About Chris Eder

Chris Eder is a 23-year Air Force veteran. Chris is a Yoga Alliance registered Vinyasa/Hatha Interdisciplinary Yoga Instructor. His yoga journey began in 1999 after he encountered the joys of a pinched sciatic nerve, and a diagnosis of Adult ADD. A friend introduced him to yoga as an alternative to pain pills and other meds. He was hooked instantly as a student. During a 2007 deployment to Baghdad Iraq with the Air Force, Chris began teaching a morning sunrise yoga class five days a week. Upon returning to Italy for his follow-on assignment, Chris attended a yoga training and began teaching Vinyasa & Hatha inspired classes. He also taught yoga to Wounded Warriors returning from combat action as part of the Warrior Resiliency Program. Chris has PTSD, tumors on his thalamus, and memory issues…but refuses to stop living life. Currently, he works with Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans, blogs for WarRetreat, & Save A Warrior and raises awareness about Veterans with PTSD by making mala beads for MalaforVets.

Georgia Tech To Hold Job Placement Event for Savannah Area Vets

Hire HeroGeorgia Tech will hold a job placement event for Veterans and people transitioning out of the military.  It will take place  December 16 at 2pm at the Georgia Tech Savannah campus and is sponsored by the university’s Veterans Education, Training and Transition program. CLICK for more info.

Registration Opens for the 2014 Face of America Ride from Washington to Gettysburg

Team-Navy-Gadson-Finish-1024x717Calling all DC-Metro (and beyond) Veteran riders! This ride takes place in April.

World T.E.A.M. Sports’ popular Face of America bicycle and hand cycle ride from Washington to Gettysburg opened registration today for teams and individuals participating in the inclusive April 25-27, 2014 event.

Able-bodied civilians, active duty and retired military cyclists ride with disabled veterans from all service branches, beginning at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and concluding at the historic battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Face of America is fully supported for participants of all abilities, leisurely traveling 110 miles in two days, with an overnight stay in Frederick, Maryland. Experienced riders can select one or both 100 kilometer loop rides from Gettysburg on Saturday and Sunday. All participants receive a commemorative jersey at on-site registration, along with a gala dinner and a celebratory outdoor lunch in Gettysburg at the Sunday afternoon conclusion.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1634727#ixzz2nMhal1WD

WarRetreat’s “Great Big Book of Everything” Giving Edition

Are you looking for a fantastic way to thank a Veteran, but don’t really know how?  Many people stop at saying they “Thanked a Vet.”  However, here at WarRetreat…we work with and have relationships with several non-profit organizations that support veterans with anything from yoga and meditation to adaptive sports…and just about everything in between.  Getting veterans to move is a key component to their general health.  Here are a few of our favorite non-profits you might want to consider “giving” to.

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The GiveBack Yoga Foundation has a simple goal…To bring our Yoga For Veterans Toolkits, developed by expert teachers with years of experience in working with soldiers with post-traumatic stress, to at least 10,000 veterans across the country. To help make that happen, they are currently hosting a crowdfunding campaign to bring yoga toolkits to 2,000 veterans by the end of the year? If you haven’t, we hope you’ll check it out – when you donate $10 or more through December 31st, we’ll send you a gift of thanks! 

Major-Missy-MeditationChoose from goodies like download links for guided meditations, inspirational books about the power of yoga, or a one-on-one session with Mindful Yoga Therapy founder Suzanne Manafort. Or join Give Back Yoga’s trauma-sensitive teacher training at Sedona Yoga Festival in February, while helping us to fund yoga toolkits for over 60 vets and service members. Some of our “thank you” gifts are limited, so act now. With your help, we can share the healing practice of yoga and mindfulness with veterans who are recovering from trauma. 

