Yoga as therapy for PTSD and prisoners

A great quote highlights a story this week on PRI’s The World about yoga’s use in treating PTSD:

“I thought it was a joke,” said Vietnam veteran Paul Gryzwinski. “And I remembered actually laughing out loud and they said no we’re really not kidding you’re going to be going to yoga.”

The focus of the piece, which ran Thursday, is on the Veterans Yoga Project. For anyone wondering, this is yoga ala how it is taught in the Encinitas schools: sans Sanskrit.

Dan Libby, a co-founder of the Veterans Yoga Project, said the 12 week yoga training for treating vets with PTSD tries to strip all the new-agey stuff out.

“We really emphasize, ‘leave all the Sanskrit names at home, right. Leave the candles at home, don’t talk about you know moonbeams and chakras and all these things,’” he said. “It’s really just about learning about your body and your experience; learning to breathe.”

You can count Libby among those hoping for more hard data about yoga’s benefits. He’s looking to the government to get behind some studies, which in turn will help troops take it more seriously. The government already is, as the story reports: More and more, yoga is becoming a mandatory part of therapy for those with PTSD.

In another story on yoga’s benefits beyond a toned body, HLNTV this week covered a waiting listed-yoga program for Oregon prisoners:

Columbia River Correctional Institution hosts a weekly yoga class for its inmates and that the class is always packed — and that the waiting list for it dates back six months. And to the prisoners at the facility, the classes are more than just a way to pass the time.


“I’ve seen inmates who’ve come in and have been challenging with their behavior and they’ve taken the yoga class and I’ve seen a change immediately,” Cpl. Lindsay Noack, a corrections officer, told the station. “They’re less hostile, more respectful, more engaged in their programming and that’s really the goal of the institution.”

Our friend Robbie Norris is not alone.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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