17th Field Artillery Brigade


Hometown: Joint Base Lewis McChord , WA, US

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Yoga relaxes Soldiers during PT

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Yoga helps control stress


Story by Sgt. Quanesha Deloach

Yoga relaxes Soldiers during PT JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – In an article written by the Army Times in 2013, the concept of yoga for soldiers was introduced. The initial idea was focused on having a “trauma-sensitive approach,” given that many soldiers were dealing with anxiety, depression and behavioral health issues.

Since then, yoga has spread throughout the military community as a form of mental and physical readiness. Yoga is known to promote emotional and physical healing, which is a perfect combination for all soldiers.

The 17th Field Artillery Brigade encouraged Soldiers from all four of its battalions to join a yoga session during Physical Training (PT) hours, July 24, 2015.

The yoga instructor gives everyone the opportunity to relax and clear his or her mind before the class begins. The instructor then proceeds to teach soldiers how to control specific concerns like their post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other signs of depression.

As the instructor, Chief Warrant Officer Two, Merrissa Yannitell, 17th FA BDE, Information System Technician Officer, explains to soldiers how yoga can help them stretch different parts of their body and how it can help relieve stress while focusing on the important things in life.

“The class is one hour long and it gives Soldiers the opportunity to clear their mind about what is going on at work and at home,” said Yannitell. “This is an opportunity to teach soldiers how to be grateful, stay positive and keep good motivation on a daily basis,” said Yannitell.

This is the third time that the brigade has hosted a yoga class. “It has taken some time to gain momentum but this third class was very full and Soldiers really have an interest,” said Maj. Anthony Flores, 17th FA BDE chaplain.

“The Yoga class helped me relieve stress and pain. I was in so much pain the day before, from running, and after attending the yoga class I woke up the next morning in excellent shape,” said Spc. Haley Bollheimer, 1st Battalion, 94th Field Artillery Regiment, Multiple Launch Rocket System Crewmember Specialist. “I do yoga a lot but this class was my favorite.”

Many Soldiers look forward to continue attending this yoga class. “The class motivated me to do more when I am stressed and overwhelmed,” said Bollheimer. “The instructor was very positive and had good motivation throughout the class. I really appreciate the time she shared teaching us yoga during physical training time.”

“I would love to continue giving the yoga class twice a month to help all soldiers who are dealing with stress or body injuries. I enjoy working with soldiers to help them prevent stress or any sign of depression,” Yannitell said.

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