Om in the army: the US military gets yoga

Is yoga just for suburban baby-boomers and urban stress junkies seeking a hipper way to stay youthful and fit? Not if a growing number of yoga fanatics inside the US military get their way.

That's right, everyone from grunts in basic training to elite warrior units like the US Navy Seals have caught the yoga bug, and now some top commanders are planning to incorporate the ancient mind-body practice into the military's official training. The US Training and Doctrine Command (Tradoc), which oversees instruction of soldiers in everything from how to salute to the right way to hold a rifle, is proposing the largest overhaul of military fitness training in more than 30 years– and for the first time, yoga, as well as Pilates and martial arts, are being highlighted.

Tradoc commanders, joined by military health experts, say that traditional exercise models may make soldiers "fit" in the sense of more muscular, but often leave them too bulked up and vulnerable to injuries that yoga, which emphasises flexibility, helps prevent. And yoga's focus on meditation and maintaining calm, they say, fits perfectly with the military's broad new emphasis on instilling "mental toughness", as well as physical strength, to ensure that soldiers can succeed on the modern technology-intensive battlefield pursuing elusive and nerve-wracking adversaries.

Source - Guardian

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