Current or former military personnel, frontline medical staff and first responders from the Illawarra are being offered free specialised yoga classes to ease stress and improve their mental health.
The classes are run by Frontline Yoga and aim to reduce physical and mental tension in a comfortable space that is welcome for every body.
"I want to get people out of this idea that yoga is for crazy flexible people; I want to get away from this idea that it's for gorgeous, skinny 25-year-old white women," said volunteer instructor Rebecca Davis.
Ms Davis has been practising yoga since the late 1980's but it wasn't until she became sick and bed-ridden with chronic pain in 2015 that she found it could be helpful in other ways.
"Because it [yoga] changed my life so dramatically that was the inspiration to train as a teacher and share," she said.
"Our bodies are not designed to cope with long term stress, and if [someone has] enough of a breakdown - that might be a physical or psychological breakdown - it's the end result of being under so much stress.
"That has drawn me to the frontline population because they are facing the most horrific stress that most of us can't imagine.
"But at the same time, stress affects everyone and everybody has different sorts of stress."
Ms Davis said there would be no great expectations of doing headstands or extended back bends, but rather for people to be in a safe environment where their personal space is respected.
"All of the Frontline's classes are trauma informed, so we want to create conditions where people feel safe," she said.
"The classes are very slow and very predictable, there's a lot of repetition, we don't want to overwhelm people by giving them too many instructions and we want people to be able to tune into their bodies and move their bodies in ways that are comfortable."
She said her students mostly report they are able to learn a sense of calm and the "uncontrolled thinking" they are often drawn to disappears.
There will be two sessions aimed at current/ex-serving/retired military veterans this month, one at Albion Park RSL on October 22 and another at Corrimal RSL on October 23 - though others can join the class.
Ms Davis also takes weekly Frontline classes at WEA Illawarra on Tuesday nights and Wednesday mornings, while many other online classes can be taken via the organisation's website https://frontlineyoga.com.au/
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