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DVIDS – News – Pilot program brings mindfulness, yoga to BCT

Trainees at two different Basic Combat Training battalions are getting some new skills added to their kits this cycle – mindfulness and yoga. From October to December, trainees at select platoons within 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment and 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment will be part of the Mindfulness and Yoga Pilot.

The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, in partnership with U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training and Army Training Center, Fort Jackson, will conduct the 10-week pilot to determine the effects of the two on the mental and physical readiness of trainees during BCT.

“There is growing scientific evidence that mindfulness and yoga have positive effects on an individual’s holistic health and fitness,” said Maj. Kimberly Jordan, Action Officer for CIMT’s Holistic Health and Directorate, Mindfulness and yoga studies have reported greater attention, greater goal-directed energy, and less perceived stress. Yoga is demonstrated to improve cognitive, physical, affective, social, and leadership outcomes.”

During the pilot, CIMT-contracted registered Yoga teachers will conduct 30 minutes of yoga replacing the preparatory and recovery drills before and after physical training.

1st. Lt. Courtney Youngborg, with 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, is currently conducting yoga with her platoon every morning, in place of the preparatory and recovery drills.

“I did speak to a trainee who was in 15 years ago, had a break in service and he’s just now coming back,” she said. “He said he actually prefers the yoga over the prep drill they did years ago.”

Youngborg has noticed the trainees are feeling the mental benefits and are learning to breathe and controlling their breath.

“We don’t have any data yet, I’m sure it’s too soon to say if it’s going to help with injury rates,” she said, “As of right now everyone seems to be enjoying it at least. I’m excited to see the data to compare cycles when we did prep drills compared to yoga cycles.”

Sgt. 1st Class Jimmy Gonzalez, a drill sergeant who is also conducting yoga with the trainees of 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, added “We’re about to start doing all the major training events. That’s when we’ll really see if this is working or not.”

G1 Army Resilience Directorate-contracted Performance Experts will conduct mindfulness training for two hours each week for four weeks. According to the Mindfulness-Based Attention Training guide, “mindfulness practices strengthen the brain’s ability to pay attention, regulate mood, and maintain situational awareness in challenging, stressful, ambiguous, and dynamic environments.”

Jordan believes in the increased mental and physical demands of BCT, programs like mindfulness and yoga are needed to help “manage stress, reduce injury, and lower attrition among trainees undergoing the rigors of BCT.”

Jordan said, “The pilot will incorporate elements of the Army’s (Holistic Health and Fitness) System to determine the impact of mindfulness and yoga on a variety of training outcomes to include Soldier indiscipline, emotional regulation, mental toughness, graduation rates, injury rates, high stress event performance, and attitudes towards the practice.”

There will also be four surveys taken throughout the program to assess behavioral health and attitudes towards training. These surveys will be given to all trainees within the battalion, not just the ones participating in mindfulness and yoga. The drill sergeants will be given two surveys throughout the program.

This initiative is one step as the Army fields the H2F System. The H2F System is the Army’s primary investment in Soldier readiness, optimal physical and non-physical performance, reduced injury rates, improved rehabilitation after injury, and increased overall effectiveness of the Total Army.

Date Taken: 11.05.2020
Date Posted: 11.06.2020 15:02
Story ID: 382546


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