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Outward Bound Veterans just published their 2014 course schedule for veterans and have over 600 slots for veterans and active duty soldiers on courses all over the country. They help returning service members and recent veterans readjust to life at home through powerful wilderness courses that draw on the healing benefit of teamwork and challenge through use of the natural world. In the military many veterans experienced courage, and camaraderie  while deployed. Outward Bound gives veterans and service members the opportunity to re-experience these strengths in themselves in a different context, thus helping them to transition back to civilian life. All courses are fully-funded including travel to and from the course of their choice.
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Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation (WWIA) provides world class outdoor adventures to assist with the mental and spiritual healing of Combat Wounded Purple Hear Recipients.  WWIA takes small groups of heroes out for  long weekends as a way to help them re-integrate back into a community,  increase their self-reliance and self-confidence, form peer to peer relationships and enjoy the wonderful aspects of the great outdoors -all in concert with a cadre of expert sportsmen who share the same values and ethos of the Heroes they support.
Right now, Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation is participating in the “CrowdRise Holiday Challenge” starting RIGHT NOW! It is a fundraising contest where WWIA keeps all the money raised, but also gets to compete with other participants for the possibility of winning even more money and exposure through contests held within the challenge. How can you help?

Click HERE to donate!   Be sure to make a comment under “donor comments” and share with others about why you love WWIA.

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Help Our Wounded (HOW) is here to serve as a mentor, support system and knowledgeable resource to caregivers and wounded veterans.  HOW provides accurate and actionable information and guidance based on the collective experience of those who have already worked within the system for many years and know where to go, what to do, who to ask and HOW to ask.
Founded by Rosie Babin in 2009, Help Our Wounded’s mission is to help severely wounded service members, and those who care for them, by providing direct aid, resources and support – unique to their needs.  While there are many resources for caregivers, the needs of those caring for the wounded veterans are unique and more complex. HOW has helped me out (Chris E.) three times.  Rosie has always been very kind and generous.  She is an ANGEL.
YOU can help them out many different ways.
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Mindful Yoga Therapy has a multi-pronged approach to helping Veterans.  First, they provide clinically tested programs for Veterans in several in-resident Veteran Affairs programs.  Secondly, they have resources available to Veterans…specifically their “new and improved” practice guide. This guide is a collection of simple but effective yoga practices developed by the authors through practical and clinical experience working with veterans coping with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psycho-emotional stress. MYT also provides training to yoga instructors to prepare them with the tools they need to work with Veterans with PTSD.  Lastly, they provide scholarships to Veterans who are interested in becoming Yoga instructors.
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Save A Warrior uses safe, innovative and evidenced-based resiliency programs, we offer an alternative to suicide so that returning veterans may thrive. Save A Warrior™ embraces our returning veterans in a healthy and nurturing environment that stimulates growth beyond any program available.

We can only help with your support; and we thank you for partnering in fellowship to bring returning veterans all the way home.

Through your generous donations, we team with evidence-based and innovative resiliency-training service professionals, clinicians and licensed practitioners who provide the following:

  • The Warrior Meditation Project™ shown to heighten cognitive function and promote a “threshold” experience
  • Art of mindful living activities to target core issues of post-traumatic stress
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  • Equine Assisted Therapy and Wild Horse gentling
  • Self-motivation strategies to inspire and create a “life worth living”
  • Leadership, Behavioral-typing and Team Building Rope(s) Course
  • Continued engagement and mentoring through community-based programs and veterans outreach
Every returning veteran who completes our training has the fighting chance against becoming another suicide tragedy. But we need your help to keep returning veterans on the road to recovery… make your pledge today to Save A Warrior™ .
ParadoxSports-vectorFinalParadox Sports offers veteran-specific mountaineering trips. This past year, we did Mt. Rainer, the Grand Teton and Yosemite National Park. In 2014, we plan to expand to five events. Our first 

