How Yoga Is Helping Vets Control Their PTSD

CHICAGO (CBS) — More than 40 years after Vietnam, the flashbacks continued for a medic from Orland Park. Now, however, an unlikely source is giving him a new way to cope.

Three years ago, Fred Moffatt was convinced to take a yoga class at the Orland Park Vet Center, taught by Pam Brockman. The class provides breath-based tools that aim to decrease stress, anxiety and sleep problems, while restoring well-being, mental focus and a renewed sense of purpose.

“Veterans typically come in and they think, oh, you know, this is not going to help — nothing helps me,” Brockman said.

Today, Moffatt, who has taken Brockman’s Power Breath Meditation Workshop at the Orland Park Vet Center, is a believer. He says he is happy to share his story, adding, “If what I’ve done helps one Veteran seek help, then it’s all been worth it.”

While he says his PTSD isn’t cured, he’s now able to control the flashbacks with techniques like the Darth Vador and the straw breaths.

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“You inhale deep through your nose and then you blow through this little bitty opening in your lips, like you got a straw in there and you’re trying to blow bubbles in a glass of liquid,” Moffatt said. “If I have a flashback to Vietnam, if I can do some of the breathing exercises, it helps calm me down and settle my nerves.”

Brockman has been teaching Veterans breathing and stretching techniques since 2007.

“Sometimes psychiatrists try to relive the symptoms as best they can with drugs. And the Veterans don’t like to be drugged because it makes them kind of like a zombie,” she said. “So this offers them a very nice alternative.”

The Power Breath Meditation Workshop is being offered by Project Welcome Home Troops in Grayslake throughout the month of November.

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