In a bid to assist working and retired servicemen to recover from the psychological toll of their duties, Mandurah resident and yoga therapy teacher Rochelle Jolley is bringing free weekly yoga classes to Mandurah’s servicemen.
She is delivering the classes through Frontline Yoga, a not-for-profit organistion that provides free yoga classes to assist servicemen in developing physical and psychological strength, and gaining inner peace.
As Ms Jolley puts it herself: ‘it's a service of us giving back to the people in the community that take care of us’.
Ms Jolley firmly believes mindfulness, meditation and yoga can assist policemen, firefighters, ambulance crews, SES workers, military personnel and medical workers in overcoming trauma and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD).
“They see a lot of terrible things and experience a lot of terrible things and it takes a toll on their body, their mind, their spirit,” she said.
“Yoga its very calming and it helps them come back into their bodies again because they kind of lose themselves and they don't have a lot of feelings because they are trying to protect themselves.”
She said the program has helped servicemen feel calmer and sleep better.
“There's less panic as far as they are concerned and they can feel, they can feel their bodies again,” she said.
Ms Jolley, who suffers from arthritis, has experienced the physical and psychological benefits of yoga herself since she started learning 30 years ago and is hoping to encourage reluctant residents to give it a go.
Her hour-long classes are trauma sensitive, and focus on mindfulness practices such as breathing and posture.
She started delivering the free classes at the CWA Hall in Copper Street two weeks ago, and she has already received positive feedback from a retired servicemen who has found the therapy ‘very calming’.
“One hour of moving and breathing and just being aware of where the body is in space is really helpful,” Ms Jolley said.
“I'm trying to encourage people on our frontline to come and try it, and it's also available for their partners, their wives, their husbands to come along [for free].”
Other residents who might not be servicemen themselves or have a family member on the frontline can also give the classes a go by gold coin donation.
Local businesses and organisations can also sponsor the initiative, with all proceedings going towards delivering classes and training yoga teachers in PTSD and trauma sensitive practices.
The free classes are held at the CWA Hall on 19 Cooper Street, Mandurah, each Tuesday between 1.30pm and 2.30pm.
For more information call Rochelle Jolley on 0403 274 134 or go to frontlineyoga.com.au.