Improving mind, body and spirit

Published on WO Christopher Garner (author), POET Scott O'Donohue (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Toowoomba (F156), Indo-Pacific Endeavour

ABML-P Mazziota instructs a yoga class on the flight deck while HMAS Toowoomba conducts her transit home to Fleet Base West after her IPE 17 deployment.  (photo: POET Scott O'Donohue)
ABML-P Mazziota instructs a yoga class on the flight deck while HMAS Toowoomba conducts her transit home to Fleet Base West after her IPE 17 deployment.
Seagoing deployments have not stopped one proactive and enthusiastic sailor from bringing her passion for fitness with her – and she is converting a ship’s company in the process.
 
Faced with being unable to attend her favourite gym session ashore, Able Seaman Maritime Logistics Personnel Operations Luisa Mazziotta started her own yoga sessions in HMAS Toowoomba’s quarterdeck gym.
 
What started out as her own past-time grew into regular classes after a shipmate asked Able Seaman Mazziotta if she knew any yoga techniques that might assist in the rehabilitation of a painful shoulder.
 
“I know that yoga can have benefits for the mind, body and spirit if practised regularly and correctly,” she said.
 
“I started teaching basic relaxation, stretching techniques and then incorporated freestyle movements into the sessions to cater for all levels of yoga experience from absolute beginner to intermediate levels,” she said.
 
Yoga is just one of a number of techniques used throughout the Navy to improve individual resilience and keep personnel fit to fight, as part of supervised activities run by Military Fitness Leaders and Physical Training Instructors.
 
Able Seaman Mazziotta said believed it was important to take regular health breaks from her role as a personnel administration specialist and simply encouraged others to join her.
 
“I have up to 12 people participating in the classes and I try to make them as much fun as possible to ensure my shipmates enjoy the classes as much as I do,” she said.

Toowoomba’s yoga classes have been held weekly during the ship’s involvement in Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2017, a joint task group deployment to the region demonstrating and enhancing the Australian Defence Force’s humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities and commitment to regional engagement.