I was flipping through the channels on Verizon FIOS this evening and landed on the Pentagon Channel. There before me were three stocky, muscular drill instructors (one female and two males) in their PE kits, getting ready for the Fit for Duty show. What I mistook for “attention” was something completely different. Instead of a cadence for jumping jacks, the lead (Major Lisa Lourey) brought her hands into namaste in front of her heart, and her partners followed. I then noticed that they were standing barefoot on yoga mats. Airy music came over the sound track. She was leading a yoga class!
Admittedly, this was “Yoga for Golf,” but further investigation showed that there was a wide selection of routines, plus Pilates, strength training and kick-boxing. But no matter what their intention, the mere fact these American bodhisattva warriors were “doing yoga” on the Pentagon Channel in “prime time” means that yoga has gone well beyond “mainstream” or even Main Street America. For that matter, the Veteran Administration is now using yoga nidra and pranayama to rehabilitate victims of post traumatic stress disorder so it should come as no surprise that yoga could be used as a “prep” for combat.
The Fit for Duty programming, now in its second season, is available as a podcast.