Real warrior pose: yoga classes for the army

In 2009, Lt. Jen Vaughn at war – with himself. Or that seemed like the 32-year-old naval officer. "I went through a number of difficult things – a divorce and a series of deaths in the family, including a suicide," says Vaughn, who lives in Laurel. "The condition of the world, and everything that was going on, made matters worse, I did not deal with the stress properly, I needed a way out." She tried yoga, and during her first lesson she burst into tears The sailor who had patrolled the Mediterranean during the Kosovo campaign and had chased pirates off the African coast was crying on her mat in a good way. "Yoga calmed my mind and showed that it is good to have 10 minutes take the time to make contact with my breath, "says Vaughn," it has saved my life. "Vaughn is one of a number of warriors to embrace yoga as a therapeutic tool to treat pain and stress, and uncle Sam has A 2017 study by the Rand Corp. reported that four out of five military health care facilities in the United States offer unconventional treatments on location, including yoga. "In Fort Meade, the central Maryland US military base with 14,500 soldiers," yoga sea r respected and often advocated ", says Col. Beverly Maliner, head of preventive medicine. "It is fairly well documented that meditation helps people with pain of any kind, including PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]and yoga fits very well in that section. "
Marineveteraan Jen Vaughn van Laurel says that she did "pretty heavy things" when she turned to yoga. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun) According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSS affects between 10 and 20 percent of veterans deployed in recent wars. Yoga also benefits non-combatants living in a hasty world, said Maliner, who attributes the practice himself. "Military life is a busy, intensive environment where the focus is always external," she says. "Yoga gives us tools to learn to breathe and to go internally, so that we can better deal with our daily needs – and recover." Every Thursday, Lucy Lomax arrives at Fort Meade, where the resident of Elkridge teaches yoga for 90 minutes a military and female setting. Standing and lying on mats, they stretch and bend in ways that make Gumby cringe and distort themselves in rhythmic postures, the baby cobra, the puppy and the gate. A pose reminds Michael Phelps, ready for the start; another sprouts Usain Bolt, crouching at the starting blocks. All the while, Lomax takes her load on a soothing, hypnotic voice.

Certified Warriors At Ease teacher Lucy Lomax, left, leads a lesson at the Columbia Yoga Center. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun) "Let go of the outside world," she says. "Bring your consciousness to yourself, how it feels to be in your body and to connect with the earth." Lomax started teaching in 2015 and has taught 400 people so far, including some from Howard County, where almost a home is. quarter of the employees of Fort Meade. Lomax, 69, performs all poses on a 4-foot-10 frame that should melt alongside a strapping navy. Not so. On the mat she is a poster child for a Twister game. "I am short and squatty, which is good for yoga," says Lomax. She is a retired financial analyst with the federal government and she is a certified instructor for Warriors At Ease, a non-profit organization that trains people who want to give yoga to the army. In November she trained 60 members of the 55th Signal Company, a camera for combat cameras, before their deployment. "Two of the boys came in, thinking they were the knees of the bee, and one was doing a headstand to show off when I arrived," says Lomax. She ignored them and challenged the group for an hour to "get their energy out." Then the soldiers admitted that the session was heavy. The job is a passion for Lomax, which works for free. "These men and women work so hard, under such pressure, and they never speak about anything other than work," she says. "They go overseas to Afghanistan and come back, but never talk about that fight-or-flight mode, they're not in a good place, and everyone who is being deployed runs the risk of being exploded, it's terrible stress." Her goal: let every warrior take a deep breath. There are dangers in learning yoga, says Maliner, most of whom assist careless instructors. "I took a class from the base, where we were asked to do a lotus posture (sitting cross-legged), it is a risky posture and I have dislocated my knee," she says. "Yoga is not a magic bullet, it requires discipline and daily practice under the supervision of teachers like Lucy, who minimizes the risks." For two years, Air Force Staff Sgt. Joe Jamison has trained with Lomax. As a cyberwarfare planner at Fort Meade, he was looking for a solution to the ills of spending hours sitting at a desk in a quiet, stressful job. "I quickly learned the problems I had with the alignment, balance and body posture of my body – and it echoed to other parts of my general well-being," said Jamison, 26. "Yoga helps me concentrate more focused and my daily routine You will feel differently when you can sit and breathe properly. "Now that she is 22 years with the Navy, Vaughn goes to the Lomax class and earns her teacher's degree in Warriors At Ease. "Yoga has been a joy for me and I want to give it back," she says. In October recovering from a back operation due to a maintenance-related injury, Vaughn demonstrated narcotics for the pain. "Yoga has taught me that you can breathe through everything," she says. Vaughn wants to pass that recipe. "It's important to take care of the whole war machine, what every soldier and sailor is, and you have to take care of the whole package," she says. I mean, you can not just put petrol in a car; there are other things you need to do to maintain overall performance. Like changing the oil. And occasionally kick the tires. "-Baltimore Sun.