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veteran climb was Wyoming’s Grand Teton on Sept. 11, 2012. This was spearheaded by Executive Director Timmy O’Neill and Exum Mountain Guide Mike Kirby, an experienced Special Ops Army Ranger who served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. After leaving the military in 2011, Kirby was involved in an avalanche which caused the eventual amputation of part of his frostbitten right foot. Since then, he has guided dozens of wounded veterans up mountains across the US. Most recently, Kirby joined two other injured veterans to successfully make the first all-veteran adaptive ascent of El Capitan with Paradox Sports on Sept. 11, 2013.
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Yoga Across America’s initiative, “Yoga for American Soldiers,” is saving lives and healing the wounds our soldiers are returning home with from war. YAA is sharing yoga, meditation and breathing exercises to active duty soldiers and veterans. We are reaching out to all branches of the military, teaching yoga to hundreds of troops.
“Yoga gave me faith that my body has more power than I believed it had.It gives me freedom to believe in myself,” states Tim Taylor, Army Specialist and Wounded Warrior, Afghanistan.
Soldiers are experiencing healing, inspiration and possibility through practicing yoga with YAA. They tell us they enjoy the practice and would like more yoga in their lives.
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BOOTSTRAP is a ten-week home-based program to help service members and veterans heal from post-traumatic stress and other chronic stress conditions. Combining the best of modern science with the ancient wisdom of yoga, BOOTSTRAP has been proven effective in less than an hour a day of use. Best of all, BOOTSTRAP is free of charge to troops and veterans in need. Learn more atwww.bootstrapUSA.com.
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MalaforVets is Chris Eder’s (WarRetreat Staff Member) Seva Project to raise money for Veteran Yoga projects like: Mindful Yoga Therapy for Vets, Save A Warrior Project, and the Give Back Yoga Foundation.  Chris is a certified Vinyasa and Hatha Interdisciplinary yoga instructor.  He is the Marketing Director for Mindful Yoga Therapy for Vets, a VYP Ambassador, Sivana Ambassador, and is currently working on his 500RYT.  He also has PTSD and A.D.D.
All November long MalaforVets is running a fundraiser suggesting you give back to Veterans wh

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o have already given so much to you.  They will donate $5 per Warrior Mala bead sold to Mindful Yoga Therapy. PLUS…all of the Warrior Malas sold will go to a Veteran currently in one of MYT’s yoga programs.  BUT WAIT…it gets better.  For every Warrior mala you buy…your name will be put into a drawing to win a Support Precedes Action Mala bead.

My Insane Life as a Marine Wife

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“Before PTSD took control of our lives, my husband used to make me laugh all the time with the hilarious random things he would say and do. He was a very fun and playful Dad to our 3 children and I used to love to watch him play with them.” – Rebecca M.

My Insane Life as a Marine Wife: A Conversation with the Founder of an Online Support Network

What would you do if the man you loved, the man you wanted to grow old with, the man who made you laugh, who made you smile, who made you feel special…changed?  By change I mean, “very empty, angry, depressed, explosive, and rather unpredictable.”  The man you knew like the back of your hand…now a shell of his former self.  What if…you add three young kids to this equation: 7, 5, and 3 1/2.  Not old enough to emotionally understand why “Daddy is sick!”  Too young to digest the daily and nightly chaos.  You and you alone left to mend their emotional wounds, while trying to maintain a healthy and stable environment for them. What would you do?

Too often in the military families…the answer is GET THE HELL OUT!  I’m not here to debate what is right or wrong in situations like this…as I’m not a licensed marriage counselor.  My name is Chris E. and I’m a 23 year Air Force veteran.  I’ve witnessed families like this and have mentored warriors in these situations. I’m also aware there are environments where safety is a concern.  In those cases…yeah…run don’t walk.  However, I do know first hand that leaving is sometimes the “easier” thing to do.

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Military families are “STRONG” by nature, design, and necessity.  I firmly believe having been retired now for four months and staying home with my wife…that her job is way more tough than mine ever was.  I would suggest, Rebecca’s job is tougher times infinity!

“Roughly a year after he returned from his deployment to Afghanistan is when my husband’s PTSD started to become a major problem.  He returned home in February 2011 and in February 2012, things began to go downhill very quickly.  It’s been a major uphill climb from there trying to pick up the broken pieces and do our best to stay together as a couple and as a family.”

