Some people are under the impression that yoga poses are only for those obsessed with religion or health, but the practice can benefit people of all interests, creeds and professions. It may seem like an unlikely pairing, but firefighters are becoming increasingly active in the yoga world. The soothing exercise, with its gentle postures, deep breathing and mindful meditation techniques, can have an immense positive effect on these life-saving men and women, particularly in these two aspects:
Firefighting is a high stress job. Not only do these professionals experience apprehension and anxiety over running into burning buildings and risking their lives for the sake of others, but it's also a very consuming job that requires long hours, overnight shifts and being on-call at all times of the day. Post-traumatic stress disorder can also pose a whole array of issues for those who have seen some truly chilling things. Yoga poses are among the most stress-relieving exercises out there. The postures can improve blood flow, which helps to ease the nerves, while mindful meditation helps one accept and heal from negative thoughts and feelings.
Firefighting can be tough on the body, so the gentle practice of yoga makes for a nice complement for the roughness of the profession. It also has many physical benefits that can help firefighters improve performance and stay safe when out on an emergency call. Yoga poses improve balance, flexibility and body awareness, which can be helpful in getting out of a sticky situation and even save lives. The breathing exercises serve as a form of breath control training – the deep breathing principles involved in yoga are the same that firefighters utilize to enhance oxygenation.