Jon Greuel knows firsthand about combat stress. Deployed with the U.S. Air Force to Iraq, he practiced yoga and mind-body awareness techniques to reduce his anxiety. Colleagues noticed, and soon he was teaching these skills to others. Jon documented the benefits of this practice—including reduced levels of anxiety and improved functions such as sleep—but he wanted to learn more. After retiring from the military in 2012, Jon completed a professional certificate in Mindfulness Studies at Lesley, where he added mindfulness to his understanding of the mind-body connection and delved into its relationship to neuroscience.
“We’re just beginning to document what people who have practiced mindfulness have known all along,” he says. “Mindfulness doesn’t just make you feel better; there’s brain science behind it.” Jon co-founded Humanity Moves in Dallas, Texas, a nonprofit that provides support for veterans with PTSD, homeless children, and parolees through expressive movement, yoga, and mindfulness.
Jon’s inside perspective on the military, combined with his love of teaching, have made him a leader in the emerging field of mindfulness studies. “Mindfulness training gives people control over how they deal with stress,” he says.