I read a newspaper article today. This alone is surprising as I have an acute aversion to current events – I find their reality disruptive to mine. But this morning, as I sat waiting for my coffee to percolate, the newspaper was the only thing within reach. With careful ambivalence, I paged lazily through it (looking mostly at the ads).
An article with the word “yoga” in it soon caught my eye, however, and recklessly I began reading.
It turns out that yoga is starting to be used rather extensively as a form of psychological therapy. The article outlined a new, unorthodox, and potentially ill-conceived plan by the US Army to include yoga training for their soldiers on the front lines in an effort to combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
This radical movement was inspired by Posing Warriors, a particularly successful yoga program originally intended to help Vietnam veterans suffering from PTSD. Since its inception, the program has grown to include veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan as well.
So, with the increasing incidence of soldier suicides, the army has turned to yoga. And already arrangements are being made with a yoga instructor in Iraq.
Now I get to editorialize.
As good an idea as this may seem to be, it sounds downright silly to me. Whoever’s in charge has missed the point of yoga. One of its first and most important tenets is a principle of no harm. It seems to me that, as a practice, yoga is conceptually and psychologically at odds with the soldier mentality – so much so as to make the two mutually exclusive. Simply put, the violence required of the military profession does not accommodate the successful practice of yoga. Practiced this way, it will become a meaningless waste of time and serve only to confuse rather than enlighten.
Well, that’s my two cents. And I’ve since remembered why I rabidly avoid the newspaper.[tags]newspaper article, army, post traumatic stress disorder, ptsd, vietnam veterans, iraq, afghanistan, soldier, military[/tags]