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Yoga brings peace to injured Soldiers

Camp Murray event provides lifelong tools

DOWNWARD DOG: Soldiers from the Community Based Warrior Transition Unit practice yoga and meditation during a class session Tuesday at Camp Murray with Gina Garcia, Founder of Yoga Across America. Heather Short

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Soldiers from the Community Based Warrior Transition Unit (CBWTU) arrived to Camp Murray Tuesday night dressed in their physical training (PT) uniforms and prepared to participate in a much different kind of physical training. They were participating in a four-day conference not only to help Soldiers with their comprehensive transition plan but also to teach them the art of yoga and meditation. Yoga is a low impact sport that can benefit the recovery process for many different kinds of injuries, and not all injuries sustained by Soldiers can be seen with our eyes.

            Gina Garcia, founder and president of Yoga Across America, led the hour-long session with her soothing voice as she instructed Soldiers how to do different yoga poses. Her goal is to share yoga and meditation with Soldiers who have been physically injured or who may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

"For many Soldiers, this is their first experience with yoga," Garcia said. "Many of those same Soldiers tell us they find peace and are able to let go while practicing yoga."

Following the session, Soldiers were able to take home their provided yoga mats along with an instructional DVD.

"We are hoping to give the Soldiers a tool that they can use in their everyday lives," Garcia said.

            Capt. Jim Moran, who has been with the CBWTU for almost a year, sees the benefits in providing Soldiers with yoga and meditation skills.

"Yoga has been well-received in our past (conferences)," Moran said. "It has been beneficial in their recovery not only from physical injuries but also for PTSD."

While many injuries leave Soldiers unable to get out and run as part of physical fitness, yoga offers a way for Soldiers to keep fit while in the comfort of their own home. Many Soldiers suffer from PTSD and Garcia explained that meditation calms the nervous system, slows their heart rate and helps Soldiers relax.

"If a Soldier feels a bout with anxiety coming on, they can think back on the breathing skills they learn here to help them relax," Moran said.

Since yoga is low impact, it will not aggravate any physical injuries that a Soldier may have, she said. 

"Soldiers think that yoga is relatively easy but they find out how hard it is. But they also find out how powerful and refreshing it is," Garcia added.

For more information on Yoga Across America, please visit

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