Yoga for Men (YfM), an online yoga community for men, has launched a Yoga for Veterans program and a clinical research study in collaboration with the University of South Florida (USF) College of Public Health. YfM’s new program offers specialized yoga, meditation, and mindfulness classes for veterans, as well as unlimited access to all of its video content. In addition to this program, YfM’s study with USF will help evaluate the effects of yoga and mindfulness on post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and other conditions that veterans struggle with in their daily lives. The study will also analyze the changes in the symptoms of psychological trauma, depression, anxiety, stress, sleep quality, and pain in the veterans and active duty military personnel who participate in the Yoga for Veterans program. The cost to participate in the study for one veteran or active duty service member is $200, or approximately $1 per class. Participants are encouraged to take two yoga classes and two mindfulness sessions per week through YfM's online platform and are given access to a large library of classes for all abilities and experience levels. Study participants can also communicate with USF researchers through the use of the encrypted, HIPAA-compliant ReadyOp system, which was developed by YfM’s partner Collabria. "Our company started with the intention of helping men get over the barriers that have kept them off the yoga mat,” says co-president Mike Fecht. “Our mission quickly expanded to one of making yoga and mindfulness accessible to everyone who might benefit, male or female, young or old, and at any level of mobility. We offer classes from adaptive chair yoga all the way through advanced power yoga. The point is to match the practice to the practitioner. And there is a practice for everyone."
Currently more than 1,300 veterans have responded to YfM’s new study, and there is no limit as to how many veterans can participate. So far, YfM has covered all of the costs to develop the online video platform, film, produce the initial bank of materials, and launch the study, but the company is currently looking for partners, sponsors, and donors to support the cost of additional participants. Organizations or individuals who are interested in financially supporting participants or learning more about the Yoga for Veterans program can visit the company’s website. These funds will be used to sponsor participants, as well as to support the University of South Florida College of Public Health in the conduct of the study.