Tag Archives: semperfidelishealthandwellness

2013 Marine Corps Marathon: Honoring the 3 BN/ 25th Marines

This weekend, TEAM Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness will be running in the Marine Corps Marathon on October 27, 2013. Their participation will be to Honor and Remember 46 Marines and 2 Navy Corpsman from 3rd BN 25th Marines who made the Ultimate Sacrifice during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005.

Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness is a resource for emotional, spiritual, and physical wellness & fitness. They maintain an active involvement with the Marines at the Wounded Warrior Battalion East, Walter Reed Bethesda Military Medical Center, and veterans across the country. Founded by veterans for veterans, Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness is one of the few organizations dedicated to nutrition. Follow them on their active Facebook page!

From: Elijah Sacra, Veteran, USMC, Founder & Director of Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness


Honor the fallen, and empower the wounded by donating to Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness!

We are seeking your contribution for ONE REASON: To provide health and wellness solutions for Wounded, Ill and Injured service members and veterans who have sacrificed minds, bodies, and lives for our freedom and safety.

Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness has committed to use 100% of all donations received for the direct treatment and assistance of each person we work with.

We propose there is no better investment than honoring, empowering, and motivating those we serve in their own health and wellness.  Please join us as we continue to advance our mission of providing FREE health and wellness services to our nation’s Wounded, Ill and Injured Warriors and their Caregivers.  Together we can help meet the needs of those we serve by providing unique, direct programs and services to help them achieve a life filled with health and wellness.

Our Online donation page is at:  http://2013MCM.kintera.org/SFHW

Find our website at: WWW.SFHW.ORG  and Follow us on Facebook!

 IMG_5549“After being blown up in Afghanistan by an IED, Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness provided me with Holistic Nutrition, Rehabilitative Exercise, and Mindful Yoga Therapy. These tools created a paradigm shift in my life and gave me the opportunity to reintegrate and successfully stay in the fight. There’s nothing else I’d rather do. I love being a Marine!”

-Cpl. Michael Politowicz-USMC, Combat Wounded Purple Heart Recipient


Wisdom: The Sound Application of Knowledge

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion” -The Dalai Lama

By CJ Keller
Veteran, USMC

Wisdom is the sound application of knowledge.  It is a deep understanding and realization of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to apply judgments and actions that serve optimal outcomes.

How can we cultivate or tap into wisdom through yoga?  Wisdom often requires control of one’s emotional reactions and control of the senses, so that universal principles of reason and morality prevail to determine our actions.  Our practice, whether in a physical posture, breath control or meditation, facilitates presence and grounding in the moment.  This grounding enables a yogi to draw upon judgement from a more objective place, where the mind is calm and freed from emotional barriers of stress and anxiety.  A quiet mind can listen to the authentic inner voice that we all posses. Ultimately, this is the voice in line with your values and this is the voice that guides your actions.

CJ Keller, USMC, Retired
CJ Keller, Veteran, USMC

The mindful movement, breathing and relaxation techniques used in SFHW’s yoga teachings, allow us to be lifted from the fog of our senses and from our selfish and often misguided desires.  As brothers and sisters bound by the honor and pride of military service, we can use our unique knowledge from training and combat, combined with a focused mind to make better, wiser choices for good in the world.  Mindful yoga fosters connection, sharpens intellect, and strengthens knowledge of self and others. This wisdom is a compass for our actions, leading us to happiness and compassion for ourselves and those we serve.

Press Release: Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness and The Veterans Yoga Project Form A New Collaborative

By adding the evidence based protocols in the Veterans Yoga Project to our protocols we will be able to deliver the best possible tools for living to our nation’s warriors. -Elijah Sacra, SFH&W

BALTIMORE, MD – April 24, 2012

Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness (SFHW) announces a strategic partnership with the Veterans Yoga Project. The Veterans Yoga Project is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide education and support for the mindful use of therapeutic yoga practices as an aid in the recovery process from PTSD and other psychological distress among US Veterans, their families, and their communities.  Their training curriculum will provide SFHW Yoga teachers with the tools for facilitating evidence based protocols.

