Yoga classes have begun again, after an eight-month hiatus, at Applied Functional Fitness Center.
Starting in 2010, yoga is one of the longer running programs offered on post. Toni Kornegay, recreation specialist for the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare & Recreation, is excited to see the program start up again after the hiatus.
“Yoga is a great way for Soldiers to decompress and reset from a stressful workload. Yoga is also a beneficial part of cross training the body,” Kornegay said. “People tend to do the more strenuous, high impact workouts and forget that they need to stretch their muscles and maintain flexibility.”
Gaby Billisits, an Air Force veteran and Army wife, has been instructing yoga for a year. She enjoys the energy that a yoga class creates.
“It’s really fun teaching a class and being around that energy, especially when you start getting regulars.”
Though yoga isn’t fast paced, it still can make participants work up a sweat. It can be physically challenging just as much as it is mentally challenging.
“Yoga’s all about slowing down that movement and holding it for a while and breathing. It’s hard to do that when you’re struggling and you feel like you’re going to fall over,” Billisits said. “It’s hard to make yourself slow down, hold the pose and do it right.”
Veteran Ramiro Guerrero and his wife Virginia enjoy attending yoga classes to maintain their fitness and spend time with Billisits, who is their daughter.
“As you age, it’s really important to keep balance and to be flexible. It’s all to keep us healthy,” Virginia said.
Guerrero enjoys improving each class and he believes yoga is a great way to ease back into exercising.
“It’s a general way to get back or stay in shape. If you haven’t done it (exercising) in a while, it gets you back into it without hurting yourself.”
After he suffered a heart attack, Guerrero said he slowed down and gained some weight. He realized that he needed to start exercising again. With the help of his wife, he began walking for exercise, but he needed something more.
“It (walking) wasn’t loosening me up. I was still stiff,” Guerrero said.
Yoga was the type of exercise that Guerrero needed and he encourages others to participate on post.
“If they’ve thought about it, come out and try it because it’s relatively inexpensive and she’s (Billisits) a seasoned instructor.”
Billisits said warrior three is her favorite pose.
“Warrior three is all about working strength and balance. It’s a single leg balancing posture. It’s about reaching your arms out long in on direction and balancing yourself on one leg. It takes a lot physically,” Billisits said. “Again, it comes into that mental piece where you’re kind of aching and you’re like, ‘I’m struggling here,’ but it’s really about strength. It’s about surrendering yourself to your mat and where you’re at in time and honing in on your skill and practice.”
Yoga classes are at Applied Functional Fitness Center from 10-11 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.
For more information, call 254-285-5459.