Tag Archives: Paul Zipes

In Panama City: Veterans find community on stand up paddleboards

By Paul Zipes, US Navy Veteran, Founder of Yoga For Vets , yoga instructor for Stand Up Paddleboard for Vets

Panama City, FL. Saturday, July 21

Today was a great day. Six vets arrived in Panama City, Florida for Standup Paddleboard for Veterans (SUPV) first official class. The 8 hour course took place on the Panama City campus of Florida State University. Led by retired Navy SEAL Ed Naggiar, a group of men and a woman, all active duty learned what it takes to stand down, regroup and find a “new normal.”

Early on, I got to size them up and found that all seemed to be in great shape despite the fact that a few smoked cigarettes while waiting for the classroom to be unlocked. Ed started with a “lean into it” attitude and didn’t stop the whole day. You couldn’t help but feel motivated to try harder when listening to him. I want to say that the highlight was seeing everyone learn to paddleboard with none or very little experience, however, it was not the case. Two situations in particular stand out.

First was when I taught a yoga class on the paddleboards. If you don’t know already, yoga is more than just stretching, it is physically challenging and mentally tough too. As a yoga teacher I saw them try hard and fail to do certain yoga poses. Their failures resulted in a refreshing fall into the water and a quick smile on their faces! No worries! They knew in advance these yoga poses wouldn’t be easy. The second situation that stands out was when we were in the classroom learning about advancing our self goals. We were tasked with creating our own personal mission statements. After each of us spent time creating our mission statements, we shared them with our neighbors.

This turned out to be so much more than a lame self-improvement course. I am proud to be part of SUPV and look forward to teaching many more combat vets in the future as a part of SUPV.  Watch our video to see veterans in resting pose on paddle boards.

Special thanks to Hovie (http://www.hoviesup.com/) for the paddleboards.

Yoga For Vets asks Studios to donate on Veterans Day

Paul won't make you do this unless you really want to. We let him get away with it because he's a former Navy Diver.

This Veterans Day, November 11, the organization Yoga for Vets is inviting yoga studios across the nation to sign up with YFV, and hold a special class for veterans and pass the hat, or give a portion of the day’s receipts to Yoga For Vets.

The founder of Yoga For Vets, Paul Zipes, is having his  Veterans Day class at a local college near Panama City, FL. Part of the proceeds will go to the campus veterans group, the rest goes back to Yoga For Vets.

Yoga For Vets was started by Paul, a former Navy Diver who took a yoga class on a dare. Now a yoga teacher and the owner of a studio, he started YFV as a way to help honor the men and women who serve our country, and to say “Welcome home.”

Site for Paul's Veterans Day Class
Site for Paul's Veterans Day Class

Studio owners and teachers can sign up with Yoga For Vets to offer 4 free classes to Combat Veterans. “All I want is for yogis to say, “Welcome Home,” and for veterans to get a good night’s sleep,” says Paul. To date, over 300 studios nationwide have accepted this challenge. Yoga For Vets provides a listing on their site so veterans can find a studio in their community.

The organization leaves the business decisions to each studio. This gives studios the chance to network in their community with the active duty, reserves, National Guard, veterans and families in their community.  All YFV does is encourage yoga studio owners to begin a conversation.

Paul, surfing, because Navy Divers are just too cool.

Here are some places for yoga teachers and studio owners to reach out:

  1. National Guard Armories
  2. Armed Forces Reserves
  3. Local Active Duty Military Bases
  4. Veterans Centers
  5. Blue Star Family Groups
  6. Family Readiness Groups (on bases)
  7. University ROTC Battalions (Many of their soldiers and especially their leaders, have deployed).
  8. College Veterans Services Offices
  9. Local chapters of national organizations: IAVA, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Vets, Am-Vets, USO
  10. Local military support groups
  11. Alumni groups for military service academies (West Point, Annapolis, Air Force Academy)

There may not be a stampede at the door, but starting a conversation and building a relationship with the military community will guarantee a slow and steady flow over time.

In addition, if you’re a veteran, or friend, you can appeal to the yoga studio in your town.  Yoga is already being used at many military bases to reduce stress, and help alleviate symptoms of PTSD. You can approach local yoga studios about this opportunity, and ask then to give 4 free classes to veterans by signing up with Yoga For Vets.