The Military Outreach Program is an initiative with the primary objective to improve overall health and quality of life for marines, army, veterans and soldiers in the line of duty. Throughout this project, health is viewed holistically, addressing the mind, body, and energy concurrently.
Recent studies have shown that Yoga and Meditation are extremely effective in lowering symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and increasing focus. During the past nine years, over 2 million American soldiers have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.As many as several hundred thousand may now suffer from PTSD, say experts. Symptoms include anxiety, anger, depression, flashbacks and nightmares. More than 20 percent of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD, according to the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs
Kim Landmon, an Atlanta resident, shares her experience of her deployment of Afghanistan and how her yoga and mediation practice has impacted her mental and emotional health.
“I have been in the military (Navy Reserve) for 15 years. I have been mobilized to Active Duty twice, once to South Texas from 2004-2005, and then my deployment to Afghanistan in 2011.
I was first introduced to Isha by my Pilates teacher. I had tried to meditate before, but was never very successful. I just felt like I was looking for “something” in my life but I didn’t really know exactly what it was, and when she talked a little about meditation and her Guru I was very interested.
After taking Inner Engineering, I did see immediate results! My mind became much quieter, and I felt like I was looking at life around me differently. This is kind of funny to some people but it was great for me, my “hot flashes” improved a great deal.
Meditation became such an important part of my life that I tried very hard to continue my daily practice, even in the deployed environment. What I realized right away was that meditation helped me to maintain focus despite the physical and mental stress of working in a war zone.
While deployed in Afghanistan, I had to work to make time, and find the space for my Isha practice. Our living quarters were very tight and we worked 14 to 16 hours a day. We did have time to exercise most days, and I used part of that time to do my meditation. There were times that I just could not do it, but I worked hard to include it in my day even if it was at a very odd time.
Some of my fellow service members would ask me what I was doing, and I showed them the Isha website and explained a little about my practice and the impact it has on me. Since I have been home, I have shared the Isha Kriya online with a number of people that were deployed with me, so they can reap the same benefits.
Some of the long term changes in my thought and attitude I can see from meditation are that I feel that stress does not affect me as much now. I no longer feel that I have to try to be “good”. I think that I am more accepting of myself and others, and I don’t take myself so seriously anymore. I definitely see people differently, and their actions affect me less. I can be happy inside myself, no matter what is happening around me! My attitude toward death has changed as well, and I think of it more as a natural progression of life instead of an end. I think that I live life more fully now without so much fear about the future. ”