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Troops Should Learn Meditation in Basic Training

From Stars and Stripes

By Seth Robson


The Army should start teaching soldiers meditation techniques in basic training to make them more resilient to trauma they might face in combat, according to the author of an upcoming book on military mindfulness.

“Military and Mindful: Eight Essential Elements to Manage Your Military Career and Motherhood,” by Iraq War veteran Benefsheh Verell will be published in December.

The Zama-based Army spouse and former military policewoman said she became interested in meditation after attending a yoga retreat in upstate New York in 2008.

Verell’s goal is to bring mindfulness practices to the Army in a way that’s accessible to troops, she said. She is also involved in training yoga instructors to work in military communities.

“People who are dealing with trauma need some way to process that,” she said.

The Army offers resiliency classes for troops, but the training isn’t consistent across the service, said Verell, who plans to start a mindfulness group for servicemembers on Zama and work with the military to hold workshops on other bases in Japan.

“My dream is to have mindfulness start in basic training and continue throughout the soldier’s career,” she said. “If you give them these skills they will be better prepared to deal with things they might face in combat.”

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