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                  contracted and program certified and registered yoga instructors from the local community. The battalion’s Drill Sergeants and Cadre completed yoga familiarization training before the beginning of the BCT cycle to acclimate us on what to expect throughout the cycle and prepare the battalion to facilitate yoga during PRT.
2-60th Infantry Regiment conducted an
analysis on trends, strengths, and weaknesses
of the unit’s experience and results during the planning and execution of the Mindfulness and Yoga pilot program. The unit queried Cadre
for their observations of the pilot program, its implementation, and the results observed. The analysis conducted was primarily qualitative. However, we did utilize some limited quantitative data to identify strengths and weaknesses to further improve the Mindfulness and Yoga pilot program for the Army.
Surveys were completed by the entire battalion, all 20 platoons, as part of the pilot program’s feedback strategy. The first survey was conducted within the first 72 hours of BCT, and the remaining three surveys were completed after each phase
of BCT. Each survey took one hour to complete, and each Trainee participated in all four surveys. Drill Sergeants participated in the first survey
and the final survey. The WRAIR staff briefed the participants about the evaluation information that the surveys would provide and how that data would help them assess the Trainees attitudes toward the training and the training’s behavioral health effects. The Trainees that participated in the pilot program will be sent an email with a follow-up survey 6-12 months post-BCT. All the survey results from Trainees will be linked to BCT performance metrics (e.g., ACFT, weapons qualification, end of cycle testing, etc.) as part of the study. These surveys
were not shared with the battalion leadership, and the survey results analysis by WRAIR is not yet complete.
According to the WRAIR, research has shown that Soldiers who practice mindfulness training techniques more frequently achieve greater performance and health benefits than those who only attend mindfulness training. Based on this knowledge, the WRAIR team established the requirement to set aside 15 minutes per day, six
days a week, for mindfulness training by the ten platoons of Trainees conducting the pilot program. In contrast, the other ten platoons did not conduct mindfulness training. The key to this MBAT practice was for it to be conducted in a location with limited distractions in large enough space for the Trainees. Additionally, mindfulness recordings were played for the Trainees during mindfulness practice sessions using an mp3 player and sound system that was provided to the unit. Lastly, it was incumbent on each platoon’s Senior Drill Sergeant to track MBAT practice for their respective platoons throughout the BCT cycle.
MBAT execution turned out to be more
difficult in implementation than it was in concept. There seemed to be a lack of buy-in from the Trainees, which was demonstrated during MBAT execution. Cadre throughout the battalion noted
a lack of discipline and engagement from Trainees participating in the mindfulness practice across all phases of training. Additionally, Cadre observed several Trainees in their Mindfulness and Yoga platoons who did not take the MBAT practice seriously throughout the cycle. To be completely forthright, some Cadre were not applying the necessary supervision and support to the MBAT portion of the pilot. Early AAR comments from
the Trainees, Cadre, MBAT instructors, and the Mindfulness and Yoga pilot program supervisors indicated that the MBAT was not popular with the Trainees and was intermittently executed. It was necessary to apply additional command emphasis with company and platoon level leaders to reinforce the importance of conducting the MBAT to standard per the pilot parameters or risk the study’s efficacy.
Mindfulness and Yoga
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