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Fort Campbell 2nd Brigade Combat Team Strike soldiers take Yoga for benefits
Posted By Clarksville Online News Staff On Thursday, April 30, 2015 @ 8:00 am In News | No Comments
Fort Campbell, KY – Every Thursday at 6:00am at Freedom Fighter’s Physical Fitness Center, Soldiers throughout the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, participate in a Strike yoga class that is offered and taught by Joined Forces Yoga, a nonprofit organization designed to provide service members a complimentary exercise regimen.
“It is a nonprofit organization specifically meant to bring free yoga to military installations where they are,” said Connie Simmons, a yoga instructor with Joined Forces Yoga, Nashville, Tennessee. “So we bring it to them wherever they need us to go. We bring the mats; we bring the instructor, and all of it is free. That is kind of our catch phrase. We go ‘where they are.’”
Although the yoga classes taught at FFPFC are geared for Strike Soldiers, Joined Forces Yoga will offer their services to all service members, veterans, spouses and Department of Defense civilian employees, no matter the size of the element.
“When we first started at Freedom Fighter Gym, there was about a dozen Soldiers,” said Chris Byford, a yoga instructor with Joined Forces Yoga. “We instruct classes with the Tennessee Guard, and when I started up there, there were only two Soldiers at first. So if they say, ‘Hey, we want you there,’ then we will be there for them. If there were more of a need or want for our services, then we would satisfy it.”
Both Simmons and Byford said the classes offered aren’t the stereotypical yoga experience. The style of yoga taught, Baptiste Yoga, is a physically demanding program that incorporates strength training and cardio, all while providing Soldiers with relaxation techniques.
“It’s challenging,” said Byford. “We don’t just lie on our backs and light a candle and chant. It’s not your grandmother’s yoga. It’s a very athletic and physical form of it.”
“It’s not easy, it’s a different type of physical training,” said Maj. Arthur Brong, a weekly Strike Yoga participant and the adjutant general for the Strike Brigade. “It increases your flexibility and strengthens your core but most noticeably is that it demands more focus. When I do yoga, I forget about all the tasks I have scheduled for the day and focus on the now.”
Simmons and Byford feel it’s more than just exercise, it’s about learning to find a sense of calmness through something as simple as breathing.
“If you can find your breath while you’re upside down or twisting in half, then you can find your breath when you’re out driving and get cut off in traffic,” said Byford. “Sure, there are all types of physical benefits to it, but the sneaky thing is the breathing techniques. It helps you to breathe and concentrate when all these simulations are going on around you. It forces you to stop and focus on the actual task at hand and just be present in the now.”
Byford urges Soldiers to let go of the stigma surrounded with yoga.
“The man who created this style of Yoga, Baron Baptiste, was a performance coach for the Philadelphia Eagles,” said Byford. “He developed this with people with injuries in mind. He also incorporated strength training and cardio so athletes, or type-A people who are competitive and just can’t settle down, get tricked into trying it out. There’s all this strength required to do it, but the calming feeling creeps in without even realizing it. They leave feeling not just physically rinsed out, but mentally rinsed out as well.”
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