In December of 2016, I completed NYA’s RYT-200 program. Currently, I am working on the next 3 certifications at the 300-500 hour level. Although I had practiced yoga personally for some time, I began pursuing certification following my youngest child’s sudden regression into non-verbal autism. As I am sure the VA is aware, autism disproportionately affects the children of U.S. service members and veterans. It is my hope to continue my studies to become a yoga therapist so that I may offer yoga therapy to autistic children and their parents and caregivers.

I began offering private training and semi-private small group training almost immediately after receiving my certification. Three months later my husband (now also RYT-200) and I began working with the city of Folly Beach, SC’s City Council to open a business offering public and semi-private classes and private training on the island. We have also opened two smaller businesses operating on Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island this year. We are currently hosting two other yoga business weekly as well as hiring additional yoga teachers for our Folly Beach location to assist with the overflow of business. Additionally, I have been able to offer my yoga fitness services to a local non-profit which primarily works with veterans suffering from PTSD and their families, and in June we will begin offering a yoga fitness class specifically for autism parents and caregivers.

NYA has given me the opportunity to obtain the certification and skills needed to build a sustainable business that improves the emotional and physical well-being of my own family, other veterans, and the general public.

Jennifer StevensVeteran


 “When I retired from the military, the transition left me directionless, and I suffered a depression that was deep and dark. Nothing but old age to suffer in the years ahead of me, and since I was suffering pain in my knees, hip, foot, and shoulder, the future looked bleak. I have previously studied yoga with National Yoga Academy, so I thought I would start to try to move again. I contacted the school, and discussed my physical issues ( I finally had shoulder surgery) and they encouraged me to return to yoga, and take the 100 & 200 hour certification tests. I have just completed the first test and will complete the second by the end of June 2017. The process has been a life saver, I now have a plan to teach locally on base as well as a few studios in town and even though I have limitations from my surgically repaired knees and shoulders, I have learned that I can still do yoga and learn a new view toward my future. Using my GI Bill benefits, I am looking forward to working with vets in my future classes- and knowing about pain as I do, I will encourage them no matter what their limitations might be. I have hope for my own future and I look forward to giving back to others who aren’t so sure the future is bright for them.”

-Carol LazzaroVeteran

I have been an online student of the National Yoga Academy since February 2017. Since then I have completed 100 hours of my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training. My experience with the instructors and curriculum have all been very positive. With the flexibility and especially the use of my GI Bill education benefits I would not have been able to afford to become a yoga instructor as this was the only VA approved Yoga Teacher Training I could find saving me over $4,000.00.

Prior to wanting to be a yoga instructor I served 5 years in the active duty Air Force as a Chinese Linguist before transferring to the Air National Guard as a Medical Technician. While active duty I had the opportunity to deploy for 5 months to Bagram Afghanistan. The time I spent overseas and after returning home were not easy. I struggled with insomnia, loss of appetite and anxiety. Unfortunately this is not an uncommon story for many veterans today. I believe the physical and meditative practices of yoga are what have brought me to where I am today.

It is my hope that after completing my teacher training tests to not only will I have a marketable skill to bring to the work force that I truly believe in and have benefited from, but that I will also be able to offer the same tools to other veterans like myself who are in need of some healing. I am very grateful to the National Yoga Academy team for participating in the GI Bill program, I hope more will follow in their footsteps.

-Madison PetittoVeteran

My name is Matt and recently received my 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) from the National Yoga Academy (NYA). I came to yoga as a veteran with physical and emotional pain that made it difficult to maintain employment in the field I had went to school for. When I left my job last August, I was under a lot of stress and increased my yoga practice as a way to cope. I had been practicing yoga for years in order to keep my emotions balanced and manage my lower back pain. 

NYA’s program was outstanding. It offered flexible schedules for certification, and highlighted the business end of yoga so that I was prepared to make a career out of this work. I graduated NYA’s program in April and am in the process of starting up a business that offers adaptive yoga practice to senior citizens at nursing homes and in retirement communities around Florida. If it were not for NYA’s program, none of this would be possible. Yoga teacher training is expensive and there is no way I would have been able to afford a shot at this new career without the GI Bill. I plan to use my remaining benefits to eventually seek follow-on yoga/yoga therapy certifications.

-Matthew MartinVeteran

“I am so grateful for the program at the National Yoga Academy.  In my transition out of the military, yoga classes offered a safe place for me to regain and maintain my health in civilian life.  I first took classes for several years as a student.  During that time, I was also struggling with addiction and post-traumatic stress from events which happened during my time in service.

Earning my teacher certification has allowed me to achieve deeper recovery and also work with veterans and other individuals similarly struggling with recovery from addiction and post-traumatic stress.  I have spent my first year of practicum courses doing service work for that population alone.

Also of importance for me was the ability to take the training in a flexible format.  The only other alternative for certification through the GI Bill is through Yogafit.  Their trainings are regionally located, occur over concentrated weekends and would likely result in significant additional and out-of-pocket expenses for travel, hotel, food, etc.  The distance format offered through NYA provided the support and structure I needed to finish but also the flexibility to work within my schedule

Now that I have my certification and have placed a particular twist on it based on my background, I have started teaching for pay and am pursuing multiple opportunities in my local community to continue to do this great work.   My work can be done on a part-time, full-time and/or flexible basis and designed to meet the needs and interests of me as the instructor as well as the varied populations which I will serve.  Yoga instruction is a viable career option for those transitioning out of the military.”

-Gina SwansonVeteran