In the Western world of yoga, we often only see young, skinny, white women representing yoga on Instagram, in boutique studies, and modeling tight yoga pants. The practice is often portrayed as feminine, flimsy, and maybe even a little woo-woo. But yoga evolved as a practice for Warriors, and expert/Lois Lane of Yoga/Lady Boss Olivia Mead saw this opportunity to bring yoga to the Warriors of Los Angeles—our firefighters, police officers, veterans, and military.
Why ‘Yoga for First Responders’?
Mead states, “as I was studying yoga, I realized that the primary purpose behind it was to build Warriors. First responders are fighting in the domestic arena all day long, day in and day out. They then go back to their families and must make this 180-degree change in their emotional state… Then I realized that yoga could be the solution.” So, Olivia Mead founded the non-profit Yoga for First Responders (YFFR) with the “mission to bring yoga’s philosophy through a combination of exercises that are both cognitive and somatic and practical applications for first responders and military across the nation.”
The Real Deal
The instructors at YFFR are knowledgeable about the subject matter they’re discussing. In actual fact, Mead herself went through police academy and fire academy classes to get hands-on experience (seriously, @LadyBoss).
In the classes taught by Yoga for First Responders, it’s more than just about getting a great stretch and feeling comfortable. The types are governed by an official protocol to train first responders on how to control their emotions and stress (instead of experiencing a short-term state of calm) to help them do better at their tasks and return to their homes at the end of their day.
Yoga instructors who complete their YFFR courses are able to work in the community and implement yoga classes, programs, and curricula. Over 300 yoga instructors (!!!) are certified by YFFR and have contacted thousands of first responders across Canada, the US, Canada, and Australia.
For more information about Yoga for First Responders, please get in touch with YogaForFirstResponders@givebackyoga.org or visit www.yogaforfirstresponders.org.