Dan is the Founder and Executive Director of the Veterans Yoga Project. He is a licensed clinical psychologist and a yoga instructor.
Both the US Army Surgeon-General and Defense Centers of Excellence confirmed Yoga as a complementary practice for the treatment of PTSD, and for the management of chronic pain in military and veteran settings.
As a Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University’s Department of Psychiatry and the VA’s Mental Illness Research and Education Clinical Center, Dan conducted research and has taught mindfulness and yoga to hundreds of veterans and active-duty service members. Daniel is currently a psychologist at the Oakland Vet Center in Alameda, California, where he teaches several yoga and meditation classes weekly.
Veterans Yoga Project www.veteransyogaproject.org, is an educational and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of military veterans. Working in partnership with veterans, active-duty military personnel, student veterans organizations, and other non-profit organizations, Veterans Yoga Project supports recovery and promotes resilience among veterans, their families, and their communities.
Outline of our discussion in this podcast
The Veterans Yoga Project does their work in 3 primary ways
- Educate Yoga teachers and healthcare professionals to teach yoga and mindfulness to veterans
- Organized yoga and meditation retreats for veterans and their families
- Work with community-based veteran programs. Provide resources for veterans to practice yoga.
www.veteransyogaproject.org has free online yoga practices – in the “Resources for Veterans Section” – there are several breathing exercises, series of yoga postures (asana), and three yoga Nidra audio sessions.
Dan found that there was a real demand for yoga at VA centers, yet there was a lack of trained staff to teach yoga.
Researched Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: People with PTSD have less parasympathetic nervous system response. PTSD is a mind-body disordered. So the treatment for PTSD is enhanced with remedies that engage the body through breathing and movement, in addition, to talking therapies. A very interesting observation considering Dan Libby is a trained psychologist.
Mindful Resilience yoga practice is a collection of mind-body practices that veterans use to help them breathe easy, focus clearly, move freely, rest deeply and remember gratitude
Five Tools of Mindful Resilience
- Breathing – Simple techniques that enhance the relaxation response.
- Meditation – Awareness exercises that enhance focus and concentration. Taught to veterans as help to think more clearly, and be more aware of the stimulus and stress on their body
- Mindful Movement – Deliberate exercises that bring the body through its natural range of motion to enhance strength and flexibility. The exercise part of yoga that includes stretching, bending, twisting and isometrics and calisthenic-like motions.
- Guided Rest – Guided meditation practices that lead to deep and profound relaxation and rest in the mind and body.
- Gratitude – Simple exercises in being thankful for what is right.
Dan Libby thinks of the veteran success stories as a great blessing. He shares several of these stories about veterans benefiting from yoga and moving more freely, without pain, sleeping without nightmares, reducing stress and healing relationships.
Dan is grateful to see the veterans benefiting from yoga, and has often heard, “yoga has saved my life.”
From post-traumatic stress to post-traumatic growth!
http://www.veteransyogaproject.org/ has a section entitled, “Yoga is for Sissies.” We discuss the stigma that follows yoga around that yoga is for tree-hugging hippies or slim young women in tight, colorful pants. There are several examples of top athletes who practice yoga in this section.
Not everyone is aware of the many Top Pro-Athletes and CEOs who practice yoga, in addition, see our Yogapilots article with what these people are saying about yoga!
Veterans and people, in general, do not want to take pills. The success and the positive stories will often include gratitude to yoga because works without pills.
Dan comments we brush our teeth every day because we want to take care of our teeth, and it makes sense to care for your mind and body through meditation and yoga.
Veteran Yoga Project has a special fundraiser for Memorial Day. The proceeds go to fund the yoga classes provided to veterans, to train the yoga teachers and to organize healing retreats for veterans and their families.
ABOUT LIGHT A CANDLE MEMORIAL DAY 2016
As Memorial Day approaches, it is time to pause, take a breath and consider the true meaning of this holiday. Memorial Day represents one day of national awareness and reverence, honoring those Americans who died while defending our Nation and serving our country. Veterans Yoga Project will commemorate with a Memorial Day Meditation. We invite you to join us by making a donation and dedication to Light-A-Candle in a simple and unifying way. At our Memorial Day Peaceful Warrior in Action Meditation at MAYfest in Cold Spring, NY, a votive candle will be lit for each dedication made.
Please go to http://www.veteransyogaproject.org/ to learn more, learn to teach Mindful Resilience, volunteer or make a contribution.