Yoga at Siachen, Leh and Kargil
The International Yoga Day was celebrated by Indian Army’s 14 Corps on June 21 at Siachen Glacier, Leh, Kargil. The event at Leh was attended by over 500 personnel which included army personnel of the Leh Garrisson. Large attendances were also organised at Siachen, Kargil and other forward locations along the borders. At Siachen a central yoga function was organised at the base camp. Soldiers also performed yoga at the forward posts on the Siachen Glacier. Apart from giving an impetus to physical fitness, the events were aimed to popularise yoga and also to spread awareness on benefits of yoga amongst the soldiers. Large number of soldiers showed interest in learning yoga asanas, pranayama and meditation.
The Indian Army has incorporated yoga asanas into the daily routine of the soldier in high altitude areas with harsh climatic conditions. Practice of yoga by soldiers in such an environment has helped them to combat various diseases such as high altitude sickness, hypoxia, pulmonary odema and the psychological stresses of isolation and fatigue. The respiratory adaptations of pranayama help the soldiers to better adapt to the low oxygen environment in high altitude areas. By practising a few minutes of pranayama, gentle asanas and meditation, many of the soldiers have testified to the physical and mental benefits of yoga. A positive, well relaxed and destressed body and mind is the most significant benefit of yoga which in turn assists the soldiers to operate successfully in such a challenging environment.