MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO -- Sweat dripped off her brow as, seated cross-legged in front of a class of 24 students, she bent forward saying, “Namaste,” meaning ‘I salute you’ in Hindu. She had just finished leading the class in a 90-minute long Hot Yoga session.
When not wearing digital camouflage, Sgt. Yari Kobus, personnel chief, Marine Helicopter Squadron One, is a yoga instructor both at the Barber Physical Activities Center and at Stafford House of Yoga in Stafford.
Meritoriously promoted to both corporal and sergeant, Kobus first started taking yoga classes when she was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, from 2010-2012 as a stress relief.
“It’s more of a workout than a stress relief for me though,” she added.
While still in Japan, she was approached by one of her instructors about becoming an instructor herself.
“She said I had the right personality and good form,” said Kobus. It took her six months to become a certified yoga instructor. Her next goal is to become a certified yoga instructor of instructors.
“Yoga isn’t about changing the world, it’s about changing how you view the world,” she added.
Yoga and fitness isn’t Kobus’ only focus outside of the Marine Corps. She is currently working on a degree in nursing, or possibly teaching biology.
“Probably nursing, though,” said the native Puerto Rican. She already has an associate’s degree and plans on applying for the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program and continuing to serve for “20 or 30 years, maybe.”
Kobus joined the Marine Corps in Puerto Rico on July 13, 2009, because “I wanted to better myself and I thought the Marine Corps offered that. And that’s what I’m doing: going to school, getting an education and getting fit.”
After successfully completing her military occupational school, Kobus was stationed in Okinawa while her husband, Cpl. Matthew Kobus, was in Iwakuni. Both were meritoriously promoted to corporal on the same day, and later went against each other for the meritorious sergeant promotion that Yari Kobus then won.
While stationed away from her significant other, Kobus focused her energy to bettering herself.
“I burned my eyelashes studying,” said Kobus. “My (staff noncommissioned officer) told me what it took to get promoted.”
She has completed 60 Marine Corps Institute courses, 10 book reports, is a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program black belt, and has four certificates of commendation, all of which helped her earn Marine of the Quarter and Noncommissioned Officer of the Quarter at the battalion and base levels. She also consistently earns top scores for both the combat fitness test and the physical fitness test.
“The only thing keeping her from staff sergeant is a board,” said Sgt. Maj. John Kob, HMX-1 sergeant major. “I would take her now as a sergeant and put her in any (administration) shop and she’d be capable of running it.
“She manages yoga classes, giving Marines nutrition classes and this job, which is an 11-12 hour-a-day job,” said Kob. “In eight – nine years, I can see her back here sitting in the master sergeant’s seat.”
And she does it all with a grin.
“Her smile is omnipresent,” he added. “I can tell when she’s frustrated, but she doesn’t wear it on her shoulders.
“Inspire, that’s what she does. It’s who she is. She’s the mentor,” Kob went on. “She hasn’t forgotten where she’s come from.”