate and regulate the nervous system. Paying attention to such a natural function allows the practitioner, over time, to create a different relationship to the body and the everyday stresses encountered.” Veterans attending the class are currently enrolled in the Volunteers of America Veterans Treatment Court.

Explore Yoga administered a short survey after 10 sessions (1 per week) and 5 respondents completed the survey. They discovered the following results:

  • 100% stated that it improves FLEXIBILITY
  • 80% stated it improves STRENGTH
  • 100% stated it improves BALANCE
  • 80% stated it improves ABILITY TO CONTROL ANXIETY
  • 80% states it improves ABILITY TO CONTROL STRESS
  • 100% stated they believe the Veteran’s Court is concerned about my health and well-being
  • 100% stated they like yoga as a form of alternative therapy
  • 60% stated it improves self-confidence
  • 60% stated reduction in chronic pain

 

Veterans Treatment Court, established earlier this year, is a collaborative effort between Volunteers of America, Caddo District Court, Veterans Affairs Office, and State Probation and Parole.

Presiding Judge Craig Marcotte explains the program, “The court provides a means to successfully rehabilitate veterans by diverting them from the traditional criminal justice system and providing them with the tools they need to lead a productive and law-abiding life through treatment, rehabilitative programming, reinforcement and judicial monitoring.”

To qualify for the program, a veteran must be honorably discharged from the military, qualify for veteran benefits, and accused of a non-violent crime. Veterans are also assigned a “battle buddy” who acts as a mentor, advocate and ally. The veterans and their support group receive a free yoga session once a week.

For more information, contact Volunteers of America North Louisiana at 318.221.8404 or visit www.voanorthla.org.

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