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    Yoga Bear - 'Kung-Fu Panda' Becomes Unlikely Yoga Instructor

    Yoga Bear

    Photo By Matthew Jones | Spc. David Kocian, a human resources specialist in the Pennsylvania National Guard's...... read more read more

    At 6 feet and 250 pounds, Spc. David Kocian may not resemble a stereotypical yoga instructor. But after interest in that workout routine began to increase among his fellow Task Force Keystone soldiers, that's exactly what he became.

    "A lot of people heard through the grapevine that I did yoga at home and while we were mobilizing at Fort Sill," said Kocian, a human resources specialist and field artilleryman by trade. "Most people were a little surprised, but I thought I might be able to teach them what I've learned."

    Kocian had taken classes for three years at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., where he worked as an active Pennsylvania National Guard member prior to his unit's mobilization in January.

    "I even purchased a video, so I could do it more often on my own," he said.

    His teaching career didn't begin until his unit was due to depart their mobilization station, Fort Sill, Okla., and at first, attendance was relatively low, but Kocian attributes that to the high operational tempo the unit was experiencing as their departure date grew closer.

    After the 28th Combat Aviation Brigade arrived at their final destination of Camp Adder,
    Kocian immediately began to hang flyers at the gyms and dining facilities on post. Kocian has only held two classes at Camp Adder so far, but attendance is already on the rise.

    "The first night I had about 15 and there were probably 25 on the second night," he said.
    The popularity of yoga in a combat zone is a reflection of its ability to transport a soldier into a peaceful world where they can leave stress at the door, according to Kocian.

    "Once you cross that threshold into my room, its yoga world," said Kocian. "Forget about your pain, forget about your problems, forget about your supervisor, forget what you just did and what you will be doing in the future," he said.

    His points are certainly not lost on his students.

    First Lt. Dave Sabulsky, the 28th CAB projects engineer, from Jamestown, N.Y., participated in yoga for the first time during Kocian's second class at Adder.

    "I've been running projects and planning 24/7," said Sabulsky. "I haven't been able to exercise much, and this is a pretty big stress reliever as well."

    There may be an emphasis on stress relief and relaxation, but Kocian's brand of yoga is definitely a workout as well. Power yoga is not just about doing the movements, but also holding them for an extended period of time.

    Yoga can definitely seem intimidating on the surface, but even though he was a first timer, Sabulsky didn't find the learning curve to be very steep. He credits Kocian's teaching for this.

    "He was relaxed. He knows what he's doing and enjoys what he's doing," said Sabulsky. "That made it easy to follow along."

    Spc. Stephanie Cantando, the brigade commander's assistant, from East Stroudsburg, Pa., agreed. "He's very flexible and knowledgeable about what he's doing," said Cantando. "And he breaks it down so that beginners know what they're doing."

    Kocian enjoys the compliments he regularly receives after class, but this self-described 'kung-fu panda' is generally modest about his abilities as a teacher.

    "I get people coming up to me, telling me that class was great and they'll be coming back," said Kocian. "But what makes me feel great is that I'm providing them with a service."



    Date Taken: 05.25.2009
    Date Posted: 05.26.2009 06:57
    Story ID: 34093
    Location: IQ

    Web Views: 831
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