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Mindful Yoga Therapy helps to manage stress

Classes offer five practices to calm the mind and reduce stress (WKRC)

MARIEMONT, Ohio (WKRC) - A yoga program is gaining popularity in the Tri-State by teaching new ways to manage stress.

Jen Wright runs Real Human Performance in Mariemont, where she first introduced MYT, or Mindful Yoga Therapy. The program is a little different from a typical yoga class. It uses five different practices to calm the mind.

“We have the movement with the asana, which you would see in a typical yoga class,” said Wright. “We also put a strong focus on breath practices, with a large focus on meditation and yoga nidra, which essentially means yoga sleep. And then we focus on gratitude as well.”

MYT was first created by Suzanne Manafort years ago, as a way to help veterans suffering from PTSD. Since then, it’s evolved to help many more people beyond veterans - including Wright herself.

“I started doing yoga when I lived in Washington, D.C.,” said Wright. “I worked at the Pentagon, in a stressful environment. It was necessary at the time, so I used MYT as my own personal self-care.”

Ten years later, she left Washington, D.C., and brought it to Cincinnati.

“I’ve worked with the recovery center at the VA, the domiciliary, the Joseph House, the center for veterans in transition, homeless veterans, veterans treatment court, juvenile court, and now the juvenile detention center and Hillcrest Academy.”

Wright says the breathing practices and yoga nidra especially help with the cravings of addiction, and anxiety.

Zachary Powers knows the benefits of MYT all too well. The Iraq veteran turned to MYT when nothing else would help - but it took him a while to get used to it.

“When I started doing yoga, I was the biggest skeptic,” said Powers. “I knew nothing would work. I was over, it was done. Just give me a bottle of whiskey, a bottle of pain pills, and leave me be.”

But Powers said the class did quell his family’s insistence on getting help, so he kept going back - and he finally started to see results.

“The calmness I felt when I was leaving the class, it only lasted a little while,” said Powers. “Just a few minutes before I got in the truck and started to drive. But it slowly progressed to ten minutes, twenty minutes, half an hour. Next thing I know it’s half a day and I’m calmer than I was before.”

Wright first introduced the program to veterans but has since expanded it to help at-risk student athletes at Hillcrest Academy. The students said it helps them remain calm throughout the day, no matter what obstacles they face.

“It actually helps a lot, like going on through the day with school,” said one student athlete. “If we get frustrated or anything like that, it helps to use the practices we learn and just calm down, and basically just restart our bodies.”

The program just got introduced at the juvenile detention center in Hamilton County as well.

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