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Warriors posed to break Yoga record at Al Udeid Air Base

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

An orange shimmer casted over Qatar as the sun began to shed light through the dusty haze at 0400; figures emerged from the distance, shoes came off, mats were laid and aura of calm settled with the men and women that would soon be part of the largest yoga session held in Qatar history.

Yoga communities stretch deep across the globe, and are always looking to spread the knowledge of its benefits. Here at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, there are several ‘Yogis’, practitioners of yoga, who wanted to broaden their reach to deployed members. Tracy English and a few of the other yogis deployed to Al Udeid put together a power yoga routine and introduced it to the base during the largest yoga session in Qatar to date. 

"Some very innovative people from the AFCENT protocol came to me and said, ‘hey let’s do an outside practice’; I said we can do that and lets bring some people out here," said Tracy English, 609th Air and Space Operations Center historian.

English did some research and realized that this session would be the largest number of people practicing yoga at once. After some planning and coordination with base agencies, the yogis were able to have over 100 service members and civilians 'sunrise yoga' session. Publicizing the event for that amount of people at the requested time of day was a risk they were willing to take. One by one, men and women from various units walked onto the pad, formed up and the session began without a hitch. 

"Working at many places on this base, there’s a lot of pressure and we have a mission of flying and fighting out there. With the practice of yoga, it gives you a better perception of what going on with yourself. If your balance is ‘On’, you don’t have to worry about what’s happening to your body and can concentrate on your mission with a clear mind. Yoga does that,” said English.

There are several career fields that face physically and mentally demanding operations on a daily basis. Creating and balancing a healthy lifestyle can be a bit daunting, especially while deployed. This event opened its doors to all levels of practitioners from novice to expert. It allowed the fine men and women assigned to Al Udeid Air Base to relax and enjoy a different kind of exercise in a neutral environment.

“This event was no joke. It was an invigorating experience and I highly recommend it to those who are looking to challenge their flexibility! I love doing yoga outside, but people tend to stare, so it was nice to do it with a lot of people, so we all looked weird together!” said Staff Sgt. Jenna Archuleta, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing executive administrator. 


U.S. Air Force Capt Jeri-Lynn Harper said that it was nice to enjoy Yoga with such a large group of people who all have different backgrounds and abilities. She also mentioned it was fun to see the serious yogis out and the Army Soldiers doing their best.


Yoga is not just for flexibly; it also caters to alternate fitness goals ranging from strength, injury recovery, weight loss, and even spiritual satisfaction. With the demanding operational tempo in the AFCENT theatre, yoga is the perfect remedy for some deployed here. As the session went on, the sun began to emit its post-dawn 90 degree heat. Heads were bowed, legs were crossed, and after long deep exhale it ended with: ‘Namaste’.