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Heartsong to offer Mindful Yoga for Veterans Nov. 10

Date: 10/24/2013

By Debbie Gardner

EAST LONGMEADOW – For those who have served in battle, the emotional and psychological effects can linger.

Suzanne Manafort, director of the Newington Yoga Center in Newington, Conn., and a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, has helped develop a yoga practice, Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans Recovering from Trauma, designed to help veterans cope with these effects as the readjust to civilian life.

“We want to let military families in the greater Springfield area know that Heartsong Yoga has a mission to provide yoga classes for veterans and their families and that we have a staff of teachers who have been trained specifically in Mindful Yoga therapy protocols to teach veterans,” Sheila Magalhaes, co-owner of Heartsong Yoga, said of the class, which will be offered Nov. 10 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at its 264 Main St. location.

The class will be free for veterans and their families. A free-will donation will be collected from other attendees to help support the work of Mindful Yoga for Veterans ( For more information call Heartsong Yoga at 525-0720.

Magalhaes, a Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans faculty member, has visited other yoga centers across the country to teach the practice. Her goal is to establish an ongoing Mindful Yoga class for local veterans at Heartsong.

Originally developed to aid a group of Vietnam-era veterans in Connecticut suffering from the effects of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Mindful Yoga for Veterans classes feature instructors who are trained to follow strict protocols to create a yoga practice, and practice space, in which the service person or veteran can feel safe while learning to use yoga to achieve a greater sense of peace of mind and relief from their symptoms.

During the past year the not-for-profit Give Back Yoga Foundation, in association with Mindful Yoga for Veterans, has distributed 10,000 free Mindful Yoga toolkits through classes across the country in an effort to help former service men and women find relief from post service stress, including PTSD symptoms.