The Strong Body, Quiet Mind Project provides high quality yoga classes to veterans, first responders, at risk youth, and survivors of trauma. All veterans and first responders are invited to participate - service and health providers are invited to collaborate with Return Yoga. Participants are asked to pay $30 per month for unlimited yoga classes. A veteran's i.d. card or first responder i.d. is all you need to sign up. Sign up must happen in-studio for Strong Body, Quiet Mind. Every class on Return's schedule is open to project participants.
Participants are invited to all yoga classes rather than 'special' classes: there is no need for labels, anonymity is respected here, and all to often 'help' comes with stigma. The truth is, we all need healing. Further, 'special' programs or classes are all to limited in time and scope, leaving participants after a few weeks rather than encouraging an on-going, life process of growth.
Our society is rife with anxiety, stress, and trauma.
Studies have shown that PTSD and 'shock' in this generation of military will overshadow anything known to previous generations, costing billions. Veterans returning from service are finding a depressed economy, a dirth of future and career opportunities, and a shortage of services that answer their physical and psychological needs.
Research is showing that domestic violence and sexual assault survivors are just as likely to suffer trauma symptoms, with an even fewer sources of support and intervention.
Similarly, first responders are on the front lines of crisis situations day in and day out. On going exposure to traumatic situations takes its toll on responders, who are under appreciated, under respected, and under protected. Trauma, stress, and shock are status quo. The private costs are often invisible, but no less deep.
These populations suffer in their own lives, and the effects of trauma are passed onto the next generation. These demographics are over-represented in the unemployed, the homeless, the incarcerated, those seeking emergency services, addiction services, and medical assistance. Their children struggle in education, health, and social connections. These kids are more likely to be involved in crime, high risk behaviors, and have inadequate medical and educational support.
Trauma has proven to be one of the most difficult issues to 'treat'. However, current research has shown that the skills of mindfulness, meditation, and yoga promote autonomy, well being, and genuine healing in away medicine and traditional 'talk therapy' can't. 8 weeks of a yoga practice has proven to calm the sympathetic nervous system and increase activity in the areas of the brain associated with the parasympathetic nervous system, sense of safety and autonomy, and cognitive functioning. Further, yoga can be taught at very little cost, with no negative side effects, and is accessible to any level of ability/mobility.
The effects of trauma (or stress, for those who have been labeled too much already) are pernicious, at times devastating, at other times manifesting as a numbing sense of being 'damaged' or 'broken'. Many who have lived through trauma (from a car accident to the death of a loved one, a sexual assault to active duty)often describe it as a chronic state of hopelessness.
Yoga is a rediscovery of hope, and the lived experience of grace.
It was so for me.
There is a profound difference between trying to 'get over it', and feeling oneself okay from the soles of the feet to the deepest parts of the brain.
Yoga allows us to experience ourselves not as 'wounded' or getting over it, but as powerfully alive and worthy human beings.
How the Program Works:
Additional funding may come from community or private donations or grants.
If your program is interested in accessing yoga classes for your demographic, please contact Karin Burke at firstname.lastname@example.org. All support, whether by participating in class or donating directly, is greatly appreciated and provides a demonstrable good.