With much attention being given to the alarming rate of suicide and distress among veterans and military troops, a former Bay Area resident has launched a national effort to help save lives and restore families.
Operation BOOTSTRAP combats the psychological wounds of war through the practice of yoga, a modality that can be applied online in the privacy of one’s home.
BOOTSTRAP creator, Eric Walrabenstein, has seen his own life take some twists and turns. Starting his professional career as an infantry officer in the United States Army, he went on to work in marketing for the business and non-profit world, but eventually “followed his calling” to end up as a yoga master. His studio of 11 years, Yoga Pura of Phoenix, Arizona, is one of the largest yoga practices in the Southwest today.
Now, Walrabenstein wants to take his yoga career to a different level of help, by reaching out to service men and women and their families. BOOTSTRAP, the ten-week journey where the participant benefits from a custom in-home, online mind and body workout, was specifically designed for the military and veteran population.
Walrabenstein says that as a Yoga Master, “I've helped thousands of people heal from devastating traumas of all kinds. And hearing the stories of heartbreak and struggle of my former comrades returning from war, I knew with my experience and background, I was uniquely positioned to help.”
The BOOTSTRAP Life Restore Program took three years to develop and combines the ancient wisdom of yoga with modern psychology. Walrabenstein hopes BOOTSTRAP will demonstrate how yoga can help solve very difficult real-world problems. Improving range-of-motion, easing the mind and helping participants get a restful night of sleep, are some of the program’s immediate benefits.
“Most people have a very limited view of what yoga is,” he says, “I can tell you that it is a very powerful healing modality—when properly understood and applied.”
Those using the complete 10-week BOOTSTRAP program not only receive tailored yoga instruction, but have access to online resources such as a forum for communicating with other users, information for family members, guidance from trained BOOTSTRAP experts, and techniques for daily practice in returning the body and mind to their natural relaxed states.
Participating in the fundraising campaign is quick and easy—for $3, a Day of Healing will be provided to a soldier, for $24 a week, and for $99 a month. Walrabenstein encourages funders to “tell 10 friends” to ensure a recipient can participate in the complete 10-week program.
With a staggering 12,000 annual suicide attempts a year by veterans under the care of the Veterans Administration (that’s one attempt every 44 minutes) and half a million troops and veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress and other psychological wounds, Walrabenstein hopes to donate a million days of healing to those in need by December 10.
“After all,” he says, “haven’t our troops and veterans already paid enough?”
To help Operation BOOTSTRAP reach its goals, or to gift a day of healing to a troop or veteran in need, go to www.bootstrapusa.com/give.