Local veteran Loretta Lynn Leda is helping fellow female veterans relieve stress through a yoga class she streams on Zoom every Wednesday at 8 p.m.
A Marine Corps veteran who fought in Desert Storm, Leda was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. Her 15 years of yoga practice has helped reduce her stress and anxiety, she said. She hoped to help others do so as well when she began teaching yoga about a year ago and started her business, BeYogaFull.
Leda said she wanted to help fellow veterans in particular, and earned a certification in mindful resilience training for veterans from the Veterans Yoga Project.
"There's a specific way you work with veterans who've been through trauma," she said. "Being a veteran myself, and experiencing trauma and having to deal with that, most people don't understand it. I went to yoga because I thought it was relaxing, it was calming. You're controlling yourself mentally and physically and learning to breathe."
With veterans, Leda explained, one must be mindful of triggers and make adjustments such as keeping the lights on throughout class and avoiding vulnerable poses like child's pose. She said she also uses veterans' lingo to help them feel more comfortable. For example, she calls yoga accessories such as bolsters or blocks "gear" rather than "props," as they are commonly referred to in most yoga classes.
The poses and breathing techniques yoga teaches are tools that all people — military or otherwise — can use wherever to help reduce stress and anxiety, said Leda.
"What you learn on the mat, you take it off the mat with you," she said. "You're getting back in control of your body and your mind.
"Especially in the military, we're trained to follow orders and do what we're told. It's a different type of lifestyle."
In addition to streaming classes and holding live conferences on Zoom, Leda teaches private classes at clients' homes or businesses, as well as at local studios and fitness centers such as Luna in Fort Oglethorpe, where she hopes to soon offer an in-person yoga class for veterans.
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