Multiple deployments, long hours…and kids…let alone three kids under 10 can take its toll on anyone. Add to this, a special needs child.  Her youngest has Sensory Processing Disorder and high-functioning Autism.  Rebecca truly has the “warrior ethos” instilled.  Maybe because she married a Marine, or maybe because that’s just who she is.  She did not run.  Instead, she has hunkered down.  Drawing experience from each “battle” she faced to develop new or updated TTPs.  Her husband, a Marine Staff Sergeant has been through what I call the PTSD gauntlet.  He’s done an intensive six-week outpatient PTSD therapy, group therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure Therapy, and medications.  He is currently on a high dose of an anti-depressant and a mood stabilizer.  Often times, finding the right meds, combo of meds, and dosage can be deadly. It is no walk in the park subjecting your body to these powerful “Black Box” meds.  “Finding the right dosage was difficult, I do believe the medication has really helped my husband better control some of his symptoms.  The therapy has also been a major necessity in helping him work through some of his inner demons.  My husband still has a long way to go, but has also come a long way from the person he was at the beginning of this.”

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“My husband very rarely discusses any information about his PTSD. I do wish that he would because communication is the key to understanding. I do know and understand though that my husband never intentionally wants to cause me any emotional pain or anguish.”

Rebecca took to the internet learning all she could about PTSD.  She educated herself and sharpened her “battlefield skills.”  She began journaling.  “In the beginning of my struggles with my husband’s PTSD, a neighbor suggested I use a journal to help me “get things out”.  I used it daily to help vent about the things I was going through or to say the things I needed to say to my husband but couldn’t.”   With the help of her husband’s PTSD Therapist and PTSD Psychologist (who happened to be husband and wife) Rebecca began the first PTSD Spouse Support Group for the Wounded Warrior Battalion and associated mental health at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, CA.   Still wanting to do more…she started a Facebook page called, My Insane Life as a Marine Wife.

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“I started My Insane Life as a Marine Wife because I wanted to reach out to other spouses of Veterans with PTSD.  When my husband’s PTSD initially took over and wreaked havoc on our lives, I felt very alone and isolated.  There was no one I could talk to who understood what I was going through.  I searched for support groups for spouses of Veterans with PTSD, but there just weren’t any in my area.”  She says that the page has helped her immensely by having others to talk to who actually understand what she is going through.  Collectively, these spouses take comfort in knowing that they are not alone in battling this beast known as PTSD.

Rebecca is no miracle worker…and she doesn’t “go it alone!”  (Neither should you)  She has a strong support group of family members, fellow spouses and loyal friends who have been by her side unconditionally.  She says their love and support have helped her through the darkest of hours.  Now, with the help of social media, she wants to be that “loyal friend” for others.   “I’m just really hoping that others will be able to take comfort in knowing that they are not alone while battling their loved one’s PTSD.  I want them to have a place to go to vent, ask questions or get advice from other spouses, to get resources and information on PTSD, and provide a place for spouses where others truly understand what they are going through. ”   The facebook page has only been live for a short while and Rebecca has shared some intimate details of this not so glamourous life.  She plans on sharing everything she can (within reason of course) in hopes it will help another spouse.

CLICK HERE for additional resources.

How Yoga Helps Vets – A Response from a 23yr Air Force Veteran & Yogi

Dear Mystery Veteran,

My name is MSgt Chris Eder…and I’m just shy of 23 years active duty service to THE United States of America as a Combat Correspondent in the Air Force.  Since 9/11, I have found myself in some interesting places.  Sometimes by myself, sometimes with people I had never met, and sometimes with people who I love(d) as a brother or a sister.  I want to make it perfectly clear that anything I say is not meant to “one-up you,” try to be better than you, or try to compare to you.  Rather, I want to provide perspective and insight as we both wear combat boots and serve as warriors & protectors of the USA!

I know exactly how it feels not to sleep.  For many years, I just told people I was a “morning” person.  That was maybe less than half true…as I really do enjoy being up before anyone else.  Hot showers, fresh coffee, etc.  But the truth was…I couldn’t sleep.  I used to spend as many hours as possible working.  People thought it was because I was a hard worker.  OK…they were right!  However, as I have learned over the years…working hard is also an unhealthy coping mechanism.  Avoidance!  It is hard to tell something is wrong when you continue to out-perform everyone!

