Monday, June 17, 2013

Yoga offers healing to wounded war fighters

Find what works for taking care of your mind, your body and your spirit. Keep looking until it all works together to help you heal.
Wounded veterans turn to yoga for strength and solace
At Naval Medical Center San Diego, amputees and trauma victims practice an ancient Hindu tradition. The military is increasingly using alternative therapies.
By Tony Perry
Los Angeles Times
June 16, 2013

SAN DIEGO — Army 1st Sgt. Chris Montera, who lost both legs above the knee and suffered third-degree burns over 60% of his body in a mortar attack in Afghanistan, is doing a headstand, guided by yoga instructor Sunny Keays.

"It takes a lot of pressure off my back and spine," said Montera, 33, who was on his fourth combat tour when he was hurt. "It helps with the pain."

Marine Sgt. James Bernard, 25, who returned from combat in Helmand province in Afghanistan with a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder, is going through a series of stretching, relaxing and breathing exercises nearby, under the gentle guidance of yoga instructor Barbara Lyon.

Bernard's wife, Keely, 25, said yoga is helping her husband regain the composure and self-confidence that he had before he went to war. She accompanies him to yoga classes at Naval Medical Center San Diego.

"He seems more aware now of who he is," she said.

To help military personnel overcome the physical and emotional wounds from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, hospitals run by the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs are increasingly turning to the ancient Hindu practice of yoga and other alternative therapies, including tai chi, transcendental meditation and Reiki.
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