Experienced health coaches walked injured veterans through a Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) yoga session involving long-held breaths and deep stretches, followed by teachings on the recovery benefits of a holistic lifestyle.
“I enjoyed the yoga session and learning different ways to heal and establish new coping skills,” said Geraldine Nelson, an Army veteran. “Plus, it was great meeting new warriors and reconnecting with others that I’ve seen at other Wounded Warrior Project gatherings. It was a great mix.”
“I feel that I’m always open to learning new things,” said Army veteran Novy Geraldo. “The yoga was peaceful, and the staff was very accommodating, but my favorite part of the program was sampling the food and getting new recipes.”
Warriors tasted and received recipes for a variety of healthy foods, including homemade butternut squash soup (with optional add-ins of green onions, parsley, and steamed kale), vegetarian chili, fresh veggies with hummus, and gluten-free blueberry cobbler for dessert.
“I always wanted to try yoga and learn some relaxation techniques,” said Army veteran Maxine Crockett. “The other warriors made me feel welcomed because I was there by myself, and I didn’t feel out of place just because I couldn’t get into some of the yoga positions.”
Activities like yoga and socializing with other veterans can help injured warriors cope with stress and emotional concerns. In a WWP survey (https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/survey) of the injured warriors it serves, more than half of survey respondents (51.6 percent) expressed they talk with fellow veterans to address their mental health issues, and 30.3 percent indicated physical activity helps.
“Wounded Warrior Project has literally changed my life,” Novy said. “Before I became involved with the organization, I did not want to be identified as a veteran. I wanted nothing to do with that part of my life and neither did my children. Wounded Warrior Project has provided us with experiences that we would have otherwise not been able to afford or experience. Now, I’m proud to be a veteran.”