Feature: How Yoga Is Helping Heal Our Sick & Wounded Veterans

By September 24, 2015Military

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Rehabilitation takes time. Sleepless nights, anxiety and constant pain are just a few of the symptoms our brave troops and veterans have to contend with. Suzie Jennings, a leading expert in adaptive yoga believes she has found a way of alleviating some of the issues. She’s devised a programme that is used not only by Help For Heroes, but also by rehab facilities in America. Called Heroes at Ease, it’s designed to build core strength as well as reduce the symptoms of depression, sleeplessness and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Inspired to work alongside our wounded military personnel

Having returned from the US, where she got to work with American veterans and witness their injuries, Suzie felt inspired to make a difference at home.

I knew that certain breathing techniques and postures together with some mindful meditation and relaxation would be of great benefit.” She approached the Ministry of Defence at Headley Court, which resulted in her teaching a lunchtime yoga class to the Physiotherapists. Within three months, she was invited by the head of the complex trauma unit to work alongside wounded service men and women.

Adaptive Yoga is proven to make a difference

Positive feedback from injured personnel 18 months later indicated to the Surgeon General Paul Evans, that Suzie’s adaptive yoga techniques were making a real difference.  Her Adaptive Yoga programme is now being used at Headley Court.

“My sessions are partly to rebuild strength but also to help with sleep deprivation, anxiety issues, depression and post traumatic stress disorder.”

 

Adaptive Yoga now used widely to help the wounded

Following her experience with both Headley Court and Help for Heroes, Suzie has gone on to write the Adaptive Yoga Teacher Training Manual. This will enable yoga professionals in the future to learn from her extensive experience and apply the same skills to help other wounded military personnel.

‘Breathing and relaxation techniques are the most helpful’

The manual is a concise guide showing how the basic 25 yoga postures can be adapted to suit the individual and their needs. ‘We have found through 6 years of experience that the most helpful elements of the yoga sessions are the breathing techniques and relaxation. Mindful meditation is also of great benefit’. Each yoga session lasts from between 60 to 90 minutes.

To learn more about see Heroes at Ease.

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