DLIFLC students volunteer as a yoga instructor at the Presidio of Monterey | article


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Airman 1st Class Ellie Dean, a student at the Defense Language Institute’s Foreign Language Center, instructs a GI yoga class at the Price Fitness Center, Presidio of Monterey, Calif., Nov. 21.
(Photo: Winifred Brown)


DLIFLC student volunteer as a yoga instructor at the Presidio of Monterey


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Airman Senquavion Scott participates in a GI yoga class at the Price Fitness Center, Presidio of Monterey, Calif., Nov. 21.
(Photo: Winifred Brown)


PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. (Nov. 29, 2022) — When fellow students at the Defense Language Institute’s Foreign Language Center found Airman 1st Class Ellie Dean practicing yoga, they asked her if she would give them a class.

Dean’s first thought was that she would like to take a class herself, so she checked to see if the installation’s fitness center offered yoga classes. Did not happen. So Dean took the initiative and volunteered to teach a class called GI Yoga. Less than a year later, the class is a popular addition to the installation’s repertoire of free group fitness classes that promote fitness, sustainability and community wellness.

“It grew this practice from 10 to 25 people,” Dean said. “These are teachers; these are students; these are different departments. These are clinic staff people who are stationed here and have nothing to do with DLI. I love that it’s become this very neutral public space.”

Most of the military personnel stationed at the Presidio of Monterey are students studying languages ​​at DLIFLC, and in Dean’s class on Nov. 21, the majority of participants were military personnel. As college students, military members spend a lot of time sitting throughout the day, Dean said, and yoga is a good way to maintain and improve their range of motion, among other benefits.

“I just feel good,” said Dean, who is studying Chinese. “That’s the number one reason, because I feel good. I feel better after I do.”

The class meets at 5:00 pm for one hour on Mondays and Thursdays at the Price Fitness Center. Nicole Dansby, manager of the center, said she was delighted to see Dean’s class grow in popularity.

“After class, visitors walk out of class looking so rested, awake and at ease,” Dansby said. “Yoga offers numerous physical and mental benefits for people of all ages and skill levels, including strength, balance, pain relief, stress relief, relaxation, increased energy and more.”

Airman Senquavion Scott was one of about 15 attendees at Dean’s Nov. 21 course, and although he first heard about the class about a month and a half ago, he wishes he had attended sooner. He had tried yoga stretches a few times on his own, but this was the first time he had participated in a class.

“I felt so relaxed during some of those stretches,” Scott said. “You’d think with how much you contort your body you’d be under a lot of pressure, but you kind of feel at one with yourself when you breathe in and it all just comes together and then it’s just like a wave comes out.” I think it’s something everyone should try at least once.”

Scott said he definitely plans to come back.

Dean said her mother was a yoga teacher when she was young, but she didn’t start practicing until 2016. Although yoga is good for fitness, she was more drawn to the philosophical and spiritual side of the practice.

“It could be very metaphorical,” Dean said. “You experience something on the mat that is a direct parallel to something you experience in the rest of your life. People say that the attitude you bring to yoga is the attitude you bring to everything, and the practice can serve as a mirror to look at the things you’re going through.

Dean said he welcomes all community members to access Price’s fitness center, and beginners shouldn’t be intimidated.

“People like to say that yoga is for every ‘body,'” Dean said. “Getting a perfect PT test score is definitely not a requirement for a positive yoga experience.”

GI Yoga will resume on January 9, after the holiday break. Price’s fitness center also offers spin classes, Inferno Pilates and Zumba. To learn more about the center and all it has to offer, visit https://presidio.armymwr.com/programs/pfc.

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