Al Rasheed 1In 2003, I found myself traveling throughout Iraq by any means possible.  I was equipped with a 9mm, no ammunition, a flak vest I think my dad wore in Vietnam, and my camera gear. For a short period of time, I called the Al Rasheed Hotel home.  That is until Oct 26, 2003 when insurgents attacked it with 68mm and 88mm rockets.  Under Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz was in the hotel that night. Check the story out, Sec Wolfowitz is wearing my flak vest! Things got worse after my second deployment to Baghdad during the “Surge of Operations.”  Damn…the insurgents had our location dialed in!  20+ attacks a day seemed “normal” for so long.

So…why yoga?  Hell…why not?  What is the worst thing that can happen?  I started yoga back in 1999 because of a pinched sciatic nerve and a diagnosis of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.  I instantly was hooked! During my 2007 deployment to Iraq, I was actually teaching 5-6 classes a week.  Anyone…and I mean anyone… can do yoga.  I introduce to you Lieutenant Colonel Tom Bryant.

Lieutenant Colonel Bryant, US Army is my friend/mentor and hands down the best person to ever come from Alabama. LTC Bryant is the last person I thought would try yoga.  He is a typical Southern conservative, “Roll Tide!”-preaching, family loving, church going, hunting/fishing military kind of guy.  He would often poke fun of me when we worked together about how I taught and practiced yoga.  Tom recently sent me a Facebook message:

“Are you sitting down? You should.

Last night I did yoga. And since I’m deployed, you know I wasn’t drunk or high. It lasted 20 minutes, was cal

yoga-meme-300x187led relaxation yoga or something like that. Really just seemed like a lot of stretching to me, but this Japanese guy with a ponytail on the video kept talking about “seeing your breathing” and “step mindfully downward on your heels” and a bunch of other platitudinal crap I didn’t understand. But the stretching stuff was cool.”

Even this staunch yoga antagonist found yoga to be at the very least, “cool!”  There is a good chance what you think Yoga is…is not at all what it really is.  Yoga can be whatever you want it to be…killer workout, awesome stretch, or a time to reset and restore your batteries.  For me, I *try* to start every day with 15-30 minutes of meditation and yoga.  I also end each day with some grounding breath work to help clear and prepare my mind for sleep.  Trust me…I know it sounds fruity, crazy, or even esoteric…but IT WORKS!  I’ve been practicing yoga since 1999 and teaching since 2007.  I often wonder where I would be today without yoga.  I see my brothers and sisters-in-arms who share *our* nightmares, panic attacks, alertness, relationship issues, memory problems…the list can go on forever.  I know just how tough my life is…and wonder how much tougher and often debilitating it would be without yoga in my life.

Lastly, I’d like for you to stop breathing for 20 minutes. What…you can’t?  You think you might die.  I agree!  So…public math here…if I can increase both the quality and quantity of your breath…would that not increase the quality and quantity of your life?  Check out this free sample from Suzanne Manafort: 

 

Why Yoga?

{VIRIN}People often ask me why I “do” yoga.  This is usually followed by: jokes about guys doing yoga, questions about levitation, and references to contortion.  Once the laughter settles, I’ll answer in one of several ways.  If the question  comes from a guy or group of guys who are joking about “guys doing yoga,”  I say something about how horrible it is to be the only guy in a room full of women.  That usually gets their attention.  If the question comes from an overly-muscled person who questions the “manliness” of yoga, I usually respond in the form of an asana.  Usually eka pada koundinyasana that transitions into a variation of Mayurasana.

When the question comes from someone who really wants to know “why I do yoga,” I will sit down and tell them about my yoga journey.

Invisible and Unnoticed

                                                                                                                                                                        

SFC Petry“Troops with visible injuries receive accolades, but those with unseen wounds are ignored.” – SFC Leroy Petry

SFC Leroy Petry, Medal of Honor recipient made this comment at the Warrior Resiliency Conference in Washington DC March 3 2012.  I was in the audience.  He also said servicemembers with internal injuries and psychological damage suffer the most, not necessarily those with external wounds.  Adding that when he walks into a room, his robotic hand clearly identifies him as an injured Warrior…however, when an injured Warrior has an invisible wound…they go unnoticed. Petry is referring to PTSD…an invisible wound!

