At the break of dawn, Indian and Australian naval personnel ‘bent over backwards’ strengthening minds, bodies and relationships during a unique yoga session on a Fremantle wharf.
Participants practiced the ancient Indian system alongside Indian Naval Ships Shivalik, Jyoti and Kamort during the harbour phase of Exercise AUSINDEX foreshadowed by the United Nations International Day of Yoga celebrations.
Seasoned Indian Navy instructor, Lieutenant Sarthak Nischal walked the lines and helped the Australian debutants seated in the ‘asana’ posture on their yoga mats.
“We invited the Royal Australian Navy personnel for an exchange of yoga knowledge and motivate them on how to follow yoga in the same way it helps the Indian Navy,” Lieutenant Nischal said.
“We did some basic asana and mudra poses followed by different breathing exercises to help with concentration, calming the mind and soul – helping to lead a happy and healthy life.
“For the Indian Navy – yoga is part of our life and we follow it everyday.
“We get together in the morning and evening for yoga followed by physical training.
“We also use different kinds of yoga postures to cool-down and stretch out our bodies after sports.
“The more we follow yoga, the more classes we attend, the more knowledge we gather - all helps us to incorporate yoga in our daily lives,” he said.
Leading Seaman Physical Training Instructor Mathew Vaisey said that it was a joy to experience a different cultural experience with the Indian Navy.
“It was my first session and it was definitely something different,” Leading Seaman Vaisey said.
“I thought it would be some crazy poses and a lot of stretching but we learnt a lot about various breathing and spiritual side of the yoga.
“I think the Royal Australian Navy could benefit from yoga in the same way the Indian Navy use this to develop their mental and spiritual in their lives.
“Things including stress relief and building on the huge benefits of physical and mental resilience – I believe we could incorporate this in our Navy life,” he said.
Tasting the Indian cuisine of beetroot pudding, biscuits and chai tea, Able Seaman Electronics Technician Kane Kingham reflected on the session.
“I have done physical yoga before but this session was far more interesting because it involves a variety of breathing techniques,” Able Seaman Kingham said.
“Yoga would benefit Navy in a stressful environment - before and after work.
“Even at sea, it will be good for relaxation and prepares you for the day and what a way to the finish the day too,” he said.
Shivalik was in the Western Australian port city with Indian Naval Ships Jyoti and Kamorta to participate in a week-long naval exercise aimed at developing a deeper understanding and cooperation between the two navies.