Dragonfly Yoga Studio of Fredericksburg and the studio's nonprofit arm--Dragonfly Yoga Project--will be offering a free At Ease Warriors class starting Tuesday, February 11, from 7-8 p.m. for veterans, active-duty service members, and their families.
There's no sign-up required—just show up at 810 Caroline St. in downtown Fredericksburg. Bring a yoga mat if you have one; Dragonfly has plenty of extras at the studio if you don't.
The class, will be held every other Tuesday, is being taught by Becca Lusk Childress, an Army veteran and former deputy sheriff. Becca joined the Marine Corps in 2008 as a civilian working in a counseling program at Quantico, and she is certified in Yoga for Warriors and Yoga for Mental Healthy through the yoga training organization YogaFit.
More and more research has come out in recent years about the benefits of yoga for veterans and others suffering from the traumas of deployment—and about the benefits to family members who are often struggling as well. Yoga can lower anxiety, improve anger management skills, help develop self-calming ability, enhance a sense of awareness in the present moment, and reconnect the mind and body.
People suffering from post-traumatic stress are stuck in fight or flight mode, with the sympathetic nervous system constantly activated and the body producing high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The brain, in effect, says the trauma a person experienced is still going on because of this dysfunction of the stress response system, and a number of health problems present themselves as a result of being in this state of hyper-arousal.
The integrative aspects of yoga—pranayama, asanas, meditation, savasana, even some chanting of mantras—can help activate the parasympathetic nervous system releasing neurotransmitters to calm the body and the mind—reducing blood pressure, slowing the heart and breathing rates, helping us bring our mental focus into the present.