I recently came across a Huffington Post article written by David Wood describing the practice of yoga and its benefits for service members in the military struggling with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When asked to describe effective treatments for PTSD, I often speak about Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). So, it's no surprise that this concept of treating PTSD with yoga caught my attention.
A technique called Integrative Restoration (iRest) Yoga Nidra is highlighted as an effective practice for reducing symptoms related to PTSD as well as sleep problems, depression, chronic pain and chemical dependency. iRest Yoga Nidra uses deep relaxation and meditative inquiry. Individuals practicing this form of yoga learn how to manage their memories, thoughts and emotions related to their war experiences. According to the article, service members report reduction in anxiety, sleep problems and in general a greater understanding of their current mental health stressors.
The yoga practice that was developed out of a Pentagon-funded program for wounded warriors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is being used at many military bases and medical centers. I imagine that there will be more research regarding its efficacy in the coming years. Definitely something to learn more about!
The Warriors at Ease website is a good resource to find out more information regarding how yoga is being used in the military community. There is a "Teacher Locator" for service members to find instructors in their area and information on how individuals interested in teaching can become certified.