Karma Yoga to Offer Specialized Yoga Class for Veterans and Families of Active Duty Military

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Michigan--Free therapeutic yoga classes for veterans will soon be offered at Karma Yoga West Bloomfield. Classes begin May 4and will continue every Mondayafternoon from 1 – 2:30 pm.

Both veterans and family members of active duty military personnel are welcome.

Karma Yoga West Bloomfield is located at 6710 Orchard Lake Road, in the West Bloomfield Plaza.

The classes are funded by the Yoga by Design Foundation, a local non-profit foundation that provides yoga to underserved populations, and will be taught by Susann Spilkin, ERYT-500. 

Yoga by Design Foundation’s mission is to address symptoms of trauma, illness, disease, addiction, and neglect. The Foundation underwrites highly qualified, experienced yoga instructors who offer the transformational teachings of yoga to these underserved populations.

“Offering a lifeline to those who have served in the Armed Forces is our collective responsibility and we are wholeheartedly committed to this endeavor,” said founder Lynn Medow.

In 2014, Spilkin was trained in Mindful Yoga Therapy (MYT) a program that was clinically researched over several years and included feedback from veterans themselves. MYT is the model for yoga programs that are currently being taught in over 45 VA hospitals around the nation.

Currently, Spilkin herself teaches this class at the John D Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit. 

Research shows that regular yoga practice can help relieve PTSD and combat stress symptoms in soldiers just returning from active duty as well as those still struggling 40 years after Vietnam.

In a study published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy in February 2012, veterans of the Iraq war who participated in a three-week program of hatha yoga experienced significant turnarounds in quality-of-life factors such as: having difficulty sleeping, feeling ‘down in the dumps’, having outbursts of anger, experiencing feelings of loneliness and ‘always watching my back’.

Spilkin says that mindful movement, yogic breathing practices and meditation are the tools she teaches veterans to rebalance their nervous system and manage the symptoms of PTSD.

And her students report better sleep, greater focus, less reactivity and more ability to connect with family and friends.

Spilkin finds teaching yoga to veterans deeply rewarding.

“Giving someone the tools to help them “stand down” from the burden of trauma is an honor,” said Spilkin.  

“They come into class, often feeling alone and disconnected. And by the end of class they are with friends who understand and support them.”

“I even saw a vet who is dependent on his cane for support leave class one time without it—he was feeling so light. He was halfway down the hall before he realized it!” said Spilkin.

“As I teach, I watch the tension fade from their bodies and faces—I am so grateful for my time with the vets and for the healing of yoga.”

Karma Yoga is a community focused yoga studio. In addition to traditional yoga classes, Karma also offers Gentle Yoga, Spirit Baby Yoga, and Prenatal Yoga. Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis, Yoga for Breast Cancer Survivors and now, Veterans Yoga are also held in the studio.

Katherine Austin, owner of Karma Yoga, currently operates three studios: Bloomfield Hills, West Bloomfield and San Diego, California.

“I’m so excited and grateful that we now offer another layer of healing for our community,” said Austin. “I opened Karma Yoga—which means to be of service—in order to help other have the ability to lead a life of joy, fulfillment and good health off the mat. Our veterans deserve that and so much more.” 

“We are passionate about sharing and teaching yoga at Karma. It’s a lifestyle for us, not a hobby.”

Bloomfield Community Television, Living Karma Yoga video interview with Spilkin and Austin discussing Trauma Sensitive Yoga: https://vimeo.com/118592889

For more information, visit http://www.karma-yoga.net, or contact Karma Yoga at info@karma-yoga.net or 248-862-2015.