From the department of Yoga Isn’t for Wussies comes news that our very own US Military has adopted yoga as part of their new fitness regimen. Great! you say. Peaceful warriors! you cry. Well, kinda sorta. OK not exactly. Will the new recruits look less like Rocky Balboa wannabes and more like yoga and pilates students? Yes sir! But why’s that now? Because they’re too fat to fight! Sir! Or so says a group of retired generals and admirals who actually put out a report this year called, you guessed it, “Too Fat To Fight”.
The NYTimes reports,
Excess weight is the leading reason the Army rejects potential recruits. And while that has been true for years, the problem has worsened as the waistlines of America’s youth have expanded.
Though the Army screens out the seriously obese and completely unfit, it is still finding that many of the recruits who reach basic training have less strength and endurance than privates past. It is the legacy of junk food and video games, compounded by a reduction in gym classes in many high schools, Army officials assert.
As a result, it is harder for recruits to reach Army fitness standards, and more are getting injured along the way.
What does this say to us? #1 We got a big ‘ol weight problem in the US. But we knew that. #2 So many people from your neighbors, to celebs, to athletes and sports heroes have taken on the practice, and yoga has become such an integral part of fitness that even THE ARMY has accepted it. Pin a medal on us and call us bedazzled!
But for the cynics out there, don’t think yoga=easy.
“It’s more whole body,” said First Lt. Tameeka Hayes, a platoon leader for a class of new privates at Fort Jackson. “No one who has done this routine says we’ve made it easier.”
Does this mean there will be less violence? Who knows! Does this mean there will be more fit and mindful folks defending freedom and human rights? We sure hope so. The physical practice is the part most easily recognized, but any yogadork will tell you, after regular practice there are many more leagues under that sea, sergeant.
BONUS: If Lt. Gen. Eric B. Schoomaker has his way, soldiers returning from combat with wounds and/or chronic pain may soon be treated with more alternative treatments to medication such as acupuncture, meditation, biofeedback and yoga . “Schoomaker’s said his goal is to form a pain-management strategy that is holistic, multidisciplinary and puts Soldiers’ quality of life first.” PTSD is also a major issue being addressed with so many related military suicides. This is big stuff. [read more at army.mil]