"What Are You Doing This Veterans Day?"
In every instance, the response I got was the same:
"I'm going to 'so and so restaurant' for free food."
When I followed up that leading question to find out if they were getting together with fellow veterans to enjoy a free meal with brothers and sisters in arms...Not a single one of them said they were planning on going with anyone.
I asked these same questions last year and the year before. Too many vets go out on Veterans Day just to enjoy the free food and don't have any desire to congregate with their fellow veterans.
As a result of this, I started thinking about what would make the day more meaningful and whether there were different activities to explore that would offer veterans a different way to celebrate their service.
On October 20th, the Yoga Lab opened up on Lehigh Street in Allentown, PA. Last week, the owner, Kristine, reached out to me with an offer: Free mat yoga for veterans on Veterans Day and discounts all month long, starting on the 10th of November. When I dug in a little bit, I discovered that yoga studios all over the country, independent of one another, are offering similar opportunities for veterans.
So, why yoga? Why now? I have heard that many veterans have found yoga to be extremely helpful in coping with PTSD. Then I read that one of the Yoga Lab instructors is an Iraq veteran with PTSD who has found yoga to be very therapeutic and wants to share its value (and the culture of healing that surrounds yoga as a whole).
When I read through her offer, I realized that this was a beautiful example of someone providing a venue for veterans to congregate in a meaningful manner, with a purpose. I have attached their flyer to this blog post. I will be attending mat yoga Veterans Day evening and am hopeful that I will be able to attend the Veterans Workshop on Saturday the 15th.
I encourage our veterans to extend themselves a little bit, especially those with PTSD, and take the Yoga Lab (and other yoga studios around the country) up on their generous offer.
I wish you all a great Veterans Day and hope you spend it in health and happiness!