For thousands of years eastern philosophy, culture and martial arts were connected to the practice of mindfulness and meditation. The warrior’s power was drawn from his ability to control his environment with a mind over matter approach. Why is the modern, western warrior, so different? Why is there such a stigma associated with meditation and mindfulness that prohibits the hardened western man from closing his eyes, breathing and just being present?
There is plenty of arguments that could be made as to the direction of western culture, the fast paced industrial machine that is our society, never allowing time to relax and breathe. Or the fact that our culture is built on materialistic principles. Where the physical is valued far higher than the mental let alone the spiritual. But let’s leave that to the philosophers for another day. I want to look at the real problem. The modern problem. The Insta-yogi problem.
Instagram models have helped make yoga and meditation cool again. But not for everyone. The super skinny, ultra flexible, birkenstock wearing, flower carrying, hippy culture of instagram yogis have defined what a present and conscious person should look like. And they have made it almost impossible for the muscle bound, battle hardened warriors of the west to publicly adopt these practices.
Thankfully we are seeing a shift. The US Marine Corps has recently trialed a meditation and mindfulness program. Marines would meditate for as little as 15 minutes a day over an 8 week period. The result showed reduction in anxiety, depression, stress and insomnia. Marines also reported increases in concentration and cognitive ability during high stress scenarios.
Closer to home, companies like Blind Tiger Yoga and Warrior Revival are breaking the stigma. With a no woo woo approach, these veteran operated companies are showing veterans the scientific benefits of mindfulness practices. And the benefits are backed by science.
In the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, a meta-analysis of 64 studies conducted with over 1600 participants showed that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MSBR) when conducted regularly, has substantial benefits for individuals suffering from chronic pain, anxiety disorders, depression and a diverse range of social and environmental stress.
Blind tiger yoga has developed a wide range of practices from yoga to guided sleep meditations. Hitting the stigma head on, they have begun to implement these practices with Australia’s most elite special forces units.
“We are now trying to get funding for 25 veterans to train as yoga and guided meditation instructors” Says founder Tristan Rose. “In doing so we will have the capacity to teach veterans across the country, the value of mindfulness practice.”
Warrior revival holds retreats in the hinterland of South East Queensland. The retreats are aimed at returning veterans to their natural, once healthy and happy state. Using ancient teachings of Taoist and internal energy work to unlock previous ambition, drive and motivation.
To find out more about both of these veteran endorsed and operated businesses go to:
Or find them on facebook @Blindtigeryoga and @warriorrevivalaustralia,