Have you ever thought of doing Yoga?
What is Yoga you ask?
In short it is “creating balance in the body.”
Yoga first started over 5,000 years ago and was for men as well as women. Over time it has evolved in many ways, but the basic concepts of health and wellness of the body and mind have always remained.
The benefits of doing yoga are almost endless.
– Tones the body
– Increases strength
– Increases stamina
– Flushes toxins in the body
– Massages internal organs
– Increases lubrication of tendons, joints, ligaments
– Eases stress
-Aids in sleep better
– Improves posture
– Controls breathing
– Increases flexibility
– Decreases chronic pain
In the few examples below you will see how it can help us as firefighters. I myself feel better after taking a class. I can’t always clear my mind with it, but my muscles feel more relaxed.
Yoga And Air Management
Through certain Yoga movements we can learn to control how we breathe thus lowering stress that we encounter on the fireground. Importantly it can help us with air management by slowing down our breathing.
A person normally breaths 12-20 times a minute. When we exert energy performing firefighter tasks, especially adding on the extra weight of ur gear, our respirations per minute increase. Being able to control that breathing will make SCBA bottle last longer and will allow you to stay focused in your task. Controlling your breathing will also lower your heart rate.
There are so many breathing exercises out there you can try. I will let you research that for yourself.
Strength And Yoga
You do not always need weights to increase your strength; using your own body weight can do this.
Holding the body in certain positions/poses, in other words, holding up your own body weight is one way to do this. Don’t stop lifting with weights; just mix it up sometimes. This natural strength conditioning will go a long way to helping you manage fireground tasks such as hose advancement, ladder raising, and tool operation much easier.
I have heard a few firefighters over the years say they have trouble sleeping. This happens at the firehouse for various reasons: they are anticipating a call, they get a call and then can’t go back to sleep, they are not in their own bed, or they have sleep apnea.
There are studies that show Yoga helps these situations, reducing the anxiety, calming the mind and body. Yoga poses and movements for sleep can be done just before bed, even in privacy of your own bunk.
Did you know physical therapists use Yoga moves in their therapy sessions?
A few years ago a co-worker fell and injured her lower back on a call. She told me her therapists used certain yoga moves to help with her healing. Doing the exercises strengthened her back, while also helping to heal it. She was back to work without surgery.
There is much more to Yoga than stretching, as I have already pointed out. Give it a try. There are many ways to experience it and a class is not the only option. Do some research and reach out to a Yoga instructor in your area.
Who knows, you may really enjoy it. I know I did!