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New yoga class helps relieve stress

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Vinecia Anderson, 97th Medical Operations Squadron dental assistant, participates in a Yoga Unwind class at the base fitness center, March 3, 2015. Yoga Unwind is a new yoga class specifically designed to build balance between mind and body through gaining strength and stability. The class is being held in the spin room of the base gym Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7:30 p.m. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Vinecia Anderson, 97th Medical Operations Squadron dental assistant, participates in a Yoga Unwind class at the base fitness center, March 3, 2015. Yoga Unwind is a new yoga class specifically designed to build balance between mind and body through gaining strength and stability. The class is being held in the spin room of the base gym Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7:30 p.m. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class J. Zuriel Lee/Released)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Soft, gentle music fills the dimly lit room and mats line the back wall. At the front of the room, a single mat lays perpendicular to the others, accompanied by a couple of blocks and bolsters.

The room is not set up for taking naps, but it is a haven for relaxation.

A calm voice greets the participants in a hushed tone, "Good evening everyone and welcome to Yoga Unwind."

Yoga Unwind is a new yoga class specifically designed to build balance between mind and body through gaining strength and stability.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Dawn Brock, 97th Medical Operations Squadron Mental Health Flight commander, instructs the new yoga class.

"As a mental health provider, yoga is another way to bring health to community," said Brock. "I want people to get to know their bodies and relax their bodies in a way they might not get the time for otherwise."

Brock organizes the classes so that each class is different from the last. She uses different poses to focus on different muscle groups to fit the needs of the class participants.

"You gain physical strength and stability through yoga, but also gain mental strength and stability," said Brock. "This balance reduces the chance of injuring yourself."

Yoga can decrease the risk for anxiety, depression and hypertension while increasing blood flow and the amount of oxygen in the body, said Brock. The practice also increases the level of mental and emotional balance, allowing one to remain less bothered in stressful situations.

"I think this class is an awesome experience," said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Vinecia Anderson, 97th Medical Operations Squadron dental assistant. "It has helped me with my posture and breathing. I think everyone who participates can enjoy and benefit from this class."

Yoga Unwind is being held in the spin room at the base gym Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7:30 p.m. No prior experience in yoga is necessary.

For more information about the class, contact the fitness center at 580-481-7440.