Through yoga, Stephen Redmon ’80 teaches people to cope with trauma.
Following multiple deployments, a young veteran was suffering from severe PTSD when Stephen Redmon ’80 met him two years ago. The veteran’s unit had one of the highest suicide rates in the Army, and his family was concerned for his well-being. “They were at their wits’ end,” says Redmon. So the veteran attended one of Redmon’s yoga retreats, in Cuba, and “it worked,” says Redmon. There was a noticeable improvement in the young soldier’s PTSD, and he’ll be participating in the same retreat in December.
“These practices allow people to heal themselves,” says Redmon, who is a yoga/meditation life coach, lawyer, and business consultant. “We have everything within; sometimes a person just needs a guide.”
Redmon leads yoga retreats around the world through his business, Nomder Yoga. Helping people — often veterans — cope with trauma is his specialty.
A veteran himself, Redmon worked for the Department of Defense and then as special assistant to the general counsel of the Department of Veterans Affairs, from which he retired in 2018. The military now incorporates yoga and meditation into its physical training “because they’ve realized it is an integral part of total wellness for the soldier,” he explains.
Redmon taught himself yoga — through reading and practice — at Colgate as a way to overcome his own trauma from growing up in Harlem, surrounded by violence and rampant drug use.
“I spent a lot of time in Chapel House,” he says. “I just had to walk up the hill and it was like I was in another world.” The extensive book and music collection helped Redmon hone his meditation practice.
As a lifelong learner, he continues to deepen his understanding of yoga and holistic health to better serve others. Redmon earned his advanced yoga teacher qualifications at Kripalu Yoga Center and is currently studying for an international yoga therapist certification.
Based in Woodbridge, Va., he works with a variety of groups through Nomder Yoga — from Girl Scout troops to Christian groups. Last summer, he co-facilitated the first iteration of the Kripalu School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership, which included an 11-day venture to the top of Mount Greylock (the highest point in Massachusetts). This summer, he led an outdoor experience for the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance.
And Redmon even initiates impromptu group yoga — sometimes advertising pop-up events with only 24 hours’ notice, and other times in the spur of the moment. One day, while driving past the National Mall, he pulled over, grabbed 25 hula hoops from his trunk, and within five minutes had children, tourists, and police officers moving their bodies.
“It’s a labor of love,” says Redmon, who also teaches yoga at George Washington University. “There is a need for bringing people together across all types of racial, religious, and gender lines. I am enjoying being a part of the healing for individuals and communities.”