Allison Sage is an emerging leader of the veteran yoga community in Denver, Colorado. Allison began practicing yoga in 2012 after returning from a combat tour in Afghanistan. She views her yoga practice as a fundamental component of her recovery from PTS and depression. Her mission is to share trauma-informed yoga with fellow veterans who are struggling to adapt back to civilian life.

Part of Allison’s interest in our Service Leadership Corps program was to further improve her community outreach, as she hopes to bring trauma-informed yoga classes to her public classes as a way to empower everyone to find healing through yoga.

We interviewed Allison to get a deeper understanding of her perspective as a woman veteran.

Allison Sage and fellow Service Leadership Corps members serving in Newark, New Jersey.

What was your experience in the military?

There were multiple challenges to being a woman in the military. The physical requirements and strength required are designed for men, and most of the equipment and uniforms are larger than is comfortable. Misogyny, harassment, and assaults are all much more common occurrences than I had expected when I joined to service, but I knew that some of it was to be expected.

Allison Sage working with fellow Service Leadership Corps members on problem-solving through human-centered design.

What was your greatest challenge after the military?

Transitioning back into civilian life has been the most challenging task I have ever lived with. I lost parts of myself while I was deployed, and it is hard to find people that are willing to help support someone while they try to heal themselves. A challenge I feel as a woman is that my experiences often feel diminished or disregarded. There seems to be little interest in the experiences and ideas about the woman veteran’s experiences, and when no one seems interested it feels easier to pretend that the experiences didn’t happen or weren’t important.

My greatest challenge that I still face is learning how to stand up for myself, and sometimes stand up to myself. I struggle with owning my voice and sharing my feelings. I catch myself having extremely offensive or misogynist thoughts that I know I did not have prior to being in the military. Now I have to work to remove the biases I have learned to find a more peaceful way of being.

Allison Sage, fellow Service Leadership Corps members, and program advisors during a workshop.

How does your involvement with The Mission Continues figure into your journey?

My involvement with TMC has been incredible. I am learning skills to help identify where I already have strengths, and how to share those strengths to improve my communities. I am passionate about yoga for the veteran community, as I have found incredible relief through my own yoga practice. I feel that as a woman veteran that is striving to make an impact in the veteran yoga community, I will be able to bridge the gap between the military service world and the yoga world.

What is something you would like to say with other women veterans?

The problems that we all faced, tolerated, and fought against are real. They are not going to change unless we are willing to speak up and out for ourselves and each other. We can make change by courageously sharing, and being boldly unapologetic to those that would feel more comfortable with us staying silent.