FORT MYERS, Fla. — Vibe Yoga in Fort Myers is supporting veterans' mental health by teaching a class that is exclusively designed for members of the military.
Grant Bell, a Southwest Florida native knows how hard it is to ask for help, especially coming from a military background.
“Ya, you’re supposed to be tough and be able to handle these problems on your own,” said Bell.
Bell spent 20 years serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, eventually retiring in 1997.
He says it took him almost another 20 years to realize peace of mind can be found on a yoga mat.
“We are able to take them from fight or flight and bring them down into a rest and digest state of mind,” said Lindsay Smith, owner of Vibe Yoga.
Lindsay and her husband Daniel, who served in the Marines for many years, met Grant while Lindsay was teaching at their studio.
“He started out just coming to my classes,” said Smith.
Bell says he remembers that very first day.
“The first several sessions she (Lindsay) could tell that I was still kind of tense, fidgety," said Bell.
Lindsay says it didn't take long for Bell to start making progress.
“Now (he's) completely calm,” said Smith.
Vibe Yoga teamed up with the nonprofit, Warriors at Ease, an organization that helps certify instructors who want to treat military members with acute stress and Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
During their Warrior's at Ease classes, Smith says the 75-minute yoga class is geared towards military, veterans, first responders, & persons with acute stress, PTSD, and TBI’s.
The class begins with movement with modifications and ends with guided relaxation or iRest Yoga Nidra.
Her husband Daniel Smith says many veterans are in a constant state of alert, and these classes help people to break out of the mindset.
"Just like a rubber band, if it gets pulled too tight for too long it's going to break and so getting people out of that mindset to where they can relax," said Daniel Smith.
Grant Bell says this is why he has not gone from student to instructor.
“There’s something in there that really helps and helps you to distress and cope with things,” said Bell.
Bell says he currently working to get certified by the Warriors at Ease and wants to be teaching classes by next year.
“So then once I get that done, which shouldn’t take too terribly long, I think it’s about 40 hours, then I'll do level 2 with her and other teachers in the studio. I think in February,” said Bell.
For more information on class schedules and how to connect with Vibe Yoga, click here.