The Veterans Yoga Project teaches self-regulation skills through our Mindful Resilience Yoga program at VA Medical Centers, Vet Centers, residential treatment programs, college campuses, other community-based veterans’ service organizations and online.
They teach veterans critical skills (breathing, meditation, mindful movement, rest and gratitude) that promote self-regulation and resilience so they are better able to manage life’s ordinary and extraordinary challenges.
Dr. Libby established VYP inspired by the success of his initial efforts to use the Mindful Resilience program with his veteran clients. He saw that his patients who practiced yoga and meditation and breathing has better outcomes. They had less pain, better sleep, better moods, and needed less medication. For some of those veterans, yoga became a path from posttraumatic stress to post-traumatic growth.
VYP primarily serves post 9/11 males suffering from PTSD. Their program was developed specifically for veterans recovering from post-traumatic stress, but they now serve veterans in all stages of recovery and resilience, with whatever physical or mental limitations they may have.
The organization told DVNF that many of the veterans they work with are not only dealing symptoms of trauma-related challenges, but also with other health problems that significantly affect their everyday quality of life and impede recovery. Pain, for example, is one of the most common and is often debilitating challenges for many veterans, exacerbating tendencies toward avoidance and isolation, leading to a downward spiral of intrusive memories, physiological dysfunction, and, unhealthy coping behaviors.
Their yoga programs, on the other hand, help veterans live a more pain-free life. For example, in Veterans Yoga Project programs where we collect stress and pain ratings before and after class, they found that 77%-92% of all class visits result in a decrease in pain. This can be 1, 2, 3, 4, or even 5 points on a 0 to 10 scale. There are no adverse side effects, and it’s cheaper and more effective than medication.
DVNF’s grant, which supports their online Practice Library, allows us them reach more disabled veterans who for various reasons cannot access their local classes. And for many veterans the online Practice Library provides a doorway to become more comfortable with the practices before coming to a group class.
How the program helped Mike V.