Veterans Trying Yoga for Treatment

Published 06/17 2014 10:30PM

Updated 06/17 2014 11:17PM

BURLINGTON, Vt. - Sometimes what we need most to get through the day is a moment to breathe.

Once a week a handful of veterans find that time in a yoga class at the Lakeside Veteran Affairs clinic in Burlington.

“To just help find out what's going on within me and maybe be able to slow things down a little bit. That’s what it's all about,” Navy veteran Tom Dockery said.

Dockery provided medical services on frigates traveling all over the world for 21 years. He says it was rewarding but stressful.

“I had trouble after I retired getting rid of some of that stress,” Dockery said.

When his doctor at the VA recommended yoga he didn't think much of it. His response is not uncommon according to Director of Behavioral Health Services Dr. Laura Gibson.

“Many of them laugh at me when I suggest yoga. It takes some convincing,” Gibson said.

But once they make it through the door they usually stick around. Instructor Suzanne Boyd has even trained in how to instruct yoga for veterans.

“Why did you believe yoga could make a big difference?” reporter David Hodges asked.

“Because of my own experience. The first time my husband deployed I struggled with depression,” Boyd said.

Boyd turned to yoga for help and she says it worked.

Now the VA is trying to find something for everyone. They've started meditation sessions and in a month will even have acupuncture.

“We're not your grandfathers VA. You know we're doing innovative things here and so folks who might not have ever considered coming here we hope will give us a try,” Gibson said.

Boyd is also starting up a new yoga class for veterans. Starting June 18 every Wednesday at 5 p.m. she will be instructing any veterans interested in taking part. The class is at the 128 Lakeside Ave. Burlington, Vermont.

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