iRest Yoga Therapy for US Marines

iRestExaminerNow introducting iRest, a new integrative restoration technique helping US Marine veterans combat post traumatic stress disorder, depression, chronic pain and insomnia following deployment, according the program descriptions.

The US Marines aren’t the first troops to take to the mat. While the goal of the iRest program is to guide vets into “an opportunity to relax”, says program instructor Cheryl LeClair who teaches at Camp Lejeune and has an amazing story of her own.

But the goal of other regimes around the world, like the Indian army, are quite different, looking for the yogic benefit of “a deadlier fighting force” as a result of their meditative training.

As reported by The Times, Dr. Shirley Telles, principal investigator on the Indian Army Yoga project found strong results in “skilled activities requiring coordination and concentration, as well as muscular strength and endurance.” Says Telles of these specific benefits of Yoga, “[these] would especially be useful for activities such as shooting at a target.”

The interest of the Indian Army is based on the teachings of Baba Ramdev, a “superstar guru who has popularized Yoga across the subcontinent through a combination of plain speaking, fierce diatribes against western lifestyles and a cable television channel,” reports The Times.

On the other side of the world, iRest is being used for a different cause, a program issued to repair and rekindle post-battle. Developed by clinical psychologist, author and co-founder of the International Association of Yoga Therapy, Dr. Richard Miller, iRest is based on Yoga Nidra. Yoga Nidra is an ancient meditation practice set to ease and strengthen both mental and physical healing and well-being. To read more about the program, click here.

According to LeClair, the process is similar to the Marine or sailor being drawn into a television show they are watching.

“While in iRest, you’re not what happened to you; You’re not your thoughts,” she said.
MSNBC reported a similar story of soldiers, in the past, turning to Yoga and rewarded at the end of class with a chant for peace. In addition, each participant was given incense sticks as a gift for their 90 minutes of challenging asanas. And while the iRest program leaves soldiers with peace and others Yoga therapy programs leave our forces with incense, the soldiers in Nepal are given laughter. posted pictures of Nepal soldiers doing Laughter Yoga to help Iraqi war soldiers overcome post-traumatic stress disorders, much like iRest. Sophie Terrasse, a Laughter Yoga instructor from Canada was “pleasantly surprised at seeing the soldiers,” says the site. “They were really enjoying the laughter exercises as they chanted ‘ho, ho, ha, ha, ha”.

Article by  Jordann Rawls

Source:, Jul 29, 2009

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