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.
But is it ethical for peace-loving yogis to help the Pentagon fight its nasty wars? Many yoga business owners, anxious to spread the yoga “gospel” far and wide, don’t much care who gets the message – or why – as long as the market expands. Stay out of “secular” controversies, they say.
others yogis have questioned whether yoga’s traditional “do no harm” principle really means “don’t go to war” – or rather, “war if you must, but do it with restraint.” They point out that prior to Gandhi, who largely blessed yoga as a spiritual practice of “non-violence”, Indian leaders in ancient times used it much as the Pentagon wants to today – as a way of preparing mentally for battle. (via guardian.co.uk)