The US Military, Religion, and Yoga

A recent Army article notes US Soldiers in Germany have been attending yoga classes as their physical training.  The article notes

The trend is beginning to catch on. Despite initial skepticism by prospective students, yoga classes are becoming staples of training and treatment at Fort Bragg, Fort Jackson, Fort Meade and other U.S. Army posts.

In fact, yoga is even being proposed as a cure for PTSD:

The discipline and peace that yoga offers can help treat PTSD both as a cure and preventative measure…Yoga helps Soldiers reduce tension and learn to manage stress. This flexibility can help avoid the shock that often leads to PTSD.

Interestingly, many people do not comprehend the association of yoga with spirituality.  To that point, Albert Mohler recently published an article entitled “The Subtle Body — Should Christians Practice Yoga?,” essentially saying that yoga is a religious exercise (specifically, inconsistent with the tenets of Christianity).

The use or promotion of yoga is not terribly unusual.  The association of the US military with non-traditional medicine and eastern-style religious traditions has been described here before.

It is interesting, though, that the military is occasionally accused of coercing servicemembers into Christianity — in fact, it was specifically criticized of fighting the trend in suicide with Christianity — yet yoga is apparently fine.

To be clear, military members are free to use any religious (or not) methods they may desire, and the military is free to make those resources available to them.  The military apparently has done so, with a variety of resources available to military members at their request.

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