Mental Health: Veterans Yoga Project Healing PTSD
I wanted to share with my readers a very positive effort full of positive energy taking place in the world.
In 2017 in Hoboken, New Jersey, I first came into contact with the Veterans Yoga Project (VYP) organization. Tam Terry and Helene Graff, residents of Hoboken, arranged a fundraiser. Stevens Institute of Technology graciously offered the use of the university’s Walker gymnasium. Dr. Nariman Farvardin, the President of Stevens, gave the opening remarks. One hundred and twenty people from the Hoboken community came together to practice mindfulness and yoga in an effort to raise money and to support our veterans in getting back feelings of wholeness in everyday civilian life.
Since then, the Veterans Yoga Project organization has held many community and fundraising community events. June 3, 2018, the VYP outdid themselves and held a fundraiser on the retired battleship, the Intrepid, in New York City.
I had the pleasure of attending this momentous event on June 3rd, 2018 at 6 pm on the Intrepid, the retired battleship, now a museum open to the public, in New York City.
The VYP group was the only group on the Intrepid, after hours on a Sunday. The atmosphere was festive!
I was literally awestruck and speechless by just being on the Intrepid and walking around, seeing the different aircraft. The aircraft had the names of the pilot and crew painted on them. It was humbling to think of those men and women bravely protecting our country and serving freedom and America.
There were about 250 people attending the event.
250 yoga mats laid out on the deck of the Intrepid. The weather started out beautifully and we got some relaxing practice in, before it turned stormy and cold on us! Who knew it could be so windy in June! Northwell Health and Lululemon helped with this event and are charitable donors of the VYP.
Daniel J. Libby, Ph.D., is the founder and the Executive Director of the Veterans Yoga Project. He began his career working with veterans at the Veterans Administration in Connecticut and then California, and has conducted research investigating the physiological correlates of mindfulness meditation and all research regarding Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in Veterans Administration (VA) PTSD programs.
From his work at the VA, integrating yoga and mindfulness into a mental health program, the Veterans Yoga Project was born. He has developed a program for yoga teachers who wish to be trained in yoga for veterans, or what he calls, Mindful Resilience for Recovery and Resilience. His program is based both on his actual clinical results and feedback from veterans and current psychophysiological research.
Many people volunteer to make the VYP organization possible.
Watch Kelsey Linstos discuss how this event came about. She worked with LuLuMon in helping fund and organize it. She is a Certified in Mindful Resilience for Recovery and Resilience yoga through the YVP. She became involved went the organization as she is from a military family and was engaged to a veteran of Iraq. She talks about the struggle of veterans to re-integrate into civilian life and how little resources are actually available for the veterans regarding mental health and the re-integration.
I’ll be publishing an in-depth interview with Dr. Libby in the next few weeks.
If you’d like to make a donation to this organization and increase positive vibrations into society, go on over to their website here.
In November, around Veteran’s Day, Veterans Yoga Project holds a Veteran’s Gratitude Week.
Over the Week of Veteran’s Day, from November 2 – November 12 , Veteran’s Yoga Project asks yoga studios all over the United States to commit to teaching one community based class during that week, where the proceeds are donated to Veteran’s Yoga Project.
500 classes were taught in yoga studios in 48 states last year.
Your yoga studio can be part of this beautiful, positive event.
If you’d like to contribute and add to this positivity, and the United States hold one community yoga class and donate the proceeds to the Veterans Yoga Project. positive event.
Meanwhile, here are some books and resources you might find interesting to learn about the physical and mental health benefits of yoga and how to start a yoga practice.