FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Hectic work and school schedules often increase stress, but yoga can be a valuable tool for reducing stress and increasing overall health and fitness.

"It is over 5,000 years old," Helaine Moesner, yoga instructor, said. "The poses have been tried and proven. If it wasn't good for the body, it probably would have been considered a fad and fallen by the wayside centuries ago.

"Yoga is a balance of flexibility, strength and cardio," she added." It is good emotionally as well as physically. It calms the body by focusing on the rhythmic nature breath."

Moesner teaches hatha yoga, which means "force," with what she considers a personal twist.

"I try to incorporate some power stances and planks to engage the core and provide strength training along with the meditative nature of yoga."

Instructor-led group yoga classes are available Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:45-10:45 a.m., Mondays from 5-6 p.m. and Wednesdays from 6:15-7:15 p.m. at Fortenberry-Colton Physical Fitness Center.

What if these classes don't fit a person's schedule? Yoga classes will be offered as a Well Beats "February Freebie" Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10-11 a.m. throughout February.

Well Beats, a service billed as a virtual presentation and live experience, offers a wide range of formats customizable with various intensity levels and time lengths through video instruction and can be accessed by patrons at any time during the Fortenberry-Colton PFC's normal business hours.

According to Moesner, finding a way to fit yoga into a busy day can provide numerous benefits.

"When everyone is trying to fit more in their day, sometimes you have to step back and de-stress," she said. "If you only learn the meditation techniques, you can take that and apply it to everyday life. Step back from the day and spend three to five minutes deep breathing."

Meditation techniques can also assist Soldiers on the job or at training, especially during qualifying marksmanship shoots at the gun range, she said.

"I do competition shooting and I use meditation to calm my nerves before an event," Moesner said. "Right before a match, I apply some of the breathing techniques I've learned through yoga. My hear t is pounding because I am focused on beating the person next to me. Not good for a steady hand. Soldiers can apply the same techniques before qualifying shoots or stressful examinations."

Although Moesner recommends attending at least two classes a week to receive the full benefits of yoga, she feels patrons can reap invaluable benefits from one class.

"They can learn one pose, breathing technique or stretch to help with back pain or to eliminate stress from their day," she said.

Each class is $3.50 per class, $15 for two weeks of unlimited classes or $30 for one month of unlimited classes.

Group fitness schedules are available at the front desk of both PFCs or online at http://rucker.armymwr.com/us/rucker/programs/fitness-centers/.

For more information, call 255-3794 or 255-2296.