Police officers and firefighters across America are coping with the stress of life on the front lines by slipping into a downward dog. The nonprofit group Yoga For First Responders is teaching these emergency workers a better way to handle the demands of their hazardous jobs. 36-year-old instructor Olivia Kvitne Mead founded YFFR in 2013 after she was inspired by her work with military veterans. If the 5,000-year-old practice could help them with PTSD, then she was certain that first responders could avoid burnout and perform more efficiently at the scene of emergencies. “There is a missing skill set in first responder training and that is what is leading to these high statistics of burnout, divorce, alcoholism and suicides,” said Mead…. And it’s a good thing that she pursued the idea, because she turned out to be right. “There are lots of Yoga programs for veterans but they are all focused on after their tours of duty,” said Mead. “That doesn’t happen for first responders. They are in their jobs for 30 years until they retire. They go to work and see trauma, death, destruction, loss and the worst part of humanity, then they have to go home and be a mother or a father, a husband or a wife.” MORE
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