You may or may not know that Mindful Yoga Therapy came about when Suzanne Manafort, the Founder/Director was looking for a way to “give back to society.” It all started one day when she volunteered at the local Veterans Administration (VA) hospital. Through trial and error and with input from the Veterans that were in her classes, she fleshed out what didn’t work and focused on what did. Today…the things that worked are all part of the “toolbox.”
Fast-forward a few years…and today Mindful Yoga Therapy offers two different programs for Veterans that focus on post-traumatic growth, the original 15-hour program for yoga teachers, plus a 100-hour program for yoga teachers. These are natural progressions for any company. What we’re very excited about…is a progression we didn’t think about. Several of the veterans who have completed our programs designed specifically for them…are now yoga teachers themselves.
We just wrapped up a 200-hour Embodyoga teacher training program at our national training center in Newington Connecticut. Embodyoga is a well-rounded, in-depth study of yoga with an emphasis on personal embodiment as the basis for deepening a practice. Among the students were Mike Riley, an Air Force Vet and Sean Weir, a Royal Air Force Vet.
Mike Riley’s journey to yoga started when he felt as if he was at whit’s end, “my marriage had just ended, nothing was going right for me and I could see the end all I had to do was choose it.” Lucky for Mike, a friend mentioned Mindful Yoga Therapy to him after he had tried yoga at a few different places. Today, the former aircraft mechanic has a strong daily practice and is a certified yoga instructor. Mike volunteers at the local VA and talks about the benefits of yoga to just about every veteran he meets, “getting veterans to participate in weekly yoga classes has shown to improve mood and a sense of community in which I participate.” Mike also is a valuable member of Team MYT. If you ever sign up for one of our training programs, you might just receive a block of training from him.
Sean Weir came to yoga when he felt he was struggling both physically and mentally. Sean was a first responder in the Royal Air Force and has also served as a fire fighter here in the U.S. For Sean, Yoga Nidra was his gateway to yoga, “it helped me and I want to pass the opportunity on to help others such as veterans, first responders and under served communities such as at risk youth.” Sean plans to continue his yoga journey and will be enrolling in an upcoming 100-hour program. Sean is also working with the West Haven Connecticut VA, “I am in the process of communicating with the staff how yoga and mindfulness programs can best serve this community.”
You can learn more about our program on our website.