Healing Veterans Through Yoga
Anthony Scaletta, a 36 year old veteran that served two tours in and around Iraq, says, “Yoga has completely changed everything for me. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say it saved me because I was on a destructive path at different times in my life and it kept me from going in the wrong direction. Then it allowed me to grow beyond that and it’s become a way of life for me.”
Anthony’s overseas service in the Navy during Operation Enduring Freedom included hours in small boats in and around Iraq as he and his fellow sailors inserted and extracted SEAL platoons. The punishing impact on his spine from the force of the boat against the water led to chronic back pain, which only intensified in 2003 when Anthony left the Navy. He had served his country with honor, but that service left physical and emotional marks.
He found that stretching helped ease the physical symptoms, and even began to study yoga on his own, but finally required spinal fusion surgery in 2007 to try to repair the extensive damage done to his body. In 2010, he began a serious pursuit of his yoga practice, which led him on a path to Asheville Yoga Center where he completed his 200-hour teacher training in 2014.
Following his graduation, he returned to western Pennsylvania to teach yoga regularly in his community, including classes in flow and restorative yoga. Having found comfort and support through this own yoga practice, and inspired to bring the healing powers of yoga to fellow veterans, he completed the certification for Mindful Yoga Therapy from the Give Back Yoga Foundation. The certification is specifically designed from those living with post-traumatic stress disorder, a balm for the soul through an intentional yoga practice.
Moving forward, Scaletta is committed to pursuing his own practice and looks forward serving others by guiding fellow veterans through the unique Mindful Yoga Therapy.
Anthony’s story reminds us to keep the view of our practice open and expansive; a journey—never a destination. It’s also a real-life example of the ways yoga can enrich our lives and the lives of others, both through the physical transformation from pain to comfort and the emotional evolution from inner turmoil to peace of mind.