Making a Difference: Helping local veterans heal through meditation and yoga

A local yoga instructor who is a veteran is doing what he can to help warriors heal after serving our country, after he went through the same. (WJAC)

GEISTOWN, PA (WJAC) - We're just a few weeks away from memorial day and a local meditation and yoga studio is helping veterans cope with physical and mental pain when they return home from serving our country.

In this week's Making a Difference, we learn about one of the instructors who sacrificed for our country and his mission to help other warriors heal.

Finding a sense of wholeness. Anthony Scaletta couldn't find that. After serving two combat tours in the Middle East. He ran away to Europe to find a way to cope before going home to Johnstown.

“The reality of to reintegrate into civilian life hit me pretty quickly and I started to struggle with chronic pain, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse,” Scaletta said.

While serving, Scaletta would be on high alert for days at a time, in dangerous situations. His nervous system took a hit and his body wasn't the same.

“I was in the special forces, I operated jet boats and they slammed off the waves so my body at only 24-years-old was already very broken,” Scaletta said.

Until mindfulness meditation and yoga found him.

"I eventually a spinal fusion surgery but it was through the physical pain in my spine and my legs that I found myself on the floor doing yoga even though it was kind in intuitive,” Scaletta said.

Now, Scaletta teaches at Just Breathe Mindful Movement Studio in Geistown, where they're getting ready to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and help local veterans in need.

On Saturday, people will put meditation cushions together. Each will be assembled in honor of a fallen warrior from West-Central Pennsylvania. Then the group will meditate with the canvas bags full of buckwheat hulls.

It's part of Armor Down's, an innovative organization, Mindful Memorial Day Foundation and Bridge Project.

The cushions will go to Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day and will be used to take the time to remember those who served our country at their graves.

They will then be passed onto veterans in our area to use for meditation.

“We want to help provide them tool that can help them move on in their lives in a positive way. They've served us and we need to help them be served as they come back and try to bring them back to some normalcy of life,” said Lynne McQuillan who is the owner of Just Breathe Mindful Movement Studios. She has two locations, one in Westmont and one in Geistown.

Through their efforts, they're bridging the gap between different communities.

“We’re just about reaching out and trying to make as many connections as possible,” McQuillan said.

And helping veterans heal, one cushion at a time.

“The tools of yoga and meditation have literally saved my life, it's why I teach and share these practices. I'm doing the work I’m doing because I whole heartedly believe in it and I know there is a possibility for everyone out there, veteran or not, to use these tools to come back to wholeness. That could mean a little more ease and happiness in their life," Scaletta said.

The cushion-assembling class will be this Saturday 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at their studio in Geistown. They may not have enough cushions but you can go if you'd like and make a donation.

Then anyone can attend the mindful Memorial Day class. That will be Monday, May 28th 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. This will also be at their studio in Geistown. They will actually be watching Scaletta live as he visits the local fallen warrior's gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery.

Any local veterans or anyone at all is welcome to attend their classes each week.

They are taking donations until memorial day. You can contact them for more information by visiting their website here.

Here is the Facebook page about the events, click here.

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