September is when the Air Force celebrates its birthday! In honor of that, we wanted to share stories from our Air Force members about their journey with yoga and meditation, their time in the service and why they share yoga with others today. Bri Johnson wrote today’s piece and shares with us her connection to yoga and why it’s integral to her life today.
Through Stress & Family Separation, I Discovered Yoga
My yoga journey began during a somewhat stressful tour overseas in Korea. There was a group of spouses who taught free classes which served as a healthy outlet for me while separated from family and dreading certain aspects of my work life. I’ll never forget the relaxation of my first class; free of judgment and full of positive reminders of self-acceptance. The more I went to class, the more I countered the negativity I’d frequently experience at work with positive strides I made in my wellness routine. Through my experiences at yoga classes, I learned what it meant to really start living mindfully and navigating each day with more intention. I realized that when I spent more time taking deep breaths, pausing, and reflecting off the mat, I felt a major shift in the way I viewed so many rough situations. Even with the work-related challenges, that year was a beautiful time for personal growth. When I came became back to the states, I felt like I knew myself better than ever before.
Yoga Served Me During Major Transitions
When I joined my husband in Texas after Korea, I immediately found a yoga studio to continue classes regularly. I found myself constantly wanting to share the positive impacts of yoga with so many of my friends, family members, and coworkers. I found myself wondering if diving deeper into my yoga practice and training to become a teacher would fit into our ever-evolving military life. After months of research and self-reflection, I found a teacher training program that was flexible with my Active Duty work schedule. After much consideration, I took a big leap and entered yoga teacher training when I was 20 weeks pregnant! My practice and self-study were powerful tools throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum recovery. As a new mom, there was so much fear of the unknown, but it was amazing to witness how my own deep breaths, positive affirmations, and gentle movement empowered me to guide my own mind and body during this life-changing event.
Five months after we welcomed our daughter into the world, I transitioned from Active Duty to Reserve and we moved on to our next duty station. I was happy our family would have much more flexibility with this shift, but I struggled with the change of pace as I became a fulltime stay-at-home mom and military spouse. When I was offered an opportunity to teach yoga regularly on base, I felt that I was constantly reminded I was in the right place: serving my community in a way that shined more light in my life, and hopefully in the lives of others. I relied heavily on my faith during that time of transition and my new beginnings as a yoga teacher. While yoga isn’t religious, it has always been a beautiful tool to help me stay rooted in my Christian faith.
Why I Share the Practice Today
Since that transition almost two years ago, one thing has become crystal clear to me— as a wife, mother, military member and yoga teacher, the journey to seek balance is everlasting. This has become my own reality for living a life full of acceptance. My practice has taught me to accept where I am in life while also acknowledging what I need to do as I strive to become the best version of myself.
When I think about my yoga journey over the past four years, I feel the deepest level of gratitude. I’ve trained with and learned from so many other dedicated professionals. I’ve taken classes at amazing studios in multiple states. I’ve had people of all backgrounds and walks of life trust me to guide them in my classes. The peace and contentment I feel while teaching a yoga class is truly indescribable. I love sharing how yoga has transformed my life as both the student and the teacher and witnessing it do the same for others. Most importantly, I’ve learned through all my experiences as a wife and mom and while serving, that no matter the role in life, and no matter where life takes us, authenticity is a quality that will always radiate from within.
Bri Johnson is a Warriors at Ease Certified teacher currently living in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She teaches yoga in the community there, serving the active duty and veteran population. You can connect with her on our Find a Teacher Page.
World at Ease DBA Warriors at Ease is a 501(c)(3) organization. Warriors at Ease is not endorsed by the Department of Defense or the Department of Veterans Affairs. This content represents the views of the individual and does not imply endorsement of any government entity.