Tag Archives: Semper Fidelis Health and Wellness

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

Marines Are Leaders: Now and Forever

By Elijah Sacra, Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness

Wounded Warrior Battalion East, Camp Lejeune, April 2012 with the SFHW Warrior Wellness Team: Cheryl LeClair, Clarissa Kussin, Elijah Sacra

The following are the words of the Bravo Company Commander following the SFHW Warrior Wellness Team successful implementation of the FIRST & ONLY Juicing | Smoothie |Super Food Program for Wounded Warriors at Wounded Warrior BN East Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.  United States Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment.

“Marine are leaders, and if you are going to continue to lead in life-you need to learn how to lead yourself.  Just like you stepped off the bus onto the yellow footprints at Parris Island into the unknown and made  a transformation in 12 weeks, you can do the same thing with your own Health & Wellness.  It starts with a single step and your results will spread out to Corps, your family, friends and the community in a ripple effect.  We are all here because of my favorite four-letter word.  It starts with an “L” and ends with an “E” and that’s LOVE. 

We didn’t become a Marine because we have to-we did it for LOVE of Country.  The bonds that are forged while serving in the Corps will last forever.  In the Marine Corps the motto Semper Fidelis  describes and signifies our dedication, loyalty and commitment to each other, our organization, and our “Corps and Country” even after leaving service. “For those that understand, no explanation is necessary.” “For those that do not understand, no explanation is possible.” 

THE THREE CORPS VALUES: Honor, Courage, Commitment make up the bedrock of the character of each of you. They are the foundation of the Corps. These three values, handed down from generation to generation, have made you the Warrior Elite and the Tip of the Spear in the defense of our great Nation.“  

So, today we want to thank you folks from Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness for taking the time to come here today and being at the Tip of the Spear in creating a Paradigm Shift in Wounded Warrior Education & Training.  We Salute You.

 DEFINITION OF AN INDIVIDUAL LIVING A WELLNESS BASED LIFE: Individuals who live life as fully as possible within the seven dimensions of wellness (emotional, environmental, vocational, physical, spiritual, intellectual, social). Regardless of socioeconomic status or health conditions, individuals can live useful, active and productive lives. GET SOME WELLNESS. http://www.sfhw.org/

War Trophy Photos in the LA Times & Dr. Phil: A Very Busy Week

By now, the outrage and uproar over the photos submitted by a soldier to the L.A. Times of a biometrics team posing with self-blown up Taliban is complete. Those of us with loved ones in the game are upset, but for different reasons than those who use it for their own political posturing to prove  war is bad, and the world should hold hands like a CocaCola commercial. I wish. But frankly, there has never been a time without war. As long as there are bad guys leading selfish lives, who resort to violence to get what they want, there will always be war. I’m sorry. I know you might be a yoga type, and my point of view upsets you. But I’m a yoga-doer too, and war is a circumstance I accept, and try to find the most acceptable means to work around it to help others.

So I guess it falls to this small yoga blog to point something out amid the clamor. Those who took the photos were coping with the reality of the gristly job they were assigned. In the middle of sorting through body parts to get fingerprints or retina scans, someone broke up the tension with the snap of a photo. Their job was awful. I’m sure they never imaged they’d be doing this when they volunteered to serve.  This stuff stays with them their entire lives. It wakes them up, it fills them with anxiety.  For those who can’t move past the trauma, it greatly alters whether or not they can live in the present.

Everyone into boat pose! MSgt Chris Eder and former Marine Elijah Sacra lead a group at Fort Meade.

In the roar of the outrage, let me point out the discussion we’re most interested in is the one people are ignoring. WarRetreat is interested in how these men and women, who have such difficult jobs, cope in the long term with the side effects of traumatic stress. So, while everyone is adjusting their cajones, why don’t they just shut up and help by learning everything they can about PTSD and how movement and breath combined with the traditional talk therapy (and if need be medication) can yield better results. Let’s not lose site of the aftermath, and what we can do for this generation of warriors that wasn’t done in the past to help them regain both breath and life.

 As my friend Warrior Life Coach, Beau Chatham pointed out in a Facebook post with a quote from the great one:

“Don’t criticize what you don’t understand, son. You never walked in that man’s shoes.” – Elvis Presley

The shoes they walked in: After a MASCAL, my husband's Forward Surgical Team would take their shoes outside to have them powerwashed. Elvis was right.

I also want to bring up the Dr. Phil show and an episode called “From Heroes to Monsters?” It was an unfortunate use of hyperbole, cooked up by his attention getting staff. Stereotyping those who suffer from PTSD only helps drive them under the rug away from getting help. And we’re not only talking about those who serve in the military –we’re talking about the other 90% of the population who also suffer from PTSD.

Just for the record: people with PTSD by and large do not go out and commit violent crimes against others. On the contrary, most with PTSD suffer alone with greatly diminished lives. They are afraid to admit their issues for fear of looking weak, or worse, because they just don’t want to inconvenience anyone. Even if they are suffering a lot. In addition, someone with PTSD may behave monstrously at times, however, this does not make them a monster. Rather, they are a human being living in intense emotional pain. If you want more on PTSD, swing by our Essential Reading list up on the top menu, compiled by our own Jillian Hunsanger. 

Dr. Phil and his staff were irresponsible by taking a cheap shot in order to gain an audience. I’ll let Uncle Jimbo of the blog Blackfive wrap it up.

