Like most war veterans, Barry Schweiger chose not to seek psychological treatment when he returned from active duty.
“We’re taught in the military to endure pain and hardships, and to be incredible warriors. But many people are forced into that role,” says Schweiger, and when soldiers return home, it’s often difficult for them to seek help or admit they’ve suffered psychological and emotional trauma. “In the eyes of the military, that would be viewed as a weakness, so they just suffer through it.”
Which is exactly what Schweiger did when he came home from Vietnam. As a result, over the next 25 years his anger, hostility and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caused him to alienate not only his wife and children, but coworkers as well.
And then everything changed when, on a whim, he attended a beginner’s yoga class at his gym.
“Yoga turned out to be exactly what I never knew I needed,” he jokes. “The beauty of it was the slow process, the quietness, and the simplicity of just doing the poses. Anything faster, louder or more strenuous would have killed me. What I needed to do was slow down and learn how to be with myself, not run away from everything going on inside me.”
Now, 15 years later, Schweiger is a certified yoga teacher at Yogaloft in Woodland Hills teaching a class every Friday called Yoga for PTSD. Through his practice he’s been able to work through many of his issues, and hopes to help others do the same.
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