"Think of a stiff and jammed spine; we can only give a set of minimal and safe movements to begin to relieve strain and induce suppleness in the spine. In the same way, when the mind is filled with patterns of repeated thoughts and the personality constricted with the result of past experiences, as in PTSD, like the stiff back, for the mind to become more expansive, supple and open to new patterns, we begin in a minimal and safe manner."

Since March 2009, Anita has worked at the Southern Arizona Veteran’s Administration Health Care Services (SAVAHCS) Tucson hospital in their inpatient Post Traumtic Stress Disorder (PTSD) program. Each month a new group of three to six clients enters the inpatient Evaluation and Brief Treatment of PTSD Unit (EBTPU) for intensive psychotherapy.

Anita works with each group two to three times a week; she teaches varied breathing techniques coordinated with gentle movements, and visualization and meditative based practices that are designed to help the Veterans manage their Subjective Units of Distress (SUD levels) while in the program.

"I can control anxiety better and ease heart rate using what I have learned"

A veteran, PTSD
"I wish I would have known about this simple yet beneficial practice a long time ago...I have used the yoga techniques I learned to calm myself and especially to get to sleep, resulted in a reduction of my anxiety, it helps put me to sleep quieter...the instructor is a very genuine and gentle person"

A veteran, PTSD

Another objective is to reinforce the tools and techniques the Veterans are taught so that they may continue to use the yoga they have learned while in the EBTPU when they return home. These tools help the Veterans manage a wide range of symptoms that include insomnia, chronic pain, anxiety attacks, anger, fatigue, hyper vigilance and intrusive thoughts. Practices may be done in a recliner, sitting or standing and each student leaves the program with a simple practice to do at home.

"I used the yoga every day. It works on all parts of my body. I will do it at home"

A veteran, PTSD and Chronic Pain

At Healing Yoga Arizona Anita teaches students referred by counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and somatic therapists who have clients with PTSD. She uses simple and effective instructions that synergistically complement these other healing modalities. Through tools and techniques that increase physical, mental and emotional awareness, students become self-empowered and gain mastery as they learn how to manage and alleviate symptoms.

Currently, she is finishing a qualitative research paper on Yoga Therapy and Veterans living with PTSD. The paper will be posted online in the near future.