Meditating through the stress

Program for veterans brought to Ohio

Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple Local veterans, from left, Matt Vadas, Herm Breuer and Michael O’Brien, all of Warren, talk together in a group setting Tuesday while participating in a Power Breath Meditation workshop at the Trumbull County Veterans Services Commission in Warren. The workshop was part of the Project Welcome Home Troops and taught veterans the Sudarshan kriya yoga (SKY) breathing and meditation practice.

WARREN — A dozen local veterans spent Tuesday afternoon breathing and meditating their way through their Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and service-related injuries.

Through the Sudarshan kriya yoga (SKY) breathing practice, military members and their families are getting the chance to change their minds and bodies and to heal through Power Breath Meditation workshops brought to Ohio by Project Welcome Home Troops. About 20 veterans involved in the free program are meeting this week at the Trumbull County Veterans Services Commission in Warren for workshops focused on stress reduction and coping skills.

Officials in the veterans administration said the time is right for programs like this.

“We should look at this and now that we have a room to help treat people, we should do it,” said Herm Breuer, a U.S. Army veteran of Iraq and director of the Trumbull County Veterans Services Commission.

Breuer was among the veterans taking part in the five-day intervention aiming at “permanent change through a mind body resilience workshop using breath yoga, meditation, speaking and journaling to help relieve stress,” Leslye Moore, program leader, said.

Moore said the program gives veterans coping skills and a process with which to follow up and continue living their lives.

“We see our role as serving veterans so they can get back into society, their communities and to their families to be the contributing members they want to be,” Moore said.

It’s cost effective, efficient and gives veterans the tools they can use in their own time as an alternative to, or accompanied with, medications to curb anxiety and depression associated with symptoms of PTSD, she said.

“We follow up at 3 months, 6 months and a year. I have seen participants look 10 years younger by the end. I have had veterans come in with suicidal ideations that at the end of the course have hope for their futures,” Moore said, noting approximately 20 veterans per day commit suicide nationwide.

“And that’s 20 too many,” she said.

Moore said the program relies on a process called delinking, which separates a memory from an event and the traumatic emotion that causes the stress.

“A traumatic event comes back into the present moment constantly for some people,” Moore said. “The nature of the technique is to delink those things. The memory is always there, but the triggers start to minimize dramatically.”

Moore gives credit to others for the program’s appearance in Ohio.

“Representative Tim Ryan and Covelli Enterprises raised funds to teach the program throughout Ohio, which is why we are here,” she said.