Who bends wins! SAS given yoga and meditation lessons to make them better killers and recover faster
- Instructors will teach the SAS ‘new age’ routines and breathing exercises
- SAS troops are also being given vegan and plant-based food for all meals
Britain’s elite Special Forces have turned to yoga and meditation – to help their troops become more effective killers.
Civilian instructors will be putting the SAS, the SBS and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment through ‘new age’ routines and breathing exercises.
As well as helping troops to improve their ability as snipers and on the battlefield, the move is aimed at boosting their recovery time from the intensity of their training programmes and combat-related stress.
Many are even being offered vegan and plant-based food for all meals at various military bases around the country.
Last night, one seasoned Special Forces sniper told The Mail on Sunday: ‘If you can’t control your breathing, you can’t shoot straight – it’s that simple.’
Civilian instructors will be putting the SAS, the SBS and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment through ‘new age’ routines and breathing exercises
Among United States Special Forces, the benefits of yoga have been exploited for at least a decade. But in the UK, the change has been slower.
It is thought to have been prompted by an influx of young soldiers who are more open to ideas behind training, recovery and self-help techniques, such as mindfulness and meditation.
Among the wellness tips being deployed are specific exercises related to Pranayama Yoga, an ancient technique from India that involves controlling the breath in different styles and lengths, making it particularly useful in improving the accuracy of sharp-shooters.
Some members of the SAS – whose insignia, below, bears the motto ‘Who dares wins’ – have been using yoga as a form of exercise and mental relaxation for years but were often mocked because it grated against what was perceived as a macho warrior culture.
But a growing awareness of the negative effects of PTSD is also believed to have led to an ‘awakening’ of the benefits of alternative means of mental and physical exercise.
Doug Kiesewetter, a former US Special Forces soldier, wrote about the benefits of yoga in Men’s Health magazine. He said: ‘As a soldier, I believed that I could control everything around me.
‘But the practice of yoga – breathing, being present, and letting go – taught me to allow things to happen naturally.
‘People tend to think the Special Ops gig is all about blowing stuff up and kicking in doors of terrorist cells. OK, we do that, but it’s a small fraction of the job.
‘The frame of mind yoga puts me in lets me step back and assess a situation through a different lens and then react more calmly. In my line of work, that can be life-saving.’
A Special Forces source added: ‘The SAS and SBS have adopted training regimes similar to top athletes and realised that exercise and diet are crucial to recovering from injury and prolonging a career in the field.
‘After months on operations, soldiers are coming back exhausted, with all sorts of physical injuries and some mental issues which need time to recover from. Yoga and meditation is helping with that enormously.
‘Diet is also crucial and now many of the cookhouses are offering vegan and plant-based foods as an alternative.’
The Ministry of Defence refused to comment on the Special Forces but an Army spokesman said: ‘Across the British Army, yoga is regarded as complementary to physical training due to the physical, psychological and social benefits it offers.’
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