The Dutch armed forces have brought in a yoga teacher to see if yoga exercises can help soldiers process stress and traumatic experiences.
Johan Noordloos will focus primarily on teaching army sports instructors to incorporate yoga into their programmes.
Noordloos said that yoga and being trained to kill are not incompatible.
Dutch soldiers do kill, but they do that to protect others, he said. ‘This is the world we live in,’ he said. ‘But I can help people who have been trained to deal with war to experience peace.’
The lessons will be voluntary and no soldier will be forced to take up yoga, although officials say they do believe the practice will be useful.
‘Being in the army puts soldiers in stressful situations,’ spokesman Jeroen de Vries told the paper. ‘Yoga can help restore the balance in their lives. We want to find out if it helps them deal with difficult situations more easily.’
Jean Debie, head of the VBM military union, has welcomed the move. ‘Why not learn the technique if it helps you relax and beat stress,’ Debie said
Yoga is already used in British & USA armies
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, termed it as a step in the positive direction to make yoga available to Netherlands’ soldiers.
Yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted.
Rajan Zed further said that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.
According to US National Institutes of Health, yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. According to a “2016 Yoga in America Study”, about 37 million Americans (which included many celebrities) now practice yoga; and yoga is strongly correlated with having a positive self- image. Yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Zed added.