Blythewood, SC (WLTX) Yoga has many benefits, but studies also show that a yoga practice can help alleviate the symptoms of PTSD and traumatic brain injury. The Big Red Barn Retreat in Blythewood has yoga classes for veterans and their families for that very reason. They aim to help soldiers walk through their combat related issues and help prevent veteran suicides.
Veteran Adam Smith is very grateful for what he has found at the Big Red Barn Retreat. He tells News 19, "Ginger has saved my life more than one time. I've gone into crisis a few times and you know and had friends kill themselves, die otherwise." Smith served in the military for 13 years. He's medically retired now but the pain of what he has seen and gone through, lingers in his body and and his mind. He says, "Yoga actually treats the root cause of what's going on and I see the benefits immediately."
Physically he says has a better range of motion among other benefits. He says, "There is a reduction of the pain, the quieting of the anxiety. It really quiets the mind. The pain becomes more focal, instead of diffusely, 'My back hurts' now it's that herniation, that specific spot hurts. I can find the origin of the pain a little better."
Yoga teacher, Ginger Doughdy, says there is science behind using the breath and sound vibrations both of which she uses in her yoga classes. She says, "We stay focused on breathing every single class. So the breath is the most powerful experience of calming yourself down. At first it's a little awkward for people and then once they do it, they do feel a release. And they do feel a calmness that comes after we release the pressure that's inside."
Doughdy taylors her classes for injuries she knows her veterans have. She says, "We have classes for therapy. Then we have classes that are specific for brain injuries. Traumatic brain injury is something that I deal with a lot and we actually use a lot of ancient practices with using our voices as sound vibration."
Doughdy says in her classes for veterans and their families, they work from the ground up creating stability in practice and in life. She says, "Yoga truly is about the mind and it just happens to be in the body. So we enter the mind via the breath into the body. The breath is the bridge that brings one's awareness back into the place that we live."
Life presents both good and bad days. But when dealing with trauma the bad seem so much worse. Doughdy says Yoga helps create more of a balance. Doughdy says, "We learn to feel and sit with our pain. And when you feel and sit with your pain and you welcome pain, it's a practice of dissolving the pain. It loses its power."
And when that happens veterans in this class, like Adam, get theirs back. Smith says, "It's given me a sense of the future in the fact that I am still alive. When I say if it weren't for Ginger I wouldn't be here, I mean that. So its kept me here in this world and I'm glad for that."
Here is the schedule of Yoga Classes at The Big Red Barn Retreat.
Mondays - 9-10:30am - Yoga for service members/vets
Tuesdays - 6:00pm - Yoga Nidra for service members/vets
Thursday - 11am-12:30pm - Yoga for service members/vets
New - First Saturday of each month - 12pm - Yoga for service members/vets
These dates will be February 4th, March 4th, April 1rst, May 6th, June 3rd, July 1rst, August 5th, September 2nd, October 7th, November 4th, and December 2nd.
Yoga classes were made available for free to Veterans courtesy of the Dorothy Smith Foundation.