Yoga can help people in high stress jobs such as first responders decompress and feel more relaxed
Yoga has been shown to be an effective intervention for relieving stress and improving attention and focus. Those in high stress jobs,such as first responders, are often in need of ways to decompress at the end of the day, especially when the day involves potentially traumatizing events. First responders are often exposed to long term or repeated stressors and trauma, which increases the risk of occupational stress injury. These injuries include psychological and physical problems that negatively impact their life, including PTSD, depression, and anxiety.
At the same time, research has shown that family members of first responders can experience secondary trauma from hearing about their loved ones job, especially when the first responder experiences a traumatic event first hand. Therefore, it's important for families that include a memeber employed as a first responder to have ways to destress when things become difficult.
One great way of doing this is by practicing yoga. Research shows that yoga can effectively reduce stress related symptoms such as feelings of burnout, anxiety, and depression in those suffering from both primary and secondary trauma.
The Chicago Park District is providing free yoga classes for first responders and their families to help improve their sense of well-being and quality of life. Classes offer instruction and practice in Vinyasa yoga, which is the best style for beginners as it links breathing excerizes with dynamic movement.
Starting April 4, 2022, first responders and their family members who are age 18 or over can participate in Vinyasa yoga at several different parks around the Chicago area. They ask that participants wear comfortable workout clothing and bring a yoga mat.
You can find the complete list of dates, times and locations at the Chicago Park District's website.