It isn’t unusual to find service members on Camp H. M. Smith filling the gym, running around base or training on Bordelon Field during their lunch hour, but onlookers may have been surprised by what they saw April 4 under the tree in front of the base Semper Fit Center.
Judy A. Kosaka offered her services as a licensed yoga instructor to personnel aboard Camp Smith in the hopes that yoga would help participants manage stress and improve their overall fitness.
Aside from yoga’s stress management properties, it also improves overall strength, blood pressure, flexibility and helps prevent injuries, which may be a concern for people who tend to live active lifestyles, she said.
“When Judy came in and offered to run yoga classes for free, we thought it was a great idea,” said Kelly Fornes, Camp Smith Semper Fit coordinator. “We try to offer programs that people want to participate in. A lot of military people are involved in stressful occupations. Judy’s sessions offer an outlet for relaxation and take you out of that work environment while staying physically fit. From today’s turn out, there is obviously a need.
Eight service members with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, and Pacific Command attended her first session. Many were surprised by the level of difficulty and pledged to return.
“It’s about concentration and holding a position for a really long time,” said Cpl. Justin B. Jackson, maintenance noncommissioned officer in charge for MarforPac’s supporting establishment branch. “It’s pretty difficult, but if it will make me more flexible, prevent injuries and lengthen my stride when I run, it’s worth it.”
Kosaka invites all personnel aboard Camp Smith to participate in future sessions.
“Just try it,” she said. “If it seems too hard the first time, just keep at it. It’s going to take a little practice. I do it to relax my mind and get rid of some of the day-to-day chaos we all have. It’s worth it. If nothing else you’ll get a break, refresh your day and jump-start your afternoon.”
Kosaka offers yoga sessions Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. – noon in front of the Camp Smith Semper Fit Center.