The Yoga Class will be led by Angela Ohmer and Yusra Kauppila
Veteran Yoga Q&A Panel
This is an opportunity for members of the yoga community to ask any questions they may have about how to better serve veterans through yoga. This is also a good opportunity for any veterans in the area to join us for a free class and find out from other veterans that have experienced healing through yoga, why it works, and how they can incorporate a yoga practice into their lives. The panel will be led by Evan Ahlin, Sonny Bagsic, Yusra Kauppila and Angela Ohmer.
Evan Ahlin is an active-duty Marine currently
serving as a Combat Camera Chief. During his 15 years of service, Evan had five deployments, serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan as an Artilleryman. During his fifth deployment, in Afghanistan, Evan was injured in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast. The blast left Evan with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After being evacuated from Afghanistan and returning home, Evan spent four years in recovery. He received treatment at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence where he learned meditation techniques through HeartMath breathing. Keeping an open mind, Evan participated in many activities geared towards recovery and mental health. In addition to paddle boarding and triathlons, Evan participated in the Tug McGraw Foundation’s photography-based healing program, fStop Warrior Project. Despite his medical limitations, Evan was determined to remain on active duty, ultimately transitioning from artillery to combat camera. He continues to put the skills he learned through fStop to use in his new position and he uses yoga as a tool to assist with his physical and mental post-traumatic growth.
Sonny Bagsic discovered yoga in the summer of 2011 after serving 6 months in Afghanistan. While serving in the U.S. military for 14 years, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, he was looking for balance in his life after dealing with daily military stressors and continuous operations. After returning from Afghanistan, Sonny was introduced to yoga and took his first yoga class. He fell in love with yoga and noticed a significant change in his life. Not only did yoga improve his physical conditioning and deepening his yoga practice, but it opened new doors and opportunities in his life. As a health care professional (U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman) in the military, he dedicated his career in helping others around him. Sonny wanted to continue helping others after he completed his military service. His passion for health and fitness led him to completing CorePower Yoga Sculpt Teacher Training in March 2012, certifying in Power Yoga (C1, C1.5 & C2) and CoreRestore. In addition, he has lead & coached the CorePower Yoga BootCamps, and coached Yoga Sculpt Teacher Training and Power Teacher Training. He continues his education and furthering his career in the medical field in pursing his Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health. In helping to to give back to the military community, he has taught classes for the Wounded Warrior Project and co-taught the Stretch4Vets yoga class for Embrace on the USS Midway. As a mentor and instructor on and off the mat, Sonny strives to “Motivate, Inspire, and Challenge” himself and those around him.
Yusra Kauppila is the Director of Warriors for Healing, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping service members and veterans mitigate the effects of PTSD through mindfulness practices. She served in the U. S. Marine Corps as a Russian Linguist. In 2004, she deployed to Ar Ramadi, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Yusra’s mindfulness practice began in 2009, using guided meditation to help reduce stress during pregnancy. In 2012, she was introduced to Corepower, where she began her yoga journey. Attracted to the physical challenge, Yusra became a regular at the studio and quickly realized the benefits were more than just physical. Proud of her boots to barefoot transition and eager to deepen her understanding she attended a 200-hour teacher training program at School of Healing Arts. During this program she realized a lot of past traumas were coming to the surface. Ten years after returning home from war, this was her first realization that she was suffering from PTSD. She sought treatment at a VA hospital, going through one of their mindfulness-based therapy programs. While working through her PTSD and eager to merge her yoga practice with her healing she found Warriors for Healing and was awarded a scholarship to attend Deep Yoga’s Mastery of Life 200-hour teacher training. During this second teacher training, she began teaching to other service members. Yusra has dedicated much of her teaching to those suffering from traumas. She works at an inpatient treatment facility with students that are in recovery for drug and alcohol addiction as well as some suffering from emotional disturbances. She teaches yoga classes for Wounded Warrior Project and leads the faculty for the Warriors for Healing training for yoga teachers. Yusra is proud to have completed her Adaptive Yoga training with Mind Body Solutions, furthering her ability to bring yoga to any population, regardless of physical disabilities, illness or trauma.
Angela Ohmer is a yogini, world traveler, yoga instructor and massage therapist. She combines her knowledge of the human anatomy with her meditation practice to help practitioners fully immerse themselves in a mind-body connection on their mats. She brings her 20+ years of experience as a former military (USMC) spouse into her teaching practice. She creates a practice that is effortlessly meditative while being physically invigorating. Angela has taught numerous styles of yoga including both hot and traditional and has held specialized workshops focusing on therapeutic yoga practices for the neck and back, along with informative workshops for runners. Angela started her yoga practice many years ago but became a consistent student during her husband’s first deployment to Iraq. It was the only way she could find to shift her mind away from worrying to focusing on her breath patterns and the physical sensations in her body. Traveling to Nasik, India, Angela studied traditional Hatha under Sir Vishwar Madlik at Yoga Vidya Dham College of India and has since brought her knowledge and experience to Japan and various studios in the U.S. While stationed in Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Angela brought her yoga training to various events held both on and off base. She also provided Marine Corps unit physical trainings, free of charge, in the studio she previously owned just outside of Marine Corps Base Quantico. With her life journey most recently bringing her to San Diego, CA, Angela immediately began contributing her insights and experience to Warriors for Healing with hopes that her experiences both on and off the mat could help military families adjust to a new “normal” in the aftermath of war.
Some of the frequently asked questions from past workshops have included:
Where is the best place to reach out to veterans?
Are there poses we shouldn’t do in classes for veterans with trauma?
How can I get veterans to trust me?
If you would like to have your questions answered, please join us for this free event!