Veterans Florida Published An Article Featuring Yoga 4 Change
Veterans Florida, a state-created organization, helps veterans make Florida home by providing them with information on state benefits and connections to careers, entrepreneurship training, colleges and universities, and real estate professionals. Through their Career Services Program, they connect veterans with Florida employers who are seeking to hire veterans for jobs that put the skills they learned in the military to use.
In late April, Veterans Florida published an article that featured Yoga 4 Change and our founder, Kathryn Thomas. The article is titled "How A Navy Veteran Is Changing Lives Through Yoga." Below we are going to share the article that originally appeared on their website. We'd like to thank Veterans Florida for their support.
True to her naval training, Kathryn Thomas never backs down from a challenge. After fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a helicopter pilot, she suffered an injury that would require her to medically separate from the United States Navy. “I went from achieving my dreams and goals to thinking I was nothing. I lost my identity of being a pilot,” explained Thomas.
As part of her recovery, her physician recommended she try yoga to heal her physical and mental well-being. “While I was on my mat for that hour, I focused on what I could still achieve,” she said. This experience inspired Thomas to help others also dealing with life-changing or traumatic experiences. Thus, Yoga 4 Change was born.
Yoga 4 Change is a non-profit organization that helps veterans, incarcerated individuals, vulnerable youth, and those dealing with substance abuse in the Jacksonville/North Florida area. Through her yoga teachings, she encourages people to rediscover their own strength and abilities. What makes Yoga 4 Change so effective is the sense of unity and togetherness that Thomas establishes in her classes.
Thomas has found that building a community and a sense of togetherness is especially helpful for veterans making the transition to civilian life.“It’s really hard,” said Thomas. “You don’t know how hard it is until you go through it, and people really downplay that transition.” Along with creating a sense of community, her classes strive to teach veterans to accept themselves on the mat, which then becomes acceptance of themselves off the mat. “I want every veteran transitioning out of the service to know they’re good enough to do whatever it is they want to do,” Thomas said.
So, why did Thomas and her husband choose Florida as the place to call home when they started their civilian lives? According to Thomas, Florida is the best state for veterans because of the number of support networks available. Since Veterans Florida was founded, she has been able to tap into the resources Veterans Florida has to offer, like garnering support and funds to keep her Yoga 4 Change dream alive. “It is imperative that a veteran transitioning out of service check into the different avenues and be able to connect with those communities,” she explained. “When one veteran succeeds, the whole community succeeds.”
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