Today’s blog posting was submitted by Denise Olsen, owner of Strong and Soulful Yoga. Denise is a yoga therapist that works with the Family Reintegration Program. The program supports the spouses, children and parents of service members who are struggling with PTSD. She shares how yoga is used to help families recover from these wounds:
“to join,” and “to unite.” Marriage is
also a joining or a union. Both words
conjure up thoughts of sacredness, commitment, joy and fulfillment.
marriage and the family. The scars of
war are not only found amongst those that have served, they are also evident in
all those that love them. The Family Reintegration Program managed by Hope For The Warriors® and HolliswoodHospital address these issues in a comprehensive and holistic manner. Traditional treatments are enhanced by
methods such as yoga therapy.
emotional release and relaxation, all accomplished through the breath and the
movement of the body. When working with
a group of spouses, my focus is solely on encouraging self-care and
mindfulness. It is a time for honoring
yourself – your body, your mind, your spirit. Spouses who are also in the role
of caretaker tend to put their own needs last.
you don’t have. Self-care is vital.”
others that are experiencing the same fears, angers and frustrations as
encouraged through shared movement. The poses often require simultaneous but
opposing movement accomplished only through communication and trust. Synchronicity in the breath is also utilized
as a tool for connecting on an unspoken level.
vulnerability, for insecurity to be replaced by trust,
participate in a period of connection. It is a shared, non-threatening
experience with everyone on the same level – again fostering a feeling of
support and teamwork. In all scenarios, it is intimate and powerful.
take a physical toll. The body is
tense. The mind is racing. The heart wavers from heaviness to the
excitement and hope for a new normal.
When we join together on our yoga mats – we are able to release this and
refill. We are able to become centered
and focused on the possibilities rather than the problems. We become co-creators in our lives, not just
spectators waiting for someone else to make the first move.
walked a day in the shoes of a military spouse/family member,
ground in loss.”
because the person who returns is not the same.
Establishing a “new normal” is often accompanied by fear, anger and
resentment which then cause guilt. I
have felt all of these things. I share
my story of being a 9/11 widow. I speak openly about it and encourage each
person to do the same.
force. As we exhale, we release emotions
and create space in our mind and hearts. When we inhale, we are filled with
positive energy and hope. Focusing on
the breath allows us to be present. Anxiety is created when we spend too much
time in the past or worry too much about the future.
opening. I focus on the areas most
affected by stress – the neck, shoulders, hips and heart. Opening these areas and releasing the
physical tension leads to an emotional release as well. We end the class with meditation and
aromatherapy. The silence and stillness
allow the healing energy to be absorbed in the physical body and for the mind
to rest. Often, participants express a
feeling of relief, relaxation and of being re-energized. The feeling of chaos is lifted.
result in the ability to process clearly what has already been given in
previous therapy sessions and creates space for forward movement in the
effective. It offers a sense that there
is a solution, there is a way to a brighter future, there is HOPE.