In honor of the U.S. Coast Guard’s birthday, we reached out to some of the Coasties in our tribe to ask them to share about their experience with yoga and meditation. Below is Carol Yin’s story.
My name is Carol and I’m in the United States Coast Guard. I’ve served since 2014 upon graduation from the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, and I’m currently stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii as a Marine Inspector.
I was introduced to yoga as a 1/c cadet when I needed to fulfill a physical education requirement; thus, I enrolled in Yoga Fundamentals. What I thought would be a walk in the park actually changed my life for the better. My instructor not only taught us the history of yoga, but she also taught us breathing and mindfulness techniques I have carried with me to this day.
After graduation, I was assigned to USCGC BOUTWELL — homeported in San Diego, California — where we deployed every three months to either Central America, to support drug and migrant interdictions, or to the Bering Sea to protect our nation’s living marine resources and enforce domestic fisheries laws. Underway and in homeport, I discovered yoga was my healthy stress reliever. Without formal instruction underway, I created basic yogic sequences in my stateroom. I found that five to ten minutes of purposeful movement cleared my mind and allowed me to meditate upon the day’s events and future tasking. While in homeport I joined a yoga studio to hone my yoga practice and gain new ideas for future underway sequences.
Although I no longer belong to a yoga studio, I continue to practice yoga at home to remain flexible, relieve stress, and enjoy the present. I’ve also purposefully incorporated different breathing techniques in the workplace. I’ve learned that breathing is the essence of yoga, and anyone can practice yoga anywhere!
I was first introduced to the Warriors at Ease program through a coworker and was immediately encouraged by the inclusiveness and non-competitive spirit of the WAE practice. Taryn McLaughlin, my WAE instructor, offers weekly yoga classes to CG personnel. Through her WAE style of teaching, I have seen people who would have never tried yoga one year ago commit to a regular yoga practice. I truly believe yoga can be a life-changing experience and encourage people to keep an open mind about incorporating yoga into their workout regimen.