Warriors Find Peace Through Yoga

After leaving the Marine Corps in 2004, Anu Bhagwati found herself emotionally wounded and physically broken from multiple injuries. She was then diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. She tried the conventional pill-popping treatment and her downward slide continued. Eventually she turned to yoga and found peace. She then started teaching yoga to other veterans and has helped hundreds. This is the story as carried by CBS News and highlights a trend where those suffering from PTSD find yoga to be a critical component on their road to recovery.

Anu has since co-founded Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN). Under her leadership SWAN has spearheaded a campaign to end military rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment in the armed forces.

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How I Healed My Broken Heart Using Yoga (and How You Can Too!)

Nicky Jones

Nicky Jones

2004 was the year that turned my life upside down. I went from being a fun-loving and adventurous university student, to being the primary caregiver to a boyfriend with terminal cancer while, simultaneously, dealing with the disappearance of my mother who was traveling in Costa Rica.

It didn’t end well.

A month after my boyfriend lost his battle with cancer, It was time to take care of my mom. I traveled to Costa Rica (twice) in an attempt to save her life. When I found her, she was so severely addicted to alcohol and crack-cocaine that she was a shell of the super ‘soccer mom’ I knew and loved. Several months later, she took her own life.

My already broken heart, was shattered into pieces.

One day, on a routine visit to my doctor, I found out that my figurative broken heart had manifested into an actual broken heart. I developed an arrhythmia that my cardiologist said could only be healed with beta-blockers and eventual surgery, which I refused because I knew deep down that these symptoms were caused by overwhelming grief. I decided it was time to heal. I began a regular specialized yoga practice that focused on softening and opening my heart-space. At first, it was excruciating – emotionally, I mean. I would organize myself in a heart opening pose and only be able to stay for several seconds before I needed out. But, I was gentle on myself. I was kind. I told myself to breathe and gave myself permission to release and move into Child’s Pose when it felt like too much.
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How Yoga Helped Me Heal

Chris Fleming was into kick boxing and running and he never gave much thought to yoga. Then he sustained neck injuries in a car accident and made his way to yoga. In this video he explains how yoga not only helped him heal, but that he discovered hidden mental benefits that he had not anticipated.

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The Healing Powers of Yoga

Barb Cooper

Barb Cooper

I tell everyone who asks that yoga has been a healing miracle for me.

In 2007, I had reconstructive foot surgery. Something – no one knows quite what – went wrong during the surgery and I was left in increasingly excruciating, chronic pain, eventually unable to leave the couch, for more than three years. It was awful. I’m on the other side of that pain now and it’s hard to describe exactly how terrible it was. Let me just say that I was so desperate for relief that I looked into elective amputation, among other things. (It turns out that we don’t do elective amputation in this country. I’m pretty glad of that now, but at the time I was distraught.)

It’s not that my doctors weren’t trying to find something to give me relief. I had so many steroid shots that I developed a bleeding hole in my retina. “I’m afraid this may just be as a good as it gets,” said my podiatrist as he handed me a form to submit for a handicapped parking permit. On it, he had checked the box for “permanent disability.”

And then, I’m still not sure why, I got off the couch and made my way to a Dharma I class taught at the martial arts studio where my daughter took taekwondo. It seems an unlikely setting for a miracle, but that’s exactly what it was. It wasn’t just that the physical asana practice allowed me to regain the suppleness in my foot that was necessary in order to walk without pain. It was also that, for the first time in my life, I had found something that allowed me to live in my body, in my brain, and in my spirit all at the same time.

Some changes in my life were immediate. As soon as I began to have stretches of time without pain, I began to notice and eliminate anything that took the edge off of my joy. So I stopped drinking alcohol and weaned off of the lobotomizing anti-depressants I was taking. I grew stronger. I lost weight. Eventually, I needed harder and more yoga classes than I could find at the martial arts studio, so my teacher took me to HIS local yoga teacher, who was also trained by Sri Dharma Mittra. (This one act epitomizes the generosity and love I have found pervasive in the yogis I have met who are associated with Sri Dharma Mittra.) At the new studio, I found my current practice. I stopped eating meat and then became a vegan, and eventually went through the Life of a Yogi 200-Hour teacher training at the Dharma Yoga Center in New York City. I’m now finishing up my requirements to be certified as a teacher, because I’m pretty sure that when you are given a miracle, you’re supposed to share it.

Yoga has transformed my life in ways I never thought possible. It has not only healed me physically, but it has given me a new way of being in the world.
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Yoga Is Really Empowering!

Robert’s journey into yoga started a year after he hit the low point of his life with his depression. Soon he found that the pills they gave him “kept him alive” but with no real will to live. He gained 2-3 pounds every month. Then his sister introduced him to yoga and everything changed. He now says, “It literally saved my life!”

The transformation has been astonishing in a period of less than 9 months. He has lost more than 50 pounds. His acid reflux is gone and he no longer has to sleep in his recliner. And best of all he usually finds himself in an “inexplicably good mood!”

Please watch and share this so that others may benefit from this story.

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