YWI - Yoga Warriors International

Yoga Warriors International (YWI) is designed specifically to assist soldiers,  veterans, and first responders in coping with Post Traumatic Stress, as well as, the daily and specific stresses that service members are experience. The classes are also open to those experiencing other high stress environments; in addition to the caregivers and family members of those affected.

YWI classes are helpful for anyone who has experienced trauma. Erin offers an inspirational and insightful connection to living fearlessly with ease. Authenticity, joy, and positive essence make her classes fun, inviting, and relaxing for everyone.

YWI logo

Information below is from YWI website.

How Can Yoga Help?

Yoga’s physical postures promote healthy, flexible bodies and often provide relief from pain. The class is so gentle that veterans, many of whom have other health conditions or serious physical limitations, find the postures comfortable and easy to do.

Yoga directly addresses the fight-or-flight response, which is at the heart of PTS. The fight-or-flight response is a reaction that prepares the body to fight or flee from a perceived threat. Because yoga deals directly with the mind-body connection, it helps veterans retrain the fight-or-flight response. Now, when they confront a situation that triggers their memories, instead of resorting to aggression or fear, they have other options: deep breathing, for example, as a means to self-calm.

Other benefits include:

  • The release of emotional issues.
  • Help towards relaxing and strengthening the body.
  • Unfreezing bad memories and creating new bodily memories.
  • Giving feelings of joy and personal empowerment.
  • The mind becomes more clear and open.
  • It produces acceptance of the self.
  • Life feels better balanced.
  • It allows one to safely express stored emotions such as guilt, shame, anger, sadness, and grief, so those feelings can be understood and integrated.
  • A regular yoga practice helps alleviate symptoms of PTS including anger, anxiety, depression, guilt, and paranoia.

As a certified YWI, Yoga Warriors International teacher, Erin Doty has the honor of sharing yoga with active and retired military, veterans, families and caregivers, first responders, amputees, any persons affected by PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disease) & COSR (Combat Operational Stress Response), TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), and anyone who has experienced trauma.  Erin is registered with Yoga Alliance #184286, is insured, and trained in CPR, AED, and first aid.

HK HIGHER KNOWING is the first to offer YWI classes in Fort Collins, Colorado and along the Front Range.  

HK was the first to offer YWI in the New River Valley, Virginia.


The Effect of Sensory Enhanced Hatha Yoga on Symptoms of Combat Stress in Deployed Military Personnel. Stoller, C.C., Greuel, J.H., Cimini, L.S., Fowler, M.S., & Koomar, J.A.

Click here to read the entire study.

Seventy U.S. military personnel stationed in Kirkuk, Iraq, participated in the randomized experimental/control group study in October 2009. The study was a formal collaboration between Yoga Warriors/Central Mass Yoga and Wellness, Inc., the US Army Institute of Surgical Research (USAISR), and Jon Greuel, Major, USAF, Principle Investigator.

Air Force instructor pilot, Major Jon Greuel, served as the Principal Investigator. He was deployed to Kirkuk, Iraq, from November 2008 to November 2009 teaching Iraqis primary and instrument flying. Major Greuel is a certified yoga instructor who taught yoga in his off-duty hours while deployed in Iraq.

The study was the brainchild of Major Greuel, after recognizing the need for empirically-based methodologies to ease the transition from "battle-ready" in preparation or response to a threat, back to a normal arousal state once the requirement for vigilance has passed. Major Greuel found that helping tense and often restless military personnel to relax completely was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of his deployment. The purpose of the study, as Major Greuel so aptly put it, was to help our military troops develop proactive traumatic stress management to avoid developing post-traumatic stress disorder. Major Greuel contacted Lucy Cimini, founder of the Yoga Warriors program to initiate a research collaboration.

How Yoga Has Helped Heal the Wounds of War - Testimonials

What is PTSD?

PTSD is described by the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress as being "an anxiety disorder that can occur after you have been through a traumatic event. A traumatic event is something horrible and scary that you see or that happens to you.

During this type of event, you think that your life or others' lives are in danger. You may feel afraid or feel that you have no control over what is happening.” Anyone who has been through a traumatic or life-threatening event can develop PTSD. These events can include natural disasters, car accidents, terrorist attacks, physical assaults, abuse, rape, and many other types of events.

Some common symptoms associated with PTSD include reliving the event over and over, nightmares, avoiding thoughts or people associated with the traumatic event, numbing, feeling keyed up, difficulty sleeping or staying asleep, a feeling of detachment, irritability, difficulty concentrating, an exaggerated startle response, headaches, and chronic pain.


Contact Erin to schedule a YWI yoga private class or group event.