By Emily Brainard, Army Flier staffApril 22, 2010
(Editor's note: This is part of an ongoing series focusing on Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation fitness classes. DFMWR activities offer ways to help make the Army's Families resilient to the service's ongoing warfight.)
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Most exercises involve strength or cardio training, and every good workout incorporates stretching, fitness experts say.
Some people even find relaxation in sweating it out through intense physical training regimens. It's rare, however, that all these goals can be accomplished in one routine, but installation gymnasium staff offer yoga classes that incorporate all that and more.
Yoga is "an all-over experience with your mind and body," according to Kristi Fink, a personal trainer and yoga instructor at Fortenberry-Colton Physical Fitness Facility.
Throughout April, she and other instructors hold sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. and 6:20 to 7:20 p.m. and Fridays from 6 to 7 p.m. Class times can vary from month to month, and new schedules are found at the beginning of each month at www.ftruckermwr.com/PhysicalFitnessFacility.
Yoga involves slow-moving stretching and strengthening techniques, Fink said. After warming up, participants perform series of "poses" throughout the routine, usually holding one pose for 30 to 60 seconds. The last several minutes of classes involve "final relaxations," which she said cool participants down and allow them to let go of the day's stresses.
Classes are appropriate for those new to the activity, yet are also challenging enough for faithful athletes. Fink said she offers both modified and regular movements for those with varying experience levels. She encourages everyone to give yoga a try, regardless of any preconceived notions about the practice.
"Come and experience something completely different," she said. "It's an overall good experience."
One military spouse who gave yoga a chance and stuck with it is Kristin Vanderlip. She said she began attending in an effort to tone her muscles and improve her balance. She's gained more than just a lean physique, though.
"I feel more energized and healthy," she said. "My favorite part is accomplishing a challenging pose."
Jennifer Weaver, another Army wife, said she's seen similar benefits from participating since October.
"I can see a difference in my strength, toning and flexibility. It's relaxing," she said.
She also noted yoga is a lower impact strength training alternative than lifting weights and is less intimidating.
Young adults aren't the only ones gaining enjoyment from the sport. Jan White said performing yoga weekly keeps her young and flexible, allowing her to spend more time playing with her grandchildren.
"I wouldn't miss a class. I feel like I've had a massage afterward. It relaxes me," the 65-year-old said.
PFF staff provides yoga mats and balance blocks for those looking to join these women in a mind and body workout experience.
Fink recommends people wear comfortable athletic pants or capris, along with form-fitting tank tops or T-shirts to keep garments in place during the variety of movements performed. No special footwear is required because yoga enthusiasts perform their exercises barefoot, she added.
Fort Rucker PFF classes offer fun Family activities for minimal cost, according to Caroline Driscoll, fitness program coordinator. Fees start at $3 per session, $5 for one week or $20 per month.
For more information or to register the day of a class, call 255-3794.