At Sea, Navy Ship Tries Yoga Programming


USS Bonhomme Richard — Although the flight deck of the USS Bonhomme Richard (BHR) usually sounds like a whir of loud rotor blades, those noises are replaced a few times a week with something a bit unusual for a Naval ship — the sound of ambient music. Since mid-July, the flight deck has been the setting for yoga classes.

After a successful first few classes, Lt. Diana Tersak, who spearheads the class, expects to have the class every Sunday.

“With six days of PT [physical training] challenge, what better way to rest the mind and muscle than yoga?” Tersak says. “That's why we started the sessions. I was also approached by a few sailors who expressed interest in participating.”

For Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Ranae Anderson, yoga helps her focus on muscles she doesn't tend to rely on.

“It's been a while since I have done yoga, and it's a good way to mix things up after the daily PT sessions I have been participating in,” Anderson says. “The atmosphere was great, and it is not as strenuous as the PT challenge.”

The class instructor, Lt. Krysten Pelstring, says that at the end of the sessions, sailors left relaxed and focused.

“The first session was fantastic,” she says. “We filled up flight deck triage, and everyone seemed very satisfied with their first shipboard experience. I'm pretty sure people were relaxed. I saw a few falling asleep, which is a very typical end to a yoga class. I'm very pleased and honored to be a part of their experience.”

The ship is currently participating in Rim of the Pacific 2008, the world's largest multinational exercise that is scheduled biennially by the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Participants include the United States, Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, the Netherlands, Peru, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and the United Kingdom.

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