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‘Providers’ maintain a balanced approach to life’s challenges Sgt. Tanjie Patterson

Capt. Dana Cook, the 3rd Sustainment Brigade Master Resilience Trainer, and native of Richmond Hill, Ga., stretches during a yoga class, Jan. 23, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. Cook uses yoga as a means of connecting her mind and body, and to help cope with the stresses of her environment. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tanjie Patterson, 3rd Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Soldiers can face challenges while away from Family and friends. These challenges can sometimes affect Troop-morale or add stress to a Soldier’s life. With stress come emotions that can affect one’s physical and mental well-being. Through Comprehensive soldier and family Fitness, the 3rd Sustainment Brigade strives to help soldiers effectively cope with stress, manage their feelings and adapt to change while deployed to Afghanistan.

“Emotions can run high in a stressful environment, but as Soldiers you have to learn how to control yourself by approaching things in a positive, optimistic way,” said Spc. D’Shaun Howard, a human resource specialist, with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, and Hampton, Va., native.

The 3rd Sustainment Brigade adopted the U.S. Army’s initiative to help increase physical and psychological health, resilience and enhance soldiers’ performance. While implementing this concept of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, Master Resilience Trainer Capt. Dana Cook, said one way to help reduce stress levels and promote mental toughness, as well as physical strength, is through yoga.

Cook, who has incorporated yoga into her lifestyle since high school, attends yoga class twice a week at Kandahar Airfield with her fellow soldiers.

“I encourage soldiers to participate because it gives you a chance to meditate and emotionally get away from the stresses of the environment,” said Cook, a native of Richmond Hill, Ga.

Yoga is a Hindu disciple that combines mind and body. Hatha yoga is the most common type and is used in an effort to promote tranquility and good health, as well as tries to free the spiritual elements of one’s mind through a series of breathing, stretching and physical poses.

“Yoga helps me to de-stress, relax and refocus my mind while challenging my body,” said Capt. Etta Wheeler, the 3rd Sustainment Brigade’s distribution officer, and native of Bossier City, La. “For me, it’s just like meditation. It is a practice that involves focus; you focus on your mind, your breathing and your muscles. It takes concentration to keep the body balanced.”

Cook said that though yoga may not be for everyone, there are alternative relaxation techniques, like breathing exercises, to help soldiers maintain a healthy and balanced emotional well-being. When taking deep breaths it sends a message to the brain, which then sends a message to the body to calm down and relax.

“So if yoga isn’t for you, close your eyes, breathe deep and let your stress flow away,” she said.

This article is the second of a five-part series related to Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness.


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This work, ‘Providers’ maintain a balanced approach to life’s challenges, by SGT Tanjie Patterson, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:01.26.2013

Date Posted:01.26.2013 08:18

Location:KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, AFGlobe

Hometown:BOSSIER CITY, LA, US

Hometown:FORT STEWART, GA, US

Hometown:RICHMOND HILL, GA, US

More Like This

  • Since the Army introduced the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program in October 2009, there has been much focus on a holistic approach to physical, emotional, social, spiritual and family well-being.
  • Long hours at work and separation from families can have a negative effect on the morale and mental well being of soldiers, but the 3rd Sustainment Brigade has implemented Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness while deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, to counteract those effects.
  • Comprehensive Soldier Fitness encompasses physical, emotional, social, family and spiritual aspects to define the complete health of soldiers.
  • The Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness program helps to build a soldier’s resiliency so that he can endure and bounce back from whatever situation he may find himself in. The five pillars of strength: social, emotional, family, spiritual, and physical, form an optimal foundation for recovery.

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