By Hayley Crandall
Everyday Bliss sets out to offer assistance for the community through yoga – but it also works to extend that helping hand to a group in need: veterans.
The yoga and meditation studio, in partnership with 4th HOOHA WI, offers free weekly yoga classes to military veterans and active-duty members, available both online and in person.
Led by yoga instructor Alison Marchillo, this class utilizes Hatha yoga. The studio describes Hatha as being “a path toward creating balance and uniting opposites.” It is a holistic approach to wellness that gives a full-body experience, highlighting areas such as physical posture and breathing.
This area of yoga benefits veterans in particular because body awareness and thought awareness are key aspects, according to Pamela Bliss, Everyday Bliss owner and spiritual teacher.
Since this class has a central focus on military persons, attendees also have the benefit of similar backgrounds. This allows for a cultivation of community, Bliss explained, and is a time dedicated to their wellness.
“I’m really grateful that we are able to offer this class to this specific population but to do it in a way where it’s a time devoted just for them so that they don’t feel like they’re alone,” she said. “And then they have this ability to bond, support and motivate each other.”
Yoga has also had a history of aiding people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Bliss said. She explained PTSD is being similar to being “frozen” in a snapshot of time, through yoga, participants are given a chance to unwind and begin better communication within the body.
Bliss finds that these changes can be significant even after just an hour or so on the mat. This begins a process toward more positive lifestyle changes as it brings about a level of awareness in participants which carries on, she explained.
“The yoga cultivates awareness on the mat, but the intention is that it spills off the mat and then you’re more aware,” Bliss said.
Even if someone is uncertain about hopping into a yoga class right away, simple at-home breathing practices can be beneficial. In stressful situations, Bliss recommends taking slower, deeper breaths. When one sense gets under control, others like thoughts and energy come around, too, Bliss explained.
The Veterans Yoga classes are currently held every Sunday at 11 a.m. in-studio and online through Google Meets. Free for military members, spots are also available for loved ones to join for an additional five-dollar fee. Bliss said they have found the addition of loved ones offers extended support.
The studio asks that unvaccinated participants wear masks. Classes have a seven-person limit for in-person classes, according to the event page.
More information and registration can be found on the website at https://everyday-bliss.com/yoga/.