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In this five-part series, author Bhava Ram explores the insight the film American Sniper offers into the yoga of war, the mind of a veteran, and the practices crucial to finding the next mission.
The fundamental and ancient practices of yoga offer a pathway to deep healing and are powerfully relevant for our modern, fast-paced, stressful lives. Cutting-edge science and Deepak Chopra call this “Self-Directed Biological Transformation.” We create our destiny as a result of our choices. If we gently and consistently embrace the teachings of yoga, healing happens. Self-empowerment and profound stress reduction are attainable even for those facing traumatic stress, such as our veterans coping with PTSD.
Mindful Motion for Vets
In teaching yoga to vets I aim to facilitate the transition from the fight-or-flight reaction of the stress response to the rest-and-restore state of the parasympathetic nervous system, where true healing begins. The first cornerstone of my teaching, the Silent “I AM” Mantra, is a powerful yoga practice for the agitated mind. The second is Mindful Breathing, tied to the mantra. Here is the third:
Consciousness is tied to life force (prana). Both are tied to motion and stillness. Linking the breath with movement not only enhances the effects of the asanas but creates a meditation in motion that anchors you fully into the present moment.
- Link the silent mantra “I AM” to the flow of the breath.
- Let the breath, each inhalation and exhalation, initiate the body’s movement into postures and out of them, through various flows and transitions.
- Let awareness move inward. Let it take you into the deeper spaces of the heart and promote a synergistic blend of power and peace.
With time, resiliency and healing become possible. Destinies can change. I AM.
Bhava Ram is founder of the Warriors for Healing Foundation, in partnership with Yoga Journal LIVE!, Give Back Yoga, and Connected Warriors. He is also author of the highly acclaimed memoir, Warrior Pose, How Yoga Literally Saved My Life, which is scheduled to be released as a feature film in 2016.