Yoga for firefighters


I teach yoga out in the community. I am a firefighter, and truly believe that my brothers and sisters could use yoga both physically and spiritually. They are a very "fit" group, but the rates of pulled muscles and back problems is astounding.

Has anyone worked with someone or have some insight to how I can best translate the benefits of yoga on a level they might understand?

—Brian M Dotson, Us


Dear Brian,

We put your question out to members of the Ananda Yoga Teacher Association who are teaching in many different settings. Due to space limitations I cannot include all their answers here, but I will summarize.

All agreed that the best approach is to share your experience of how yoga helps meet needs that are important to your students. So don’t start with esoteric aspects. Instead emphasize the practical, tangible benefits such as:

  1. Learn body mechanics to optimize the body’s natural alignment and power.
  2. Increase flexibility to complement strength in activites required by work and everyday movement. The balance between strength and flexibility will help prevent injury.
  3. Learn breathing and recharging techniques that can help connect with and calmly focus energy needed to handle stressful situations.
  4. Practice conscious relaxation to relieve stress and rejuvenate body, mind and spirit. Those with problems of insomnia will find yoga helps them to sleep better.
  5. Meditate to decrease anxiety and negative emotional reactions. Find peace and clarity of thought in the midst of trying circumstances.

You might also consider compiling quotes from research on benefits of yoga and meditation and make a hand out that would appeal to those with a more scientific way of thinking.

Once people find a practical outward reason to practice yoga then you can look for an opening to offer them an experience of more subtle realities if they are ready for it.

Hope this gives you some useful suggestions. Thank you for the good work that you are doing.

Maitri Jones for Ananda Yoga