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Relax Your Mind, Let Your Conscience Be Free

Airmen of the 174th Attack Wing participate in a weekly yoga class instructed by 2nd Lt. Carley Ditro (second from left). Classes are intended to present an alternative way for 174th members to build both mental and physical strength. (Photo by New York Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Duane Morgan)

Airmen of the 174th Attack Wing participate in a weekly yoga class instructed by 2nd Lt. Carley Ditro (second from left). Classes are intended to present an alternative way for 174th members to build both mental and physical strength. (Photo by New York Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Duane Morgan)

Airmen of the 174th Attack Wing participate in a weekly yoga class. Classes are intended to present an alternative way for 174th members to build both mental and physical strength. (Photo by New York Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Duane Morgan)

Airmen of the 174th Attack Wing participate in a weekly yoga class. Classes are intended to present an alternative way for 174th members to build both mental and physical strength. (Photo by New York Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Duane Morgan)

Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, NY --

When she’s not working in the 174th Attack Wing’s personnel office, 2nd Lt. Carley Ditro is teaching yoga to the wing’s Airmen.

 

Ditro began studying yoga in 2012 during her college days at the State University of New York, Binghamton.

 

“It was just something that I wanted to try with some new friends. I had never done yoga before. I went to the class, fell in love with it right after the first class,” Ditro said.

 

“I kept going back twice every week,” she said. “I loved the instructor and the way that she taught,” she added.

 

After graduating college she continued practicing yoga and in 2016 decided to get her teacher training certificate.

 

 She now conducts yoga classes on base for members looking for alternative ways to become healthier. She says that her style of teaching focuses on stretching and strengthening.

 

The classes have been well received, with members of all ranks showing up to participate week after week.

 

“Lt. Ditro is an awesome instructor,” said Master Sgt. Les Hubbard, 174th Field Training Detachment instructor, who began doing yoga in 2009

 

“She gets you to challenge yourself as much as you’re comfortable with and it’s always something different. I also enjoy the interaction with members outside of my workplace,” Hubbard said.

 

Yoga has several benefits, Ditro said.

 

The exercises help people become physically stronger. The exercise helps reduce stress, as does the mental discipline and the meditation practices that are part of yoga training, Ditro explained.

 

Yoga is also very social because you do it as a group, she said. A yoga class is a great place to meet people and become less isolated, she added.

 

 

Yoga helps members gain physical strength and stability, Ditro said. With continued practice you also gain mental strength and stability as well. That overall balance reduces chances of injury.

 

The development of yoga has been traced back to over 5,000 years ago and is practiced in many countries all over the world.

 

Starting to teach the classes didn’t come without a challenge. The biggest challenge in the beginning was finding a space to teach the classes during winter months. The solution was to teach the classes in whatever space was available, Ditro said.

“One day we may have a class in the dining facility. The next class may be in the heritage room. We’ve even done classes in the Wing Conference Room,” said Ditro.

 

Ditro said she makes sure that each class that she teaches is different from the previous. Depending on what her plan is for the class, she may use different poses that focuses on specific muscle groups. She also switches the music from class to class, which is used to set the tone and mood as well.

 

For any members who may still be skeptical about yoga, Ditro encourages you to have an open mind and attend a class.

 

“You should just try it. Yoga may be your favorite thing and you don’t even know it yet.”

 

Yoga classes are held every Wednesday from 1500-1600.