FlowFit ARMY and Preventing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

July 15, 2008 – 5:46 am

Violence to each other is not in our genetic makeup. It takes extreme conditioning and psychological leverage to kill another human being (Lt. Col. David Grossman, On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill). We are genetically programmed to support our species… and yet millennia of violent atrocities against one another persuades us to think otherwise.

The cost of violence weighs heavily upon us, long after the event… It can be said that there are no survivors of any war. And among thewalking wounded are those suffering post traumatic stress disorder, the burden carried by those who “survive.”

The Washington Post reported A Breath of Hope for US ARMY personnel suffering from the traumatic shock of violence:

“A Rand study released last month said 20 percent of the approximately 1.6 million U.S. military personnel who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

But recently Farley has found a way to quell the symptoms of PTSD. Instead of allowing his mind to flash back to the roadside carnage, the truck driver pictures himself sitting on a yoga mat at the District’s Walter Reed Army Medical Center, taking deep, relaxing breaths. The techniques Farley learned there from yoga teacher Robin Carnes help him to realize that he’s “actually here on Fort Bragg and not in Iraq.”

CST Instructor Jeffry Larson has been doing what he can to serve our men and women who go into harm’s way:

“Last week I lead my unit through a Flowfit® workout during our daily PT hour. While it is usually the responsibility of the senior NCOs to lead PT, I will invoke commander’s privilege about once a month and do it myself.

I’ve done this a couple of times now using a variety of Intu-Flow®, Flowfit®, and Prasara yoga routines. I get a positive reaction from the troops when I do this. They know it will be a challenging but interesting workout for them. They appreciate the sophistication of CST exercises over the usual military calisthenics.

I just thought I’d share a couple photos here. I have some video clips which I could post somewhere if anyone would like to see them.

The structure of the class was simple:

  • 10 minutes - Intu-Flow® head to toes
  • 10 minutes - warm-up by learning exercises
  • 20 minutes - Flowfit® variation: 20 X 1 minute rounds consisting of each of the 7 Flowfit® exercises (minus the squats in between each exercises)
  • 10 minutes - cool-down with selected Prasara movements and asana

While the original protocol as presented on the Flowfit® DVD is an excellent goal to work on its perfectly OK to come up with some other options on your own.

Besides the routine I did here I’ve also done some others. One idea is to do 3-5 reps of each exercise one right after the other. Or maybe you do one full minute of one exercise followed by another exercise the next minute and so on.

The important thing is to stay in constant motion for at least 14-18 minutes. Also be sure to monitor your intuitive sense of exertion, form and discomfort.

Many organizations, including the National Institute of Medical Health, are researching the psychological as well as the physiological impact of alternative wellness approaches including yoga.

Thanks to men like Jeff Larson, we don’t have to await the results of the research… and as a result, we have healthier well-being among those who could be wounded by the extreme psychological effects of violence.

Keep Leading the Way, Jeff!

Flow Thyself™,

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