Yoga for New Beginning

“Knowing yourself, is the beginning of your wisdom!” So said Aristotle, the immortal philosopher. The ability to  develop a relationship with, and between your own body, your own mind, your own self, is the gateway to developing health, harmony and calm within yourself, your community, your world.

What better, easier and enduring way to achieve this, in a non-stressed, non-judgemental, non-competitive environment, than by learning through the time-tested, infinite and life-enhancing Yoga philosophy?

At WE IMPACT, we strongly believe that Yoga with its multiple, research-proven benefits on one’s body, mind and soul, should be shared gratuitously, as well as mindfully, with every person suffering ill health, be it through physical illnesses or mental disturbances. To empower someone with life nurturing tools and create a life thriving environment can be rewarding not only to the individual, but to the entire community centering them.

However, we also feel it imperative that disadvantaged sections of our communities, eg. veterans, incarcerates, youth in detention centers and foster homes and orphanages, and many more marginalised segments, are intentionally prioritized in this process of bridging internal connections. Yoga, with its inherently compassionate nature and intentional direction, will help to support them through their physical and mental health integrative processes. What can build self-respect more than being appreciated for one’s health and being able to partake in society as a ‘normal’ person?

WE IMPACT developed their exclusive Yoga Therapy for Body, Mind, Soul Program, with the over-arching aim to make healthcare an easily accessible tool for health enhancement and sustainability, keeping in mind the unique sensitivities of veterans.

Census studies (2018, published June 2020) indicate that the US Veteran population has decreased almost 33%, from 2000 to 2018. While this is
certainly a good trend and indicative of an increasingly peaceful time, there are some worrying trends, as observed in the following statistics.

In comparison to non-military people, veterans are disproportionately impacted by heart diseases, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. Sadly, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder-PTSD, commonly known as “shell-shock” post WWI, is 32% and 20% in combative and non-combative veterans respectively, whereas in civilians it is 8%! Trauma-Induced Stress -TIS (~ 4 times than in civilians), Traumatic Brain Injury-TBI, are all more frequently diagnosed in veterans. Chronic pain is far more common in younger veterans, a critical factor in their ability to procure and retain employment, starting a vicious cycle of economic instability, poverty, unaffordability of healthcare and worsening health.

Percentage* of Adults Aged ≥20 Years Who Had Chronic Pain, by Veteran Status and Age Group; National Health Survey, United States, 2019

All these adverse conditions, with a stark lack of support for healing interventions, lead to increased substance use disorders (SUD), alcoholism, smoking, anxiety, depression. Almost 2000 veterans have undergone amputations since 2010, resulting in poor self-image and low self-esteem.

As a result, 3 criticalities occur:

  1. The rate of suicide among veterans is 1.5 times higher than the non-veteran population,
  2. The rate of homelessness is unacceptably higher.
    • 11% of the homeless adults, and 20% of the homeless male, are veterans.
    • 68% live in principal cities, where cost of living is exorbitantly expensive and the rest 32%  in suburban/rural areas have poor access to healthcare facilities.
    • 51% of  homeless veterans have disabilities, 50% have serious mental illness and 70% suffer from SUD.
    • 57% are white males, compared to 38% of non-veterans.
    • 50% are age 51 or older, compared to 19% non-veterans
  3. Military veterans currently account for 8% ( ~ 114,400) of the national incarcerate population, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

This review identifies mental illness, SUD, low income, and homelessness as targets for policies and programs in an effort to end physical and mental health disorders amongst veterans.

Yoga is proven, again and again, through multiple research, by world renowned universities and health institutions, (Harvard University, National Institute of Health, US Military, Veterans Administration, etc.) to reduce physical, and more importantly, mental ill-health. This enables a positive frame of mind, able to look past physical incapacities, reduces negative emotions, thereby empowering self-esteem. Practised, even for 10 minutes daily, it invigorates the body from the crown of the head to the tips of the toes!

Of course, one feels the body itself developing alignment (active standing pose), strength (warrior pose), flexibility (surya namaskar), balance (tree, eagle or dancer pose) and improved functionality in all systems (yoga limbering).

But here’s the proof! The American College of Physicians recommends yoga as a first-line treatment for chronic low back pain and arthritis. The fun inversion poses are a boon to the health of one’s cardiovascular system, reducing the incidence of hypertension, infarctions and strokes. It helps maintain weight at a steady level to prevent obesity and its associated complications.  Maintain a healthy digestive system in the diamond pose! Strengthen your legs, ankles, toes in the hero pose and learning to walk like a crow! Relax like a child and sleep like a baby in the legs up the wall pose! Embodied relaxation in the blissful pose reflects your connectivity with your Self, energising every moment thereafter! Women’s health is enhanced in the siddhiyoni pose, do the goddess pose to decelerate post-menopausal bone weakness! Participating in yoga eases loneliness, enhances self-worth, and flourishes new friendships enabling group healing.

This union of the mind and body is brought about by the power of the breath (Pranayama), through various graded, breathing exercises, significantly boosting lung capacity and promoting improved breathing habits!

Rates of subjective improvement for each of the 16 specific problem areas.
Yoga is included within the VHA Whole Health Systems Veteran’s Medical Benefits Package since May 2017. The VA endorses the safety and beneficial effects and strongly recommends Yoga Therapy as an appropriate component of healthcare for Veterans.

You are as young as your spine is flexible!
You, alone, are responsible for your own health! Take charge now!
Join the WE Impact Yoga Therapy for Mind, Body, Soul!