First responders highlight benefits of yoga
It’s not your typical police training. In fact, officers like Cody Evans scoffed at the idea. Now, he said he feels the benefits of yoga.
"I actually enjoy it," Evans said.
Recently, police officers traveled from across the country to participate in week-long courses at the Boynton Beach Police Department. One of them was a program called "Yoga For First Responders."
"Here we are able to find a different way to have that reset, both physically and mentally," said Taylor Gomez, a course participant.
"Statistically, suicide for first responders outpaces lines of duty death by 3% to 400%, so that is wild. That's a problem and we are addressing that problem," said Jamie Yeager, an instructor for "Yoga For First Responders."
In a job where burnout seems inescapable, many see the payoff of putting mental health on the mat.
"I've been able to notice during body camera footage or just speaking to other officers. Being able to stay calm in high stress situations just from the stuff I've learned about breathing techniques and how those things have helped people come out of those situations safe," said Karime Massarro, who traveled for the course from Iowa.
Police departments see yoga as a gateway to better mental health. Many hope that rolls over to retention and then big picture, building a better rapport with the communities they've signed on to serve and protect.
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