by Dudley Evenson
Inspite of our life long aversion to war, my husband, Dean Evenson and I have found a way we can “support the troops” while still remaining true to our core values. Since so many people coming back from battle are suffering from extreme physical and emotional wounds, we were looking for a way to really put our Peace Through Music mission to work. Since 1979, we have been producing music for healing and yoga and the popularity of our music with healthcare practitioners and everyday people made us realize it could possibly be of benefit to soldiers returning from combat and suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
We decided to reach out to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, often the first stateside landing hospital for wounded soldiers returning from war. When we contacted the head chaplain there, Major John Kallerson, we found that he had already used some of Dean Evenson’s CDs in his own healing. Once he realized that he had personally experienced the benefits of Dean’s music, he was enthusiastic about making it available for his patients and began to include it in the Wounded Warrior Kit given out at the hospital.
Chaplain Kallerson told us “The music helps our patients focus on their healing and not the chronic pain they endure constantly. The soothing music of Healing Sanctuary and Healing Dreams provides a needed respite from the dreams and flashbacks of the terrors that our wounded have seen and experienced. It is helpful for them to relax and not dwell on the bad dreams or images that they can see… Some find them very helpful to get to sleep.”
Inspired by this feedback, we began to research the effects of war and the stress disorders that often plague veterans of violent conflict and learned that music can offer an antidote to some of the emotional traumas experienced. We put together a Relaxation Basic Training Guide to help returning soldiers in their healing process. Couched in military terms, the booklet presented concepts of Nada Yoga or the Yoga of Sound and shared many techniques that are actually ancient yogic practices incorporating breath, muscle relaxation, meditation and mantra.
During two separate visits, we performed our peaceful music of flute and harp interspersed with teachings about relaxation and sound healing. Looking back on the content of our offering to these wounded troops and medical professionals, we realized we were actually sharing the basics of yoga and meditation. Although we didn’t demonstrate any postures, the foundation of the information we offered was yoga. From breathing demonstrations to relaxation to affirmations and mantra, we were able to educate these service people about this ancient practice. Hopefully our story will inspire people to reach out in their own communities to offer yoga, music, massage and other healing modalities to veterans who are in such desperate need of healing. The benefit is for the veterans, their families, and the community at large. It’s never too late to plant seeds of peace.
Click here to Download Relaxation Basic Training Manual
These are the CDs they have used at Walter Reed – Sound Healing, Healing Waters, Healing Sanctuary, Healing Dreams, Ocean Dreams, Eagle River, Eagle River DVD. Click here for Memorial Day Sale