Dealing With Stress: Yoga for First Responders


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Dealing With Stress: Yoga for First Responders

Some of them are skeptics. But, the yogi says after a week of training they find it really works.

INDIANAPOLIS--Police officers, firefighters and dispatchers deal with stressful situations almost every day. Some of them see people die or lose everything they have. They have to learn to deal with it and keep working. This week in Indianapolis, first responders from 15 states and even one from Australia, are training to use yoga as a tool to cope and move on.

At a downstairs classroom at the Indianapolis Fire Dept. headquarters, the floor is lined with mats and people, some who are brand new to the discipline.

"They come in a little leery. They're like, oh this yoga stuff. I don't really know about it," said Rachel Peterson, with Yoga for First Responders. "And after the six days a lot of times those gruff and tumble police officers and first responders say wow, this really works."

Rodd Meyer is a firefighter in Indianapolis. He's into physical fitness and says it helps with the stress. But, he's never tried yoga.

"I really just expect to learn the unknown, I guess. It's something I've never done," said Meyer. "I'm not in law enforcement. But, we work hand in hand. Being involved in all those situations, going home and getting a good work out you recover from that."

The discipline is not just about learning to deal with stress. It's also about being able to keep working.

"Police officers, dispatchers, firefighters can have the skill set to prevent burnout and to really help with their resiliency and mental fortitude," said Peterson.

She said they teach three-part tactical breathing, which helps reset the mind and calm a person down.

"Even five minutes on your may, maybe you're doing some postures that we teach, can really keep you grounded," said Peterson, who is herself, a yogi.

She said the first responders she helps train generally respond well to the yoga training and adopt it as part of their daily routine.

PHOTOS: Chris Davis/Emmis

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