Daley Uses Yoga to Reduce Stress and Anxiety for Veterans and Military Families

Headshot of yoga instructor Sarah Daley
Yoga instructor Sarah Daley has spent countless hours at Otis Air National Guard Base offering moments of peace, rest, and calm to service members and military spouses as well as cadets training to be in the Air Force.

Occasionally, she has taught classes inside the same hangar where her father, the late Pasquale LaGambina, once worked as a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard. “I could look up and see where his office was and I always felt like he was watching over me,” Daley said. “I think he would be really proud of the work I am doing to help other service members not go through what he went through.”

While her father, who also served in the Air Force and was a Korean War veteran, was part of a generation that never really asked for help, that has changed. Today, programs like the ones Heroes In Transition (HIT) offers give meaningful support to those who serve and have served as well as their family members.

In recent years, Daley has played an integral role in these efforts, leading yoga classes on the base twice a week. One was a lunchtime program for anyone who worked on the base as well as their spouses. Another was a nighttime yoga practice that was primarily for spouses of Coast Guard personnel.

Heroes In Transition funded those classes as well as one for those stationed at Coast Guard Station Woods Hole. All have been halted temporarily due to the pandemic.

Daley has also conducted yoga workshops at a Heroes In Transition date night for military couples as well as following trainings for Ruck4HIT participants. And during our Families In Transition (FIT) Camp, a weeklong experience that allows military families to bond and connect with horses, Daley has led yoga classes.

A runner, Daley started practicing yoga “to help me relax,” she said. “When I was running marathons, I took a lot of trainings about the benefits of yoga for stress management, depression, and anxiety.”

Through her connection with HIT – Daley has volunteered at our Fall Gala, run the Ruck4HIT in 2017, and raised funds for us as a runner on our Falmouth Road Race team – Daley was introduced to Jill Garvin, Director of Psychological Health for the 102nd Intelligence Wing at Otis. That is when we started sponsoring yoga classes on the base that were led by Daley. “We wanted to see how we could use yoga to help members of the 102nd in dealing with stress and anxiety and to offer relaxation,” Daley said. “All of it was very positive.”  

On Saturday, March 13, 5-6:30 pm, Daley will hold her latest yoga workshop – this one is for those currently serving as well as veterans – at the Sportsite Health and Racquet Club on Cotuit Road in Sandwich.

It will serve as an introduction to yoga and show how the practice can benefit your physical and mental health. “You use slow, mindful movements and long, mindful breaths to reduce stress and to reduce anxiety,” Daley said. “If you practice yoga and meditation, or even breathing exercises, it can help combat depression.”

As the daughter of a veteran who struggled with PTSD, Daley said, the classes she is teaching through HIT “is the most satisfying work that I do. Being involved with Heroes has given me a lot of insight into the struggles my father had and it has healed a lot of wounds.”

If you’re currently serving or a veteran interested in attending our free Yoga Workshop on Saturday, March 13, contact us at veterans@heroesintransition.org. Due to health and safety restrictions and because space is limited, you must register in advance to attend!