Is Warrior Pose the cure for soldiers with PTSD?
Imagine reliving the most traumatic events of your life over and over again. What if you didn’t know how to escape them? What if they intruded on your every waking thought, polluted every joyful occasion, and severed connections with loved ones?
For veterans suffering with PTSD, this is reality.
As of 2014, an estimated 540,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were diagnosed with PTSD. Half of those never seek treatment. Among those who do reach out for help, only half receive what the RAND organization classifies as “adequate treatment” while the number who receive treatment that has been proven effective is even smaller.
A new study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress indicates that lasting, effective healing can come to veterans through an avenue that may surprise many – yoga.
This study provides scientific support for the idea that yoga’s breathing-based meditation has positive effects on soldiers battling PTSD. The soldiers who undertook yoga demonstrated fewer PTSD symptoms, including a reduction in the intensity of anxiety and intrusive thoughts.
Anne Platt, a certified yoga instructor, can attest to yoga’s healing effects on PTSD sufferers. She’s been guiding veterans through yoga therapy at the Los Angeles VA for fifteen years. During that time she worked with a combat track psychologist to develop a yoga therapy program specifically designed for at risk veterans suffering from PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and acute physical disabilities. Platt’s successful program is now being adopted by VAs across the country.
The men and women she treats are eligible for this therapy during their stay in the domiciliary on VA grounds. However, Platt is concerned for veterans once they leave and re-enter their “normal lives,” where they may not be subject to the same encouragement.
To address this issue, Project Resiliency has brought Pratt on to our team to teach warrior combat yoga and to explore the development of a sustainable yoga therapy program for veterans who have left the care of the VA. This program will extend Platt’s gentle guidance of veterans towards wellness in a safe, nurturing environment.