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Swami SivanandaSwami Vishnu

Sivananda Bahamas Blog

Expand Your Horizons …

Inspiration and ideas on yoga philosophy, practice, and lifestyle. Enjoy, tell others, and return often.
 

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Name that feelings when you are at the dock waiting for the boat to take you to the ashram ...... (Instagram from: @stephlowey18) ... See MoreSee Less

3 days ago

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Charu ShankarHome away from home :)1   ·  3 days ago

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We are *VERY* pleased to announce a special event June 2 — 8, 2015.
A Celebration of Hope and Peace. Swami Swaroopananda’s 60th Birthday! (With a very special guest <3 Click for more details)

bit.ly/Swamiji60
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4 days ago

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Alexandra Shambhavi StutmanWow! Sounds awesome!2 days ago

Śāntanu YogiIs it a surprise birthday party? 😉3 days ago

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A few moments from our Warriors in Action group last week! ... See MoreSee Less

5 days ago

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Patricia BennettI see I went at the wrong time! :) NICE Program!!!18 hours ago

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Watch: An Investment Banker-Turned Yogi Brings Healing to War Vets

video interview and blog post by Sura (suracenter.com)

Molly Birkholm was an investment banker in New York City when she nearly died in a serious taxi cab accident. After an SUV struck them sideways while running a red light, Molly experienced near-death injuries, enduring a fractured skull and a severe spinal injury. After witnessing her cab driver become decapitated, Molly suffered from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Recurring nightmares and an extreme fear of driving in cars led her to yoga and a specific meditation practice called yoga nidra. Yoga nidra, translated as the “yoga of sleep,” was instrumental in helping Molly recover from PTSD. Molly’s journey of healing eventually led her to leave her job on Wall Street and travel through Asia, where she lived in ashram in India and became certified as a Sivananda Yoga teacher.

Upon her return one year later, Molly had no idea what she would do next. After marrying her husband and moving to Florida, she was invited to volunteer a few hours a week teaching wheelchair yoga to vets at the Miami Veteran’s Administration. What happened next was what Molly describes as, “unbelievable and completely unexpected.” War veterans experienced overwhelmingly positive results. Both Molly and the staff saw veterans experiencing alleviation from their PTSD, insomnia, chronic pain, anxiety, and depression. Her classes soon expanded to the 3-month Residential PTSD & Substance Abuse treatment programs, outpatient PTSD treatment programs and even the acute mental-health ward. The program went so well that in 2008, the Department of Defense Center of Excellence rewarded the program with a $262,000 grant to conduct clinical research measuring the effects of iRest yoga nidra on veterans with PTSD.

Clinical research is validating that yoga and meditation are effective in helping soldiers and vets heal from PTSD. In a study conducted by the Department of Defense at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, researchers found that a secular form of yoga nidra called iRest, which has been widely adopted by the military, helped to alleviate symptoms associated with PTSD, reduce combat stress and trauma. Participants reported feeling less anxiety and increased feelings of safety. Another research study measuring the “Effects of Sensory-Enhanced Yoga on Symptoms of Combat Stress in Deployed Military Personnel” found that the individuals participating in the yoga program showed significantly greater improvement in 16 of 18 mental health and quality of life factors over the individuals who were not practicing yoga.

As Molly’s programs at the Miami VA grew, she co-founded Warriors At Ease, a non-profit organization that has now trained and ‘deployed’ over 500 yoga and meditation teachers into military communities.


Molly Asebey-BirkholmMolly Asebey-Birkholm (Madhavi)

Molly Asebey-Birkholm (Madhavi) is an advanced Sivananda yoga teacher (RYT 500) and a certified Integrative Restoration (iRest) Instructor. She is the co-founder and director of the Yoga Center of Key Biscayne, in Florida, an affiliated Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center.