Teaching Yoga To 100 Sailors & Airmen at Fort Meade

Part 2: How A Day of Nutrition and Yoga Was Brought to Fort Meade

Editors note: On Thursday, we shared news of the Part One, Warrior Resiliency Day at Fort Meade. Roughly 100 Sailor and Airmen attended the event, which showcased nutrition, exercise and stress reduction. Elijah Sacra of Semper Fidelis Health and Wellness spoke about making wise eating choices, and five yoga instructors helped lead a class of mostly first timers through a class. Manduka and Jade Yoga donated mats. But that’s only part of the story. Chris Eder tells us how the event came into being.

Photos and article by Chris Eder, Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness

Elijah Sacra talks about making good food choices

One of my Air Force sergeants asked if I would bake some cookies for the students.  I initially said yes!  My daughter loves to make peanut butter cookies and I thought it was a win-win situation.  As I was talking with my wife and daughter about it, my wife reminded me about the Sex in the City episode where Samantha says something about how cancer patients don’t want “fucking” cookies!   My wife said that she thought cookies are so old-fashioned.  She suggested I do something better for them. 

That is when I came up with, “Cookies are good, but wellness is forever!”  I decided to try and pull a team of health professionals together.  I knew I wanted to leverage a few of my professional friendships and exploit my talents…baking not being one of them!  I put together a team of yogis who are as diverse as the military.  I wanted to show there is no “one” body type that does or can do yoga.

We started off with a guided meditation that focused on lifting the weight of military gear (flak vests etc).  Then we moved to breath work and focused on “slowing down.”  We spent time on what I call “positive time” in the parasympathetic nervous system.  It was very interesting to watch them attempt to “stop” and be present for the first time.  Next we worked on a gently grounding flow, moved into Sury Namaskar A, followed by core integration.  It was interesting also to see the looks on their faces when presented with familiar core exercises that were so tough to do.  We ended with a cool down and then savasana.  I think EVERYONE loved that the most.

I think the event was a complete success.  I have had several of them approach me at work asking questions about yoga…and about nutrition.

Everyone into boat pose!

Warrior Resilliency Day: A Success At Fort Meade

Photos and article by Chris Eder, Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness

This is part one of two day series. Watch video here at DVIDS.

Click to be taken to video

The Event

Assembling. Everyone is curious and excited.

Roughly 100 Airmen and Sailors attended the Warrior Resiliency Day at the McGill training center, Fort George G. Meade Maryland on December 16th.  (They are all attending school at the Defense Information School.)  The goal of the event was to provide natural solutions to reduce stress during the holidays.  Many of these technical school students are away from home for the first time…whats worse…it’s the holidays.  The majority of the students have never practiced yoga before.

Semper Fidelis Health and Wellness, an organization dedicated to helping wounded warrior, active duty and veterans find stress reduction through diet and exercise at a wellness fair with an acupuncturist, herbalist, and yoga teachers. SFHW set up a booth to disperse information.  Our guest speaker, Dr. Tom Robertson spoke exclusively about stress, how it affects mind, body and spirit, and ways to reduce the various types.  Elijah talked about nutrition and making good food choices, as well as exercising.  A team of five yoga instructors led the yoga portion of the program.
On the mat! Doing boat pose.

The group was curious, but also willing to participate. We had a teacher, but also on hand were others to assist in positioning and alignment. Having people to assist correctly helps people gain confidence when trying yoga for the first time.


Manduka and Jade donated yoga mats for this event and have offered to help support future SFHW events.

Tomorrow: Chris explains how this event came into being.

My Yoga Space: Lean & Spare for this Marine

It’s time for My Yoga Space.  This week it’s Semper Fidelis Health and Wellness co-founder Elijah Sacra.

It didn’t take long for me to figure this out:  the reason everyone loves the U.S. Marines Corps is that the Marines love the Marines more than anyone else. Furthermore, it was explained to me that there isn’t such a thing as a former Marine because a Marine will always be a Marine. Only in conversations about Marines would one use the word Marines more than once in a single sentence. I’m sure they’ve even managed to get it into the Chicago Manual of Style, the AP Guide, and no doubt it’s in the MLA.

 A Marine will do things check into the Dulles Hotel in Washington DC for the Marine Corps marathon and bring super human bionic food. Eat this, yoga community:

Elijah makes a variety of good food choices.

They are team and other-person oriented. Marines will run the Marine Corps Marathon for forty eight Marines who died in combat, not only starting as a platoon, but will carry the flag, and finish as one too:

Carrying the flag for their fallen brothers, the 3/25 carried the flat the entire Marine Corps Marathon Route, ran together, and finished together.
They finished. Elijah Sacra (in sunglasses), Alvaro Matta, Patrick G. Young Jr., Michael Kiniry, Lisa Julian Galford, Joe Miranda, Al Akeroyd and Oscar Aguilera.

And one Marine, Elijah Sacra, had a lean, spare, stripped down yoga space.

“SFHW-FWD: IMPROVISE , ADAPT, OVERCOME-YOGA AT THE DULLES.” -Elijah Sacra, Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness

To me, this is the most beautiful space I will ever share on this blog.

My Yoga Space is a weekly feature on the WarRetreat blog. If you have a home yoga space, and you are actively committed to working with veterans, active duty and the war community, send your picture along with a blurb to WarRetreat at gmail dot com.