Warriors at Ease was established as a 501(c)(3) organization in 2011. The organization was founded by Robin Carnes, Karen Soltes, Colonel (ret) Pat Lillis, and Molly Birkholm. These pioneering co-founders were involved in some of the first clinical studies funded by Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) involving the use of yoga and meditation as an adjunct therapy for combat-related health conditions. In response to the success of these early studies at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as well as VA Medical Centers in Washington D.C. and Miami, the founders developed a teacher training curriculum to meet the growing demand for specially-trained instructors who have the knowledge and skills to share yoga in a way that is safe, effective, and relevant for warriors and their families.
The multi-phased Warriors at Ease Teacher Training is designed to empower certified yoga and meditation teachers with the principles and practices necessary to support the health and healing of service members, veterans and families. Warriors at Ease has trained a world-wide network of teachers who share evidenced-based, trauma-sensitive yoga, meditation, and breathing practices with warriors and their families in clinical and non-clinical settings.
In addition to training teachers, Warriors at Ease offers direct services to active duty members, veterans and their families. Our programs are focused in three areas:
- Retreats for Service Members, Veterans, Family Members and Gold Star Families
- Programs for Veteran Students in Collaboration with Veteran-Friendly Colleges and Universities
- Yoga/Meditation Classes on Military Installations, in VA Facilities, and in Community-Based Settings
Though Warriors at Ease programs have expanded and evolved over the years, our teacher training curriculum and various outreach involve practices and principles that are grounded in an approach that is:
- Informed by the Unique Aspects of Military Culture
Our mission is to increase awareness about the power of yoga and meditation and educate a network of professionals qualified to share evidenced-based practices through programs that support the health and healing of service members, veterans and their families.
Our vision is to integrate yoga and meditation into military and civilian settings to support the health, resiliency, post-traumatic growth, and connection of service members, veterans and their families.
Our four core values define our approach to this important work.
Understanding – The desire for others to be free from suffering while remaining respectful of personal differences and experiences, and aware of a collective responsibility to the greater good.
Vulnerability – The courage to live life while remaining open to change, uncertainty and the unknown. To be human is to be vulnerable. “Vulnerability is the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging, and love.” – Berne Brown
Support – Maintaining space for differing opinions, experiences, and beliefs, and understanding that being supportive looks different depending on the situation.
Health – not only promoting the health of the members of the military community, but also caring for our own health and well-being by promoting and enacting self-care within our own lives.
Authenticity – choosing to be seen and be vulnerable. Living and loving our story, every part of it.
Accountability – Maintaining the highest of standards and holding ourselves and those we work with responsible for the work we do.
Honor – Respecting the abilities, qualities, differences and achievements of others by recognizing and appreciating those qualities. Living up to our commitments. Being truthful with others, ourselves, and our dealings.
Equality – Providing everyone the same opportunities, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, background, gender or any other lifestyle choice.
Growth – a commitment to constantly finding ways to learn and better ourselves for the benefit of ourselves and the community we serve. “There is a place where everything is right, and there is a place where everyone is wrong. I will meet you somewhere in the middle.” – B.K.S. Iyengar
Resiliency – the capacity to persist, adapt and transform in the face of change and adversity in a way that allows us to maintain our values.
Purpose – staying dedicated to helping everyone remember they are — and have always been — worthy and deserving of love and kindness.
Consistency – achieve and maintain a level of performance that supporters, teachers and students can expect from us in all of our work.
Teamwork – Cooperating; using individual skills and providing constructive feedback despite personal differences in a way that is most beneficial to the organization and those that we serve.
Resourcefulness – Continually serve as an authentic, reliable and relevant source of information within the yoga, meditation and mindfulness space.
Humility – Having a sense of curiosity that allows us to acknowledge when we don’t know something, and be open and willing to learn something new.