These Warriors often go unnoticed forever.  Too many of them go unnoticed and without help.  An often lethal combination. I am not a doctor, nor can I say for sure that the Marine in the video that went viral recently has the said “invisible” wound.  I can say, that as someone with PTSD, and who has researched PTSD… uncontrolled fits of rage like that captured in this video is one of many horrible side-effects of PTSD.

I by no way condone the actions of the Marine in this video clip.  I use this clip not to bring discredit upon him, nor the Marine Corps.  Rather, to illustrate a point about this horrible side-effect of war!  Once again, I am not a doctor and have no proof the Marine has PTSD.

I want to share with a conversation I had with a fellow servicemember and co-worker.  We saw this video posted on Facebook.  My co-worker instantly noticed how inappropriate his conduct was and how it shines a bad light on all Marines.  I offered the possibility that maybe he had PTSD.  Quickly, my co-worker came back with how sick and tired he was about people throwing around PTSD…almost as if it was a “get out of jail free pass.”  He continued that it seems “everyone has PTSD.”  The kicker for me was when he said, “just because he has PTSD doesn’t give him the right to act like this.  He should know better!  He needs to control it.”

Really?  Control it?  You mean like turn it on and off like a light switch?  That’s like telling a person with autism to stop acting autistic and be normal…or telling a person with Alzheimer’s to stop faking that they can’t remember things.

When SFC Petry walks into a room with a silvery-purple hand, few people would ask him to dribble a basketball with his prosthetic.  For the record…he probably could.  We see this false hand and instantly make assumptions based on shared and accepted etiquette.  Therein lies the problem!  The Marine in the video, the co-worker who sits next to you, or the person you saw last week acting like a complete “ass”  at the restaurant potentially all have something in common.  They don’t have a high-tech hand, leg, or arm identifying them as “wounded.”

I wish it was possible to turn off my PTSD.  I often times wish I was invisible and unnoticed.  Sadly, that is not the case.  Having PTSD is not a carte blanche for me or any other Warrior with this “invisible” wound to act inappropriately. It is more a reason instead of an excuse.

It is difficult for those who suffer from this unwanted alignment to thwart or hold back emotional outbursts.  I asked my current “happy Doctor,” Dr. Sheela Reddy about what she thought about these “outbursts.”

“People do not have the empathy for someone who is having a “moment” .. and they don’t see the “guilt” felt afterward.  193_Sheela_101108If it were a switch you could turn off you would because the person engaging in the behavior that’s hurtful is also in pain but people only see the anger or “bad behavior” and not the pain within.”

So…the next time you see someone acting poorly…I ask you to pause…just for a moment.  Thanks.

Finding Your Seat – The Journey of a Veteran & Yogi with PTSD

IMAG0782-1My memory is fleeting.  I’m often startled by my actions.  My doctor is either the world’s worst doctor, or the most brilliant doctor.  I sweat…and sweat…and sweat.  Sleeping with a mouth piece sucks.  Enough about the easy things in my life…let’s dive into what is really tough about living with PTSD. 

I’m a 23-year (and counting) Air Force Veteran….Combat Correspondent…aka…Broadcast Journalist.  My list of ailments reads like a novel: A.D.D, PTSD, Sleep Apnea, Anxiety, and General Depression.  Add to this list, the fact for some reason my memory is deteriorating.  If that were not enough, the doctors have found a growth on my brain.  The good news is…it is NOT cancer.  That really is all I have to go on right now.  I absolutely hate taking medications because my body general has a tough time with them.  With that said, I firmly understand there is a time and place for meds…and currently, I’m taking several.  Did I mention…I’m also a yoga instructor?  Yep!

