Howard Magazine - Page 31 - In Fighting Shape (2)

Howard Magazine
- Page 31
In Fighting Shape (2)

“Military life is a busy, high-intensity environment where the focus is always external,” she says. “Yoga gives us tools to learn how to breathe and to go internal, so we can better cope with our daily demands — and recover.”

 

Each Thursday, Lucy Lomax arrives at Fort Meade where, for 90 minutes, the Elkridge resident teaches yoga to a cadre of servicemen and women. Standing and lying on latex mats, they stretch and bend in ways that would make Gumby cringe, morphing into rhythmic postures called The Baby Cobra, The Puppy and The Gate. One pose recalls Michael Phelps, poised for takeoff; another evokes sprinter Usain Bolt, crouched at the starting blocks.

 

All the while, Lomax coaxes her charges in a soothing, hypnotic voice.

 

“Let go of the outside world,” she says. “Bring your awareness to yourself, how it feels to be in your body and to connect to the earth.”

 

Lomax began teaching the class in 2015 and has taught about 400 warriors to date, including some from Howard County, home to nearly one-quarter of Fort Meade’s employees. At 69, she executes all of the poses herself on a 4-foot-10 frame that should melt alongside a strapping Marine. Not so. On the mat, she’s a poster child for a Twister game.

 

“I’m short and squatty, which is good for yoga,” Lomax says.

 

A retired financial policy analyst with the federal government, she is a certified instructor for Warriors At Ease, a nonprofit that educates those who want to teach yoga to the military. In November, she trained 60 members of the 55th Signal Company, a combat camera unit, prior to their deployment.

 

“Two of the guys came in, thinking they were the bees’ knees. One was doing a head stand, to show off, when I arrived,” says Lomax. She ignored them and, for an hour, challenged the group “to get their energy out.”

 

Afterward, the soldiers conceded the session was tough.

 

The job is a passion for Lomax, who works gratis.

 

“These men and women work so hard, under

 

“Yoga calmed my mind and showed that it’s OK to take 10 minutes to ‘connect to my breath,’ ” — Navy veteran Jen Vaughn