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Thursday, September 18, 2014 - 6:18pm

Soldiers learn yoga and meditation to manage combat stress

Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 5:07pm

Military posts are now implementing yoga and meditation programs to treat psychologically wounded soldiers returning from combat. At University Behavioral Health of El Paso, special programs identify with the causes of the disorder.

"I think its exposure to combat. It's very intense on the psyche, on the body... It creates a lot of tension; that's what it is, war," said yoga instructor Robert Leal.

Leal's yoga programs teach sufferers of PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, and any other anxiety disorder to be at ease. He says it starts with concentrating on your breathing while thinking of nothing else.

"If you keep the breath connected with a yoga class, meditation you really allow your body to become still and balanced," said Leal.

According to Leal, being still and balanced through meditation and yoga allows individuals to regain control of thoughts that sometimes victimize a persons thinking.

"A lot of times, when we begin to get caught up in our thoughts, a downward spiral.. you just constantly get caught up with these false ideas of yourself," he said.

Military research shows it's this false negative thinking that may be to the peak in suicides. The good news is, studies show that meditation and yoga practices not only help soldiers regain their control of negative thinking and past trauma from combat, it improves their quality of life, provides increased feelings of calmness, and reduced anger.  

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