A Special thanks to Suzanne Manafort and Dr. Dan Libby from the Veterans Yoga Project:

Suzanne Manafort, ERYT-500, Co-director of Newington Yoga Center is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. She studied at Yoga Center Amherst with Patty Townsend, completing her 200 hour and 500 hour programs in Embodyoga®. She also completed 200 hour and 500 hour programs with Beryl Bender Birch and a teacher training with David Swenson.  Most recently, Suzanne has deepened her meditation practice, studying with Pandit Rajmani Tigunait at the Himalayan Institute in The Living Tantra Program.  Suzanne has been teaching yoga to Veterans coping with combat-related PTSD in a PTSD Residential Rehabilitation Program for several years and also teaches groups for women veterans in an outpatient PTSD program.  In 2009, she was designated a Wells Fargo Second Half Champion℠ for her work with Veterans.  Suzanne also serves on the board of directors of the Give Back Yoga Foundation.  She can be contacted at Suzanne@veteransyogaproject.org

Dr. Daniel J. Libby is a licensed clinical psychologist, licensed massage therapist, and RYT-200 yoga teacher.  As part of a Postdoctoral Fellowship with the VA’s Mental Illness Research and Education Clinical Center, he treats Veterans suffering from PTSD and other trauma-related psychiatric disorders at the Connecticut VA Healthcare System, West Haven using psychotherapy and yoga.   As part of the Evaluation Division of the National Center for PTSD, he has conducted research documenting the use of yoga and other complementary and alternative medicine practices in the VA Specialized PTSD Treatment programs, and is lead investigator for a pilot study examining the effects of Mindful Yoga Therapy on symptoms in OEF/OIF Veterans with PTSD. Daniel has recently completed the 200-hour embodyoga™ Teacher Training and serves as President of the Board of Directors of the Feathered Pipe Foundation, the nonprofit educational foundation and yoga retreat center.  Reach out to him at dan@veteransyogaproject.org.

At Semper Fidelis Health and Wellness, they are dedicated to improving the lives of all their members through health & wellness, with a special concern for those who suffer from wounds and injuries, post traumatic stress disorder and other combat related illnesses, chronic pain, disease, obesity and addiction.  In addition to volunteering as SFHW’s Development Director SFHW Yoga for Vets and Staff Yoga Director, Captain CJ Keller and Msgt. Chris Eder will be serving as Veterans Yoga Project Ambassadors as a way to move our joint Mission forward.  

Captain CJ Keller USMCR, RYT, began studying yoga and meditation in 2009 when he met the co-founder of the non-profit organization Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness (SFHW).  In 2011, he earned his 200-hour certification through Charm City Yoga and immediately began teaching free weekly Yoga For Veterans class in Baltimore, Maryland.  In addition, he teaches a weekly class for Veterans in treatment for PTSD at the Baltimore VA.  Drawing from his experience in the Marines and as an occupational therapy graduate student at Towson University, CJ empowers fellow Veterans to overcome the stress and adversities caused by military life, facilitating return of function and meaningful activity.  His teaching emphasizes the current methodologies and protocol developed by Veterans Yoga Project.  CJ is currently serving on the Board of Directors for SFHW and is the Development Director for their yoga program in seven cities. 

Msgt. Chris Eder USAF is a certified Vinyasa/Hatha Interdisciplinary Yoga Instructor.  Chris’ 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 Yoga Fit 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 is a graduate of Frog Lotus Yoga’s 200YTT specializing in Vinyasa and Hatha Interdisciplinary classes.   Chris’ classes are fun but focused.  Chris has an infectious energy and mixes traditional yoga music with mainstream music. His intelligent sequencing and motivation make for an inspiring yoga experience.  Chris is a 21-year Air Force veteran, still serving since August 1990.  When not teaching yoga, he is teaching aspiring military broadcast journalists.  Chris is currently serving as Staff Yoga Director of Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness.

Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness Founder & Executive Director and US Marine Corps Veteran Elijah Sacra said:  We appreciate the motivation and dedication delivered by the those at the Veterans Yoga Project, Captain CJ Keller and Msgt Chris Eder.  We would not be able to move our mission forward without having them as key assets on the SFHW team.  Those that we serve persevere in the face of insurmountable odds and are extremely dedicated in overcoming mental and physical obstacles.  By adding the evidence based protocols in the Veterans Yoga Project to our protocols we will be able to deliver the best possible tools for living to our nation’s warriors. We propose that an investment in an individual’s personal wellness affects the very core of their being and will spread itself outwards in a ripple effect that will directly influence friends, family and the community at large.  Our classes, events and workshops foster a culture of personal empowerment, education and training”

About Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness (http://www.sfhw.org)

Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness is a 501(c) 3 organization that provides Integrative Health and Wellness Solutions that serve Our Nation’s Wounded Warriors, Active Duty & Reserve Military, Veterans, First Responders and their families.

For more information or to make secure online donations, visit: http://sfhw.kintera.org

About the Veterans Yoga Project

The Veterans Yoga Project is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide education and support for the mindful use of therapeutic yoga practices as an aid in the recovery process from PTSD and other psychological distress among US Veterans, their families, and their communities.

For more information or to make secure online donations, visit http://www.veteransyogaproject.org