Yoga for Student Veterans at a Higher Education Institution - A Feasibility Study

There is an increased need to support US military service members’ and veterans’ considering the increased prevalence of mental disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. There is also a need to support veterans seeking higher education opportunities through the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The proposed intervention sought to support student veterans’ mental health and academic success at a higher education institution through a 6-week yoga intervention. A total of 5 male student veterans and 4 female student veterans were recruited. Military service included the US Navy and US Marine Corp. Quantitative results were derived from participants’ responses on the Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale (42 item; DASS-42) before beginning the program and after. One-on-one interviews were conducted to provide qualitative feedback about the benefits and weaknesses of the program. There was no statistical difference in DASS-42 total or subscale scores, but participants indicated they learned to breathe and relax more after the program, compared to before. They iterated they were less stressed or worried during class and immediately following class. Participants recommended future programs should maintain small class sizes to build rapport between the students and teacher. Future programs should focus on marketing strategies to appeal and retain more student veterans. The yoga program qualitatively indicates a support system for student veterans at a higher education institution, a place where more support is needed.