Yoga for the soul

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At sunset, as the ocean glimmers with fading sunlight, an Airman places down her yoga mat to help relax after a long day at work, strengthening her stability in mind and body.

Airman 1st Class Jayme Ratcliff, 324th Intelligence Squadron fusion analyst, has practiced yoga for four years, but started consistently training about two years ago. In taking her hobby to the next step, she has committed herself to receive her instructor’s license so that she can teach others her skills.

Yoga is a form of meditative stretching, involving slow movements on a mat to help lengthen different parts of the body and increase strength.

Jayme said that she has wanted to teach yoga for over a year now, and is participating in a 200-hour, 8-week course to receive her instructor’s license.

“Yoga has impacted my life in very positive ways,” Jayme said. “Physically, I am stronger and leaner than before yoga, and mentally, I’ve become much more resilient. It helps me relieve my tension and stress so that I can come to work with a clear head.”

Jayme dedicates up to 8 hours a week on yoga. This involves taking instructed classes at a local studio, and also self-practice at home, or on the beach. Frequently, she says she’ll get up and do poses at home to stretch out her body and maintain flexibility.

“Yoga is very forgiving,” Jayme said. “It is a time that I can devote to the idea that is okay to mess up and fumble and that I am strong and capable enough to succeed. It allows me to work on my strength, endurance, flexibility, mindfulness, and meditation.”

Austin Ratcliff, Jayme’s husband, can account for the importance of yoga to Jayme’s lifestyle.

“Yoga helps Jayme release the stresses of each day as well as focus her mind on what’s important to her,” Austin said. “When she hasn’t been to a class in a while, she has less energy and her attitude is different.”

Yoga can be a great way to relieve stress and find new ways to explore the inner workings of the mind. Meditation is a large part of why so many people have tried yoga, and in combination with stretching, it can help alleviate pain from tense muscles and promote better sleep.

“I like to think of yoga as like dancing,” Jayme said. “It can be a form of art that you perform, making up flows and finding creative shapes with your body. It helps me every day, allowing me to achieve a better perspective and think more positively.”

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