John Mory has made a career out of serving his country and helping his community.
“I saw everything from pediatric patients with significant burns, obviously gunshot wounds, injuries from IEDs,” he said about his time serving in the military.
Mory was a medic for the United States Army Special Forces. He retired as a Master Sgt. and later joined a fire department as a paramedic.
Working on the front lines for decades, however, eventually took an emotional toll.
“It put me in a place where I didn’t want to hurt myself,” he said. “But I understood why 22 veterans take their lives every day.”
That’s when Mory decided to get professional help. But it wasn’t until he paired therapy with yoga that he was able to truly start healing.
“Yoga and mindfulness gave me my life back. It improved my mood. It allowed me to have more of a thoughtful response to things in my environment,” he said.
Now, an organization is looking to help other veterans discover the healing powers of this ancient practice.
“We don’t recommend as an alternative therapy for post-traumatic stress, but it’s an amazing compliment to therapy; it’s part of an integrative approach,” said Daniel Libby, Ph.D., founder of the Veterans Yoga Project, a nonprofit dedicated to helping veterans recover emotionally through this unique form of exercise and meditation.
Libby says yoga impacts mind and body.
“It really provides us the tools that we need to be able to deal with life and all of its stressors,” he said.
Since it started, the Veterans Yoga Project has expanded to cities across the country and is available online.
They also started training veterans like Mory to teach classes.
“It kind of triggered my leave no man behind mentality that I learned in the military,” he said. “This is something I need to teach fellow veterans.”
Mory says he’ll continue to serve his country and his community in a new way.
“It might not be the answer to suicide prevention” he said about practicing yoga, “but I feel it’s definitely part of the solution.”