Fire a weapon, crawl through an obstacle course, work with veterans with combat injuries. Experience a tiny bit of the world a combat veteran has gone through. This is open to all certified yoga teachers who aren’t afraid of a challenge, and want to gain a hands-on experience in a safe environment for a one-day workshop in New Hampshire.
“The Combat Connection presents Yoga For Vets 101 a one day/12 hour intensive training course for yoga teachers with no military experience who want to teach combat vets,in a clinical or studio environment. Becky Blais and Paul Zipes, both military veterans and certified yoga teachers will teach this one day/12 hour course designed to immerse all certified yoga teachers in a safe, supportive and high intensity environment.”
This is an experiential boot camp for certified yoga teachers that will give them a hands-on experience into the world of a combat veteran. What does a weapon feel like? What have they heard? Learn a proven methodology of what works for veterans Boost your confidence and skill set by receiving information on military protocol, and terminology. Learn the 3 most common injuries of combat veterans, and what’s hands “off” and hands “on” when teaching. Paul and Becky have thoughtfully put this workshop together…. don’t miss it!
Connected Warriors has turned out to be the sprinting leader in helping certified yoga teachers gain the skill set to learn the best practices for teaching yoga for veterans. Thanks to an energetic and visionary group of founding veterans, board of directors and supporters, they fundraise enough to be able to offer this 1-day course and related support FREE to certified yoga teachers. Now they’re coming west to Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
Led by a team of Vietnam veterans, along with founder Judy Weaver, Connected Warriors has inspired many teachers to throw open their doors in their communities to offer free classes for veterans. The following is their upcoming schedule for free teacher trainings:
CONNECTED WARRIORS TEACHER TRAINING (See contact at each below):
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.
A growth in the number of veterans reached through yoga has been noted by the non profit group, Connected Warriors. The organization offers an organized effort to provide free teacher training to yoga teachers who want to work with veterans, classes for veterans and family members in the communities where they live. Just recently, Judy Weaver, founder of Connected Warriors, shared these numbers:
“I just have to share the Connected Warriors attendance record for the month of January 2013. We served 792 service members. Number of Family Members: 636, Number of New Members: 137. We are assisting veterans and their family members in 9 states in 35 weekly classes. Thank you to everyone who supports our mission to provide free yoga, you rock.”
In addition, Connected Warriors was invited to the recent Challenge America Military Opportunities to introduce the benefits of yoga to military families and veterans. The event was held at the Dallas Cowboys stadium, and in attendance were over a thousand veterans and families who heard lectures and interviews by Dr. Oz. In addition, the attendees took part in seminars, symposiums and guest speakers from area veteran and family support organizations that addressed an array of transitional issues, including mental health, employment, housing and family issues. The evening entertainment was a concert from Vince Gill and Amy and Amy Grant and also Jenny Gill.
Connected Warriors brought staff in from Florida, and also worked with its local Texas yoga studio affiliates and set up a yoga area in the stadium. They worked with many military family members and veterans, who were encouraged to seek them out in the community and come to the Connected Warriors classes locally.
To find out more about, request training, take a class from Connected Warriors and make a donation, go to: Connected Warriors, and also follow them on Facebook. To find out more about upcoming CAMO events, please click on the photo on the left.
This weekend, Rodney Yee used his influence to urge both the medical field and the yoga community to utilize one another’s resources. He called for more yoga in hospitals, and suggested that teachers get as much specialized training as possible. The program he and his wife, Colleen Saidman are part of is one that teaches doctors and nurses a simple sequence of yoga, breathing and meditation through Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program.
Jillian and I have been talking to yoga teachers here on the West Coast. There’s no shortage of wanting to help veterans, there’s just an issue of how to find students. For all the training one has, outreach is a completely separate component. Outreach is 99% of the success of your efforts. I don’t think it’s enough to train people and then expect anyone to make inroads without either the insight or support.
The veteran community is not an unapproachable group requiring a million secret handshakes. But you do have to take the time to get to know them, and your efforts must be consistent. In other words, if you want to reach out to veterans, you will have to go to them. In every community there are groups –who either support the troops or are veterans. It’s a matter of contacting them and having a two-way conversation. You just can’t email them a press release, you really have to reach out to them, invite them to your studio –for a free class, and take it from there. And guess what? There is no reason to rush. Figure out what they need, and go from there.
Jillian and I have spoken about one of the roadblocks we see trauma sensitive yoga training programs falling into: thinking that their program is so special, it has to be at a retreat center that not only is difficult to get to, but means someone has to take several days off work to attend, plus spend quite a bit of money on airfare and lodging. With all the training programs taking place on the East Coast, this does not bode well for those on the West Coast.
Let me put it to you this way: most of the yoga teachers we know are itinerant. They teach at lots of places everyday, cobbling together a way to make a living. In Southern California, some drive 50-100 miles a day between home, and all the studios. Many live paycheck to paycheck. They simply can’t afford to take that time off in order to attend a training far away. Rent, car payments, groceries, and kids have to be fed.
The program that can get around this will be the one that most people end up taking. Smart will be the program that is scheduled over a weekend at a large hotel near an airport, hospital, wellness center, or college in a major metropolitan area that most can just commute to. Or the program that makes large portions of their program available as an online course –not necessarily a conference call. (This would involve developing a curriculum much like universities or the military already has, and uses for thousands each day). Why should a trauma sensitive yoga teacher’s training course be any different from a continuing education course held at a major medical center for nurses, physicians and other allied health professionals?
There are lots of issues to ponder. Yee’s call for more training and inclusion into medical institutions brings up other issues such as requirements and certification. What will be the new mold for a yoga teacher wishing to join a treatment team? Will a 200 or 500 yoga teacher training certificate be enough? Will hospitals show preference in hiring a yoga teacher who has a master’s degree in counseling, social work, kinesiology, or psychology? Who will set the requirements? Will states insist on credentialing and require a license to teach yoga in a clinical setting? Will yoga be billable under the ICD-9 (or ICD-10)?
Lastly, and perhaps more importantly, what will this mean for the yoga teacher who just wants to help local veterans at their studio (this will probably constitute the largest group). Is the yoga community heading toward more regulation or are we heading toward more sharing of information along social networks for free or a low cost?
It’s an exciting time. We look forward to an ongoing dialog.