One of our primary goals at Yoga for Men is to help encourage people to look beyond the physical aspects of yoga, and consider the psychological and emotional benefits that yoga can provide. Our programs are designed not only to make you a fitter, healthier person, but someone who is open and ready for emotional and personal growth as well.
Anyone who has done much reading on the blog or spoken to me personally knows that managing PTSD is part of the reason that yoga is so important to me.
From the very beginning of Yoga for Men, we made sure to focus on veterans. Why is that? The number one reason for me personally is my post traumatic stress connection to them. My experience with PTSD is the result of having seen things that I can’t unsee and experience things that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.
Unfortunately, until you've experienced PTSD personally, it’s impossible to understand. My wife suffered with it, so for 10 years I lived with someone suffering with this, and I had no clue what she was really dealing with. She would try to explain it to me, but until I experienced it for myself, I really wasn’t able to understand how it felt or how uncontrollable it can be.
The trauma I experienced doesn’t offer me a community or support groups to process my emotions. I had to keep trying all these different things, trying to find something that worked for me.
At some point, I realized that yoga was helping me. That I was processing things better, and dealing with PTSD more efficiently. And I thought, if this can help me and my PTSD, there are so many other people out there that we can help.
PTSD is most widely recognized as something that affects our veterans, and rightly so. These are people who put their lives on the line every day. They experience things that most people never dream of. And the reality is that they walk into these situations knowing that some sort of physical or mental trauma is a very real possibility for them.
More than anyone perhaps, they deserve to have access to any kind of treatment that can help them cope with PTSD, before they ever even go into that experience.
If this is something that we know can help these people, then we need to educate them and offer it to them — before they go off to war.
If veterans, those in our society that suffer the most from PTSD, can benefit from yoga, how many other people could we also help? There are so many who suffer from this affliction, and we want them to know that yoga might help them too.
There are thousands and thousands of people in our society who are suffering from PTSD as the result of an experience that was out of their control. There are victims of domestic violence. There are kids that have been exposed to abuse, and there are women who have been assaulted.
All of these people are suffering.
If we can show them that yoga can help veterans with the incredible traumas they have faced, maybe we can help our society begin to talk more about PTSD. About how many people beyond veterans are suffering from it too. And start making help more readily available.
In all honesty, almost everybody is dealing with some type of trauma. You’ve had an experience that was out of your control, and now that experience is affecting the things you do have control over on a daily basis. How great would it be if we could identify these things in ourselves that cause us stress, and cause us to act out in unhealthy ways?
Yoga and meditation can help us find peace with our pasts, and help us move into the future without that baggage. Imagine, if we could pinpoint the experiences in our lives that still affect us 10, 20, 30 years later and recognize why we respond the we do, we can finally begin to grow and move on. If yoga can help us do that — it should be available to everyone.
One of my greatest discoveries through this process is post traumatic growth. This is the idea that we can go through a terrible experience and grow from it, as opposed to being taken out by it.
A traumatic situation can put us in a place where we are forced to work on ourselves to get better. And we discover mindfulness, an awareness of ourselves that helps us deal with the core root of our problems, where they started, and how to process those emotions in different, healthier ways.
PTSD is not a sign of weakness. It is the very real result of trauma. You can’t just power your way through it. Strength in PTSD is evidenced by showing yourself kindness, by making room for healing, and learning to cope in the midst of it. If yoga is something that can bring peace and mindfulness to those afflicted, then we want to make sure everyone has access to this wonderful tool for recovery.
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Yoga has been growing in popularity among people of all interests and athletes of a diverse list of disciplines. The unique combination.