A yoga class may seem like an odd fit at a military university, but a class at Norwich University may be a winning formula in the battle against Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The weight room is almost always packed at Norwich University. But just down the hall, a new-age physical and mental exercise is beginning to draw a crowd.
"I say, 'I'm doing yoga.' People are like, 'you're doing yoga?' And they get a little laugh out of it, and I'm like, 'yeah, I love yoga'" said D'Lontae Sewell a Sophomore Cadet at Norwich. "I've had a couple of people try it with me and they're like, 'you're right, yoga's pretty sweet.'"
Sewell began taking yoga classes about a year-and-a-half ago. He's one of about two dozen students who consistently find time for the mat. Will Feuhr, another Sophomore Cadet says the class's spiritual side appeals to him, and friendly ribbing from peers doesn't deter him from attending.
"People pretty much give each other flak for everything here, so I would say I get no more than normal for yoga," he said.
Instructor Lauren Walker offers beginner and advanced classes for students and a separate class for those who have returned from war zones. "Some of the things, the techniques that we do here can really help pre and post," she said.
But she says veterans are less likely to attend. She says teaching cadets and civilians will help them when they're confronted by real-world challenges following graduation. "It just keeps my stress levels low and just lets me clear my mind easier," Sewell said.
"I know that when they take it out into the battlefield, of life or war, that it's really going to serve them," Walker said.
She says yoga stress management techniques can help combat the effects of PTSD. She hopes to begin an on-campus study next year to see if yoga classes taken before deployment could reduce the prevalence of the syndrome. "Nothing, nothing, nowhere, no one, that I've taught has been as rewarding as teaching here," Walker said.
Walker calls it an honor to serve those who are willing to risk their lives for their country.
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:57 AM EDT2013-05-23 13:57:59 GMT
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