Volunteer Spotlight: Joan Phillips

By April Bertram

“I wanted to build up the Veterans and share the importance of mindfulness, and wanted to be a part of making a difference.”

Joan Phillips, VYP Teacher, MRT Graduate & Regional Mental Health Clinician

The Importance of Mindfulness. The Importance of Making a Difference.

“What I bring when I teach is not just yoga, but how to allow the participant to accept where there at with no judgement. It is there individual practice not mine and we need to meet them where there at,” Joan continues.

Joan became passionate about Veterans Yoga Project after completing one of their Mindful Resilience Trainings.

“I wanted to build up the Veterans and share the importance of mindfulness, and wanted to be a part of making a difference,” says Joan. This inspiration was further ignited by hearing Deb Jeannette, the current president of the board of the directors, speak at an event.

Learning to navigate life while dealing with post traumatic stress is something Joan understands on a personal level.

“I suffer from PTSD and can relate to triggers,” says Joan. “30% of veterans suffer from PTSD.”

Joan now serves as the Regional Mental Health Clinician. She is also a self-described traveling yoga teacher, providing yoga to people of all ages and levels of ability. She was also able to teach a class at the Cradle of Aviation in Uniondale for veterans, serving as the chair yoga alternative to the mat practice option.

“[It was] offered to allow veterans the choice of a chair or a mat,” says Joan.

Yoga: A Place of Meeting People Where They Are

Joan is so grateful to be a part of an organization that spans the country, as well as multiple countries across the globe. She is equally grateful for the men, women, and families who are in the armed forces, and feels her work with Veterans Yoga Project is one way to give back and say thank you.

“Anything I can do to help, I am there,” she says.

But Joan knows the work isn’t done yet.

“We need to continue to work to share yoga; truly helps the veterans with their concentration,” says Joan. “The best is seeing the transformation and hearing from the veterans themselves on improvements in their physical and mental health and the sense of community which veterans lose when coming back.”

And if there is anything Joan hopes others can do, it’s to bloom into themselves and never stop on your own personal journey. 

“Carry yourself with confidence, wear your passion with pride and keep moving forward!”