January 2017: Dutch Military Go Yoga

According to the Dutch Defense Magazine, the Dutch Defense Department has also added yoga as a new weapon to its arsenal. In October 2016, it announced that yoga would be included to the sports classes for the military. It might sound a little soft, but according to Johan Noorloos, who has been assigned to train yoga instructors who will teach yoga to the military, it is a logical step in the right direction. According to Noorloos, "military personnel are often under a lot of stress and have to perform under stressful situations. Breathing and awareness and being centered are important attributes that can help soldiers during those moments as well as heading off having trauma's afterwards". The Dutch are by no means cutting edge in offering yoga classes to their military. For years already, the American and British armed forces incorporated yoga into their physical fitness program, often as a preventative for PTSD.  For the US army, PTSD is rampant. According to the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, research suggests that 11%to 20% of the veterans that returned from Iraq and Afghanistan had PTSD. Most are also at risk of having mental health issues including depression (up to 25). There is no exact data for the costs PTSD has for the Dutch government, however, officials believe yoga to be a beneficial for the physical and mental wellbeing of soldiers.Noorloos argues in his new book Yoga en mannen [Yoga and Men] (2016) that men have more to gain from yoga than what has been previously believed. "When men do sports or an activity, it has to be goal-driven, and most men don't see that happening with yoga. However, with yoga styles such as Ashtanga and Vinyasana the yoga movements are carried out in a progressive flow. They require great strength, which gives men a fantastic training. Men are challenging their bodies, they are setting goals as how far they can move their bodies during that particular yoga class, and and they are training all the muscle groups." According to a study conducted by the Harvard Medical School after six months of doing yoga, the level of men's testosterone increased by 57%.  Yoga stimulates the hormonal glands and improves the blood circulation for all the organs. The stress hormone cortisol is reduced, which improves all the conditions for having sex. Noorloos laughs, "which red-blooded man wouldn't want that?"

<< Back