“Yoga saves lives, there’s no question in my mind.”
The effects of war, on those who survive it, can be horrific. In recent years we have learned a lot about trauma, and especially about how this condition deeply affects the integrated mind, body, and spirit. Yoga therapy has emerged as a unique support for trauma, likely because yoga practices engage the whole person. IAYT-certified yoga therapist Judy Weaver, one of the founders of Connected Warriors, is dedicated to bringing yoga to veterans and active-duty military people.
Judy came to yoga to heal herself, eventually becoming a yoga teacher and then a yoga therapist. Beau McVane, a former U.S. Army Ranger, came to her studio one day to heal himself, and together they founded Connected Warriors. In this article Weaver reflects,
Our soldiers are killing themselves in the trauma of coming home—they can’t down-regulate. . . . In yoga, mind and body are one and the same, literally one thing, bodymind. I tell my clients, “Your body knew the answer, you just didn’t know how to hear it.”
The Veterans Administration is one of the organizations in the United States leading whole-person health approaches to healthcare. Whole-person health views a person as more than their physical body, including nonphysical aspects in understanding and caring for them. For example, this approach sees physical components to mental health issues and emotional components to physical issues. The panchamaya model in yoga views human beings as having interrelated layers—physical, energetic, mental, emotional, and spiritual—and describes integrative practices to heal and care for the whole human being.
Judy and Beau’s organization is an example of exactly this kind of work. Connected Warriors has served more than 21 million veterans and 60 million military family members. These numbers alone speak to the need for and effectiveness of the practices.
To find an IAYT-certified yoga therapist to support you or a loved one in healing from trauma, search IAYT’s database.