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Quality of Life: The Ultimate Fix

I've been dabbling in yoga for decades. I took classes at the university and then local establishments. With the onset of of apps, I found lots of free yoga apps. When in Afghanistan, a small group of us made scheduled time for the practice a couple times a week. On a dirty waiting room floor of the Baghram hospital clinic, we pushed the old chairs to the side and tried to sweep away the sand that never seems to go away in the desert.

Yoga mats were donated or people had shipped their own from the states.

With deployments, there are always people coming and going. Our yoga teacher, who I believe was an Air Force Sargent from the mid-west, was on her way back to the states, so I was urged to take over. I was so nervous. I was going to mess up, I had never taught before! Thankfully, when the hospital wifi was working, I had an app to carry me through. I realized that the stress that we were enduring was taking a toll on our mental and physical self. Yoga was an escape from what we were living day in and day out in that desert.

Yoga has been around for 3000 years. Sanskrit root is "yuj", meaning union, join, direct and the concentrate one's attention. Therapeutic effects lower heart rate and blood pressure with direct calming effect. Fitness through mind-body work that focuses on awareness of self, energy, and breath in combination with muscular body work. Yoga practice is unique for every individual. This is the reason for props like blocks (or books stacked) to help holding the posture at your comfort. Yoga enables a healing process from WITHIN our body, rather from an outside source. Stress related illnesses and one's health all benefit from this mind-body medicine that integrates mental, spiritual, and physical components. Just start a google search "yoga for-----", you will see the vast searches relating to the power of what yoga can do for you. A few common mental health therapeutic effects are to reduce depression, anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, anger, and aggression. Other therapeutic effects are to alleviate pain, help skin, reduce blood pressure, and constipation.

A great read is "The Body Keeps the Score" by Bessel van der Kolk. The focus of the book is about traumas and how our body keeps the score by creating emotional and physical ailments related to what we experienced. One of the researched, tired and true ways to alleviate those ailments is through the practice of regular yoga.

Wherever you are in this journey of life, make sure to take time out for you. Ask for help. Talk to someone. Reach out. Help is available with the suicide and crisis hotline, dial 988 from your phone. Seek out treatment with complementary therapies such as yoga and meditation. Encourage life long healing with slowing of the breath and focusing on the present. Namaste.

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