By Sean Weir
Helpers Need Help Too
I served three active years in the Royal Air Force and since, I’ve spent twenty years as a firefighter, both in the UK and here in the States. Due to severe physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual experiences I had while in the services, I found myself in a very dark place. I faced medical retirement due to struggles with acute physical and mental trauma.
Eastern and Western Approaches to Healing Trauma
We all have a first experience when discovering the powers of the yogic practice. I was fortunate enough to go to the Uniform Services Program, a program that assists military veterans and first responders who struggle with mental health, PTSD, addiction, and pain. This retreat used a combination of western methods, alongside Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), 12-Step Peer Support, Eastern mindfulness practices, Qi Gong meditation, Yoga Nidra, and an acute connection to nature and community. This experience opened my world to the possibilities of healing and growth.
Yoga Nidra for Sleep
I found that Yoga Nidra was particularly effective at alleviating the sleep issues (Adrenalized Sleep) I struggled with—a practice which I now believe to be the jewel of yoga practices. After I discovered the benefits of yoga, I was driven to learn more, and to pass this experience onto others who have suffered the repercussions of trauma, as well as those who are simply seeking a practice. Because I am drawn to yoga service, I have trained in yoga both at the teacher/instructor level.
Sharing the Therapeutic Effects of Yoga
I am currently training to become a Certified Yoga Therapist, Mindful Outdoor Guide, as well as a Yoga of 12-Step Recovery (Y12SR) Leader. I have had the honor of bringing the practice to veterans through mindfulness practices in the outdoors; from taking a group of veterans for a stretch and stroll on a Connecticut state beach, to working with groups from the Bronx VA in and around Central Park, NYC.
I also serve as the Veterans Responder Outreach Coordinator for Mindful Yoga Therapy (MYT). I am grateful for the wisdom of Suzanne Manafort, a yoga therapist and the founder of MYT, who has been provided an invaluable platform for me to share the program’s benefits.