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Army Yoga Gets Serious About Strength and Stress Relief

in World News, YD News, Yoga Heroes

More yoga in the army news! Great pic above – and no the soldier is not standing on his back! Look closer. (yes they are wearing socks, but that’s a purple mat…baby steps)

This is straight from Army.mil so you know it’s serious. Not only is yoga now included in basic training, we’re seeing it become a regular practice for soldiers stationed around the world, and other U.S. Army posts like Fort Bragg, Fort Jackson, and Fort Meade are now incorporating yoga classes.

Dispatch from Schweinfurt, Germany:

“We were looking for something that would provide a full-body workout, but without the speed,” said Staff Sgt. Stephen Gagne, part of the cadre for USAG Schweinfurt’s WTU and the originator of the idea for the weekly class. “This was something new; it’s low-impact but high-benefit.”

And those benefits are not just about buff biceps. Naturally, there was the initial obstacle course of skepticism that yoga and the image of yoga had to soldier through, ahem. But the results have been undeniable. Besides strength and flexibility and the benefit of injury prevention, yoga has become an invaluable tool for stress relief and managing PTSD.

The discipline and peace that yoga offers can help treat PTSD both as a cure and preventative measure. According to Lisa Mascall, a physical therapist working with the WTU in Schweinfurt, yoga helps Soldiers reduce tension and learn to manage stress. This flexibility can help avoid the shock that often leads to PTSD.

“It adds the ‘mind’ aspect to overall fitness and well-being,” said Mascall. She added that once per week, some members of the unit, and other Soldiers, attend a meditation group at the health clinic, intended to reduce pain and improve sleep without the use of medication.

This is all fabulous, but we would be remiss in not honoring the efforts of teacher Erika Liem Palidar who volunteers her time to teach the 6:45am Wednesday morning classes for the 1st Platoon, Charlie Company, Warrior Transition Batallion-Europe in Schweinfurt, Germany. Heroes, all!

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11 comments… add one

  • So great to continue hearing that the military is grasping the benefits of yoga. My husband is a Marine & I hope to take a teacher training course so I can teach on-base. :)

  • Thanks for sharing this news! My husband is in the Air Force, and I taught yoga classes regularly at the last base where he was stationed, including for a squadron’s morning PT. I’m glad to see that the military is continuing to embrace yoga as a path for their soldiers’ well-being! (And for other military spouses out there, I’d encourage you to check out the military’s MyCAA program: https://aiportal.acc.af.mil/mycaa/User/Spouse/Home.aspx – it’s a scholarship program used to help spouses get training for “portable career fields” and teaching yoga falls into that category!)

  • Thank you for the suggestion, Meg! I have heard of the MyCAA program, but I didn’t know I could use it for yoga training! I’m working on a 2-year college degree right now, but it is all paid for by state grants. Thank you again for the info :D

  • ashley

    I also volunteer teach on post. My husband has been in the Army for 13 years. Most of the guys coming to me have been told to because of back, neck and shoulder injury’s due to long periods of running and ruck marching.

    Im about to do more classes a week I think they need more than 1. This is a great program. I also think this can help with pre combat missions if taught from the right perspective!

  • Diane Callan, Founder of Wellness for Warriors NC

    Excellent Blog topic! We are currently running several YOGA WARRIORS classes for FREE for Combat Veterans and Spouses throughout NC with more to come! More info online at http://www.yogawarriors.com.

    The Yoga Warrior method is designed to provide advanced knowledge and practical tools for yoga teachers working with combat veterans diagnosed with Combat and Operational Stress Reaction (COSR) or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

    Due to demand for these YW classes from soldiers and veterans, we’re now in the process of rolling out another YW teacher training in Charlotte NC from Dec 3-5th! Can you please help to get the word out to any 200 hour yoga teachers who would be interested in this training and helping us to heal the wounds of war one breath at a time? Thanks so much for posting this blog.

    Om Shanti, Diane Callan, Founder of Wellness for Warriors, Morrisville NC 919-650-1806

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  • That is a fantastic program, Diane! Do you know of any yoga teacher training programs or workshops that also focus on teaching yoga to soldiers & vets?

  • Nevermind – I just noticed that you do that kind of training! I’ve been practicing yoga off and on for 10 years, but it is time to take my practice to the next level by learning to teach yoga, especially to soldiers and veterans :)

  • Chris Eder

    I’m a 20-year AF Vet, with multiple deployments. I’m a yoga guide (instructor) who also teaches on-base. Over the past two years, Caserma Ederle in Vicenza Italy has also stepped up their integration of Yoga for WTU Soldiers. The word is spreading on post. We’ve had three retreats this year and every class has more and more soldiers in it. I had three first time Soldiers in class tonight.

  • If you are a war vet and want 4 or more free yoga class off base, check out http://www.yogaforvets.org. No gimmick, just yoga studios and teacher saying “welcome home.”

  • Chris Eder

    Fantastic find Paul.

  • Every fall I get a whole new crop of military personnel from the Naval War College who come to our studio for classes & it makes me especially happy. I’m just glad that I get to somehow serve the folks that serve our country even if it’s just few a few months until they move onto their next stop.

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