Marine Corp Veteran Tim Foley was finding it hard to maintain his goals of living a healthy lifestyle while balancing his other responsibilities and conforming to physical distancing.

In April, Foley received an invitation from Coatesville VA Medical Center, inviting him to participate in an introductory live online yoga session.

Army combat Veteran and yoga instructor Dan Nevins

In January, Ompractice entered into a partnership with Coatesville offering 16 weeks of free access for Veterans participating in self-management programs for chronic pain, diabetes, weight loss and evidence-based treatment for mental health.

While some sessions are held during business hours, when Veterans may have schedule conflicts, Ompractice sessions are available at more convenient times.

Instructor is Army combat Veteran  

Foley knew he wanted to do better at living a healthy lifestyle and accepted the invitation. Once he received the link and an access code via e-mail, Foley joined the first session provided by Coatesville VAMC.

When the screen opened, Army combat Veteran and yoga instructor Dan Nevins greeted participants. Nevins has a unique view into each participants’ makeshift home yoga studio.

The photo composite above is Nevin’s view during the yoga session. He sees all the participants while they only see him. Foley appears in the lower left screen.

“I’m in my living room. I don’t have to go to the VA and I can be comfortable in my own skin,” said Foley. “I don’t have to worry about other people and what I look like.”

Nevins watches Veterans as he instructs them during a live online yoga session. An assistant demonstrates each pose in the background.

How different parts of the body work together

Nevins, a wounded warrior, credits his own recovery from combat injuries to yoga. He leads the sessions while an assistant demonstrates each pose in the background.

With newcomers, Nevins works to establish body awareness, the sense of the position of different parts of the body and how they work together.

Nevins described Foley’s awareness at the start.

“Tim didn’t know where his knees were in space,” Nevins said. “In the experience of the 30 minutes of practice, I saw him become more aware of his body. By the end, there was some sort of waking up that happened there.”

“I look forward to more classes”

What did Foley think of the live online class?

“I think overall it was a great experience,” Foley said. “Dan personalized the session for me. He explained the pose each time. It felt like I was a part of something bigger. I look forward to the ability to hop on to more classes in the future to hold me accountable.”

Mike Hamill is the public affairs officer for the Community and Congressional Affairs, Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

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Published on May. 28, 2020

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