I began practicing yoga back in 1999.  Got hooked!  Was able to come of all of my A.D.D. meds for several years because of my practice.  In 2007, I began teaching yoga while deployed to Baghdad.  Then, I transferred to Vicenza Italy where I taught yoga twice a week.  I’ve studied and trained with experts in areas like: trauma sensitive yoga, veteran’s yoga, yoga for vets with PTSD, mindfulness, and meditation.  I’ve spent the past six years leading veteran-based (to include spouses) yoga and mindfulness classes.  I know this must sound like a lot of, “I I I,” and it should!  It is for effect.

“I” got so wrapped up in being a “care-provider,” that I neglected to notice, “I” needed some of the medicine I was sharing with others.  To make matters worse, I am no longer comfortable in my own seat.  In other words, when I lead a yoga practice, or meditation practice, everything is great.  However, when alone, with my thoughts…it is often a nightmare.

I struggle every day with so many different what if, or how questions.  How could I have PTSD?  I’m not an infantryman!  Why is my meditation not as good as it used to be?  Why can’t I sit?  I have the secret decoder ring…now damn it…let me meditate!  I know the benefits of food, movement, and mindfulness. (meditation/prayer) So…why can’t I just “let-go,” (aparigraha) use my military and yoga discipline, (tapas) and do what I know needs to be done?

The answer is much simpler than the solution.  Acceptance or Contentment! (Santosha)  I can’t find my “seat” because I’m still looking for my old seat.  Turns out, that’s not mine anymore.  Clearly, I’m not the same person I once was.  Simple public math would suggest that my “seat” isn’t the same either.  Well…that was easy!

The problem is…my wounds and injuries are all invisible.  When I look at myself in the mirror (minus the wrinkles, less hair etc…) I still see a very able person who rightly should be able to do anything…to include sit in “MY SEAT!”  How can I accept and be content when I know I’m able?  I found my answer in two different locations.

I have a friend who is wildly successful as a military photojournalist. I heard him talking to a class of brand new photojournalists about a mistake he made as a young photojournalist.  Turns out, JT was constantly in “friendly” completion with Preston a fellow photojournalist.  Preston aspired to be just like Joe McNally a very famous photographer.  JT tried to emulate Preston’s photos which emulated McNally’s. It wasn’t until a training seminar when JT saw the work of another photojournalist, Mary Calvert.  JT liked her work…realized he needed not to worry about what Preston was doing, rather find out what was so special about himself.  Once JT figured out his “seat” when it comes to taking pictures, he began to start taking some incredible images.  Today, he is the reigning Military Photojournalist of the Year…an award he has won an unprecedented seven times.

Sadly, the second place I found my answer…was from me!  As a yoga instructor, I find myself spending a lot of time doing three things.  1) I’m always looking for new ways to say the same thing in as many different ways as possible.  It is important to me to be able to relate to my students. I know that everyone has different points of reference, so I need to be able to figure out what their reference point is…and use my words to connect with them.  2) I also make sure everyone knows that everybody’s body is different.  There is no need to worry about what the yogi to your left or right looks like in pose, or what they can do that is better than you!  3) I’m always encouraging my students to be the best “YOU” they can be.  Did you see the answer?  It’s there.

My body is not your body.  Hell…my body really is no longer the body I had before.  There is no need for me…or YOU to beat ourselves up to be someone, or something we no longer are.  Just be the best “YOU” you can be.  That “You,” might change…and that’s OK…adjust and find your new “seat.”

 

SFHW Yoga Warrior T-Shirt

Our friends at Semper Fidelis Health and Wellness have partnered up with Sivana to form a Community Partnership.  Thanks to this community partnership they now have a Warrior-inspired shirt.6005war_earth_moss_1024x1024 This an original designed Tee and a portion of the proceeds will go to support SFHW training and education programs.The Yoga Warrior logo represents the battle we all must fight to gain our liberation and find our true inner strength. SivanaClothing-009_1024x1024The Om at the center represents our victory in this great battle. The Yoga Warrior Organic Tee is part of Sivana’s eco-friendly Alternative Earth Collection.

3501_heather_for_warrior_cropped_1024x1024Click the links to purchase:

Short Sleeve Men’s Shirt

Long Sleeve Men’s Shirt

Flowy Racerback Women’s Tank