Some of the best efforts come from small places. But small places doesn’t mean small minds, rather the contrary. Great people with good intentions, many who are or become experts in their fields cobble together programs that help our veterans. The only thing they lack is a constant flow of money to support what they want to offer.
I point this out because the government funds many programs through the VA –many worthy, some experimental, a few that don’t work at all. But take in comparison the millions spent on some programs vs the paltry amount spent on yoga. At most, yoga isn’t even offered. Things are changing, but more needs to be done to encourage the VAs to go with the existing data (as more comes in) and delve into ways to heal our veterans in more ways than just medication and talk therapy, which are not addressing how trauma affects the body. Taking an integrated approach to help dispel the emotional stress held in the muscle through movement, breath and mindfulness will go a long way toward helping along them heal. I like yoga. But if others don’t, there’s an array of sports -competitive and not, and creative endeavors that will help them greatly with stress reduction.
In some VAs yoga teachers are paid, while in others they are doing for free –which isn’t right. Even if each VA hired two yoga teachers at each medical center, it would still cost less than the millions of dollars a year it was spending on Microsoft licenses. One thing for sure, they need to get rid of the deer-in-headlights look when it comes to answering: “And how much is the job paying?” Because in all honesty, it means the institution doesn’t understand that some yoga teachers bring advanced degrees, many years of study in yoga, and they’re doing this to make a living and advance the cause of wellness. It’s not just a feel-good job.
Over the next two days, I’ll be sharing two projects that need your help. Both run by